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How to Wildcraft a Buddha Bowl (Plus Sauce Recipes!)


A nourishing Buddha bowl with fresh vegetables, grains, protein, and seeds.
A nourishing Buddha bowl with fresh vegetables, grains, protein, calendula petals, dandelion greens, and seeds.

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Meals-in-a-bowl.


They come by many names—Buddha bowl, nourish bowl, hippie bowl, poké bowl—and they all share the similarity of a one-bowl meal filled with nutritional goodness.


We eat them at least twice a week at our house (sometimes several nights in a row). Honestly, we’re not boring; we just know how to combine leftovers into various dishes that delight the eyes and the tastebuds while making leftovers seem brand new.


Seriously—meal prep has never been more fun than when I’m thinking up new combinations of ingredients, and it’s even better when I’m adding in flavors and colors fresh from nature’s bounty.


I should tell you … there’s something that shows up in our meal bowls that you might not find elsewhere: wildcrafted herbs and flowers.


It’s not unusual for flower petals and dandelion greens to find their way into our evening meals in the spring and summer months. Why not add that freely available nutrition (and color!) into every recipe that we possibly can?


And here’s the thing—you can too!


Just imagine walking out the door with a basket over your arm, heading off into the fields or forests to gather greens and berries.


You hear someone ask, “Where are you going?”


“Oh, I need to go meal prep!” you reply as you skip out the door feeling blessed that you can use dinner as an excuse to add a mindful walk to your day.


Okay, so maybe I got a little carried away, but I truly enjoy foraging and ethically wildcrafting ingredients to feed my family. It’s fun, it’s healthy, and it gives me one more opportunity to get outside in the fresh air.


Nourishing bowls are simply delicious when you follow the basic formula for success. (I’ll give you the five-part path to goodness in a minute.)


In this article, I’ll share the five components you should include in every Buddha bowl, plus a few ways to incorporate your wildcrafted harvest and some of my favorite sauce recipes.


Pro tip: The sauce you use can make or break your bowl recipe, so make sure your sauce is flavorful and pairs well with your ingredients.


You know I’ve gotta say it—always be certain that the ingredients you wildcraft are an edible species, and check for food sensitivities before serving to your friends and family (and you!). If you have any doubt about what you’re harvesting, leave it be and come back with another field guide or an expert!


What’s the difference between a Buddha bowl, hippie bowl, nourish bowl, and poké bowl?

In simple terms, here’s the breakdown of each kind of bowl (although definitions abound and vary wildly).


Buddha bowl: Buddha bowls typically include only vegetarian or vegan ingredients.


Nourish bowl or harvest bowl: A nourish bowl includes non-vegan/non-vegetarian ingredients such as grilled chicken or grains cooked in a meat-based broth.


Poké bowl: Poké means to cut or slice (in Hawaiian) and refers to raw fish, so a poké bowl includes raw, marinated fish as the protein. The traditional grain served in a poké bowl is rice. (Choose from sushi rice, jasmine rice, or brown rice, depending on your flavor and nutrition goals.)


Hippie bowl: “Hippie bowl” is really just another name for a Buddha bowl. Think vegetarian superfoods when you’re building this kind of meal: goji berries, roasted sweet potatoes, avocados, sprouts, and quinoa might be on your ingredients list.


Whatever name you’d like to use, make sure you select a generous bowl size to hold all of the deliciousness you plan to fill it with.


You can even pack a Buddha bowl for a meal on the go by using a bento box to keep hot and cold ingredients separate. Combine them at the last minute when you’re ready to eat.


Dandelion blossoms

5 key components every bowl should include

The basic formula for creating a nourishing Buddha bowl full of flavor and healthy goodness can be broken down into five simple categories (with examples in parentheses).


  1. Grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, or wheat berries)

  2. Vegetables (sweet potato chunks, dandelion greens, roasted peppers, grilled mushrooms, avocado)

  3. Protein (grilled tofu, chickpeas, or lean poultry)

  4. Sauce (creamy sriracha, buffalo ranch, hippie sauce)

  5. Toppings (think “crunch”—pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cashews)

So how do you take those five components and add wildcrafted ingredients?


Try this:


  1. Grains (These are a little more challenging to wildcraft, so think “wild” with your purchased ingredients: wild rice, black rice, or ancient grains like spelt, Kamut, or teff)

  2. Vegetables (dandelion greens, ramps, morel mushrooms, sunchokes, purslane, sliced nopales)

  3. Protein (wild-caught fish, nuts, homemade cheeses—okay, cheese isn’t wildcrafted, but if you make homemade cheeses, that’s wilder than most people ever get!)

  4. Sauce (dandelion and pine nut pesto, nettle pesto)

  5. Toppings (fried dandelion flowers, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, edible flower petals)

Creamy sriracha sauce with paprika.

Here’s where the magic comes in …

A great sauce can take a bowl from blah to bang! Experiment with different sauces and toppings to make the blandest ingredients pop with flavor.


Here are three of my favorite sauces for you to try and some toppings ideas you can wildcraft or harvest from your garden. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your taste!


Creamy Sriracha

This super simple sauce is a family favorite. Double the batch if you need more to go around. Topping ideas: spicy golden marigold petals or bright yellow sunflower petals.


½ cup mayonnaise (regular or vegan)

1–2 tablespoons sriracha

Fresh lemon juice (just a squeeze)

Paprika


Combine mayo, sriracha, and lemon juice, and whisk together until well blended. Sprinkle with paprika and serve in a pretty bowl with a spoon for drizzling.


White Tiger Sauce

Unlike red tiger sauce, which gets its heat from peppers, this white tiger sauce variation takes its kick from a generous helping of horseradish. Add a pinch of garlic powder to take this sauce to the next level.

Topping ideas: nasturtium blossoms or crispy fried dandelion blooms.


½ cup mayonnaise (regular or vegan)

3 tablespoons sour cream or cashew cream

1 teaspoon ground dry mustard

Pinch salt

Black pepper, cracked


Combine the first five ingredients and stir well to thoroughly blend the flavors. Top with cracked black pepper after drizzling over your favorite roasted veggie bowl combination.


Hippie Sauce

My slightly sweet version of hippie sauce uses tahini as a base instead of mayo or sour cream. This vegan sauce is full of nutrients from tahini’s sesame seeds and the added nutritional yeast.

Topping ideas: peony petals or clover blossoms.


¼ cup tahini

⅛ cup water (or more if needed)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon ground ginger

2–3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Pinch of finely ground sea salt


Add all ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk until blended. I especially enjoy this sauce with bowl ingredients such as bean sprouts, edamame, brown rice, butternut squash, and snow peas.


Want to learn more about healthy ingredients you can grow at home? Check out my post on sprouts and microgreens!


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