Shrimp and Quinoa Buddha Bowl

by | Salads and Veggies, Seafood

A Buddha bowl recipe vibrant in color from veggies and fruit, protein rich from seasoned quinoa and flavor satisfying from a few traditional Eastern flavors; somewhere between the far eastern and middle eastern is what this Buddha Bowl Recipe is all about!

Shrimp and Quinoa Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowl Intrigue

The father of my oldest son is Korean, a Buddhist Korean. While we never married, our time together was, for me, a crash course in Asian food, traditions and customs. While we often ate out while dating, there were times he would go into my kitchen to scramble some eggs, always with soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. He would fish out a bowl from my cupboard, not just any ole cereal or soup bowl, he wanted a bowl that had weight, ceramic for sure, and fit comfortably into the palm of his hand. My square soup bowls would not do, neither would the bowls that were low and very open. 

Once he designated which bowl would be his favorite bowl, he then went to the fridge and began pulling pieces of this, chunks of that, a little drizzle of something else, a scoop of leftover rice, picked up some chopsticks and sat down to slurp and indulge in a bowl of what ever he felt like putting in his bowl. 

Healthy Shrimp and Quinoa Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowl Simplicity

This, my friends, is really all a Buddha Bowl is.  I assure you, it was not called a Buddha Bowl because it was in the early 80’s and Buddha Bowls (the trendy American Buddha Bowl), didn’t become popular here in America until 2017; thanks to Martha Stewart!

Japanese food was most often the restaurant cuisine we would frequent. If he wasn’t eating sushi, he would often order lots of small (really small), bowls of this and that, a bowl of rice and then proceed to do the same as he did in my kitchen; rice in larger bowl, pieces of this and that on top, and then hold the bowl up under his face and with chop sticks. The bowl of food quickly vanished. In a Korean restaurant, he did exactly the same, always, of course, putting kimchi on top. 

Buddha Bowl Trend

Fast forward to now, several years after the Buddha Bowl became the trend and I decided to make this healthy, colorful Buddha bowl for a quiet Valentine Dinner at home, but just think of the many other evenings you want something special and easy to enjoy for dinner at home!

What Exactly Is A Buddha Bowl?

As the story goes, without getting into religious teachings here, let’s just say The Buddha  went from riches to rags, by choice. Taking a bowl of rice around from neighbor to neighbor for their charitable offerings of this and that to put atop his bowl of rice. The Buddha Bowl really just started like that. A balance of healthy, nourishing bits and pieces of charitable offerings from those who valued his teachings. 

The Importance Of The Bowl

As I described the hunt in my kitchen cupboard back in the 80’s for the perfect ‘feeling’ bowl, the bowl used in a Buddha Bowl is really more than just a vessel to eat out of. In western thinking it is believed that the weight of a bowl in the hand, is likely to make your brain think the food is more substantial. (How we love to turn everything into a psychology!) 

In Eastern thinking it is believed that having the flavorful aroma of the Buddha bowl right below your nose, brings the senses a comfort and satisfaction. I’ll buy that theory!

Long ago when I did a study on the art of Japanese Tea Ceremony, the tiny bowls (yes, bowls), that were used for tea were more than just something to sip out of. They were as visually, texturally as important to the ceremony as the tea itself. 

I have a collection of several tiny bowls used for tea ceremony, some so delicately thin a porcelain you fear you will crush it no matter how gently you hold it, while others are earthy, rugged bowls meant to depict nature and not fine dining. 

Also, I have a collection of bowls that would be most desirable for a Buddha bowl, a few having actual grains of rice imbedded in their construction, and easy to comfortably hold in one hand, yet weighty enough to feel substantial. 

What Goes Into A Buddha Bowl?

The quick answer is: Anything. As we westerners have been taught to eat from the balanced food pyramid; grains, veggies, fruits, proteins, so too is the Buddha Bowl a balance of these very same food choices. 

Visuals are the second most considered aspect when choosing what to put in a Buddha bowl. And no, a Buddha bowl is not a mish-mash of foods, resembling a casserole! The visuals must be pleasing to the eye. Individual colors and textures, flavors and appearances are what we are after. 

If you have ever eaten at a family style Chinese or Indian restaurant (or home), there is often a Lazy-Susan in the center of the table. On it a huge variety of carefully chopped items in lots of small bowls have been placed. Some of the items of pickled veggies, or sautéed roots, smoked fish or slivers of fruits. An assortment of sauces will also be in the center with these bowls. Each person has a bowl of some type of grain in front of them, could be rice or a rustic wheat berry, quinoa or steamed millet. As the Lazy-Susan turns, each person selects items to put on top of their bowl of grain, a splash of sauce and the meal goes on and on like this until all the bowls are empty. 

This, is very much what a Buddha bowl is and how it got its concept for becoming a trendy dish here in America. 

My Buddha Bowl Recipe

Since Buddha went around accepting love offerings from people for his bowl of grains, I went to my fridge to see what love offerings it had for my bowl of grains, because I think if we go about our Buddha bowl from any other perspective (like, go out and buy an array of fancy things to put in it), we’re missing the point of this very humble bowl of food. 

Veggies and fruit 

First I went looking for veggies I wanted in my bowl. Zucchini first grabbed my attention, a few cherry tomatoes and carrots. But then I wanted the acidity of a fruit. Looking right at me was a big ole fresh pineapple. I began to cut each of these into pretty bite size pieces. 

Protein

While I could have opened a can of chick peas or black beans as my protein, I wanted something fresh. I went into the freezer for some shrimp; a lean, humble protein. 

Shrimp

Ingredients Needed

  • Quinoa
  • Shrimp
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Pineapple
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Celery seed
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Pomegranate molasses
Quinoa Buddha Bowl Ingredients

Equipment Needed

  • Large Sauté pan with a lid
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cup
  • Ladle
  • Slotted spoon
  • Stovetop or burner

Buddha Bowl Recipe And History

Recipe by Robin Daumit
Servings

2

servings

Veggies, grain, a few simple ingredients with an intriguing history.

Ingredients

  • Cooked Quinoa – 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa as you like. I added 1 teaspoon of dry mustard and ½ teaspoon mixed salts to the water while cooking.

  • Shrimp – 1 to 2 cups uncooked, peeled and deveined

  • Zucchini – 1 to 2 cups, sliced

  • Carrots – 1 to 2 cups, sliced

  • Pineapple – 1 cup, sliced

  • Cherry Tomatoes – 1 cup sliced in half

  • Shallots – ¼ cup, sliced

  • Garlic – 1 clove, crushed

  • Salt – 1 teaspoons

  • Celery Seeds – ½ teaspoon

  • Toasted Sesame oil – 1 tablespoon

  • Pomegranate Molasses – ¼ cup

Directions

  • One frying-type pan, to prepare in. Place half inch of water in the pan, bring to a boil, and drop zucchini and carrots in for no more than one minute. Remove them quickly. Want them to remain crunchy.
  • Remove excess water from the pan, add oil, shallots, garlic, shrimp, salt, and celery seeds. Toss until shrimp begins to turn pink. Add pomegranate molasses and stir. Quickly toss in tomatoes and pineapple. Stir and remove from heat in one minute.
  • Plate. Quinoa on the plate. Shrimp mixture on the plate. Veggies on the plate. A little sauce from cooking the shrimp, drizzled on veggies and quinoa, and this lovely dish is ready to serve in under 30 minutes!

Notes

  • Swaps are always welcome, shrimp for scallops, mangos for pineapples, even rice instead of quinoa, but the refreshing fast-blanched veggies and briny seafood, marry well with the sweet/tart accent of pomegranate molasses. So fast to prepare, that you are sure to serve it often.
Shrimp Buddha Bowl Dinner
 

My Muffin Madness

 

In my family, I’ve always been known as the ‘Muffin Queen’. Out of necessity, I created muffins for breakfast, lunch, on the go snacks, sometimes dinner and a sweet yet healthyish treat for dessert!

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