Cauliflower Buddha Bowl with Crispy Chickpeas and Chard - a spring-inspired Buddha bowl featuring roasted cauliflower, crispy chickpeas, quinoa, chard, avocado and strawberries topped with a citrus-Dijon vinaigrette. Great for meal prep or a simple spring lunch!
I love Buddha bowls. What is a Buddha bowl you ask? Well it’s [generally] a vegetarian meal that’s served in a large bowl (akin to Buddha’s belly apparently).
It usually has a variety of foods including grains, plant-based proteins, lots of veggies and some type of dressing.
I love them because they’re easy to throw together, they’re a great way to incorporate lots of veggies, and are always super helpful for reducing food waste since you can use whatever you have on hand - even those things you have just a little of. A couple broccoli florets? Great. Some leftover quinoa - throw it in. What about that little bit of sauerkraut? No problem.
That’s the beauty of Buddha bowls. They’re versatile AND they’re great for kids because you really can choose what you want to add. If you’re the only one in your family who likes avocado (though that’s just crazy talk - who doesn’t like avocado??), no problem. You can add it while the rest of your family skips on it.
This particular Buddha bowl is here to celebrate the bounty of spring produce. Crispy cauliflower, crunchy chickpeas, quinoa, both the leaves and stems of chard, fresh herbs, strawberries and a yummy citrus-Dijon dressing.
It’s simple and ready in under an hour. This spring cauliflower Buddha bowl is great for meal prep and perfect for lunch tomorrow. Ready to make it? Let’s go.
Cauliflower - You’ll need one head of cauliflower, cut into small florets. Look for a cauliflower that has tight-fitting, creamy-white florets and bright-green leaves. Avoid choosing a head that has brown spots or loose sections that are spread out.
Quinoa - I like to use the red or tri-color varieties for extra color, but any quinoa variety will work. Make sure to rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer to remove the bitter coating (aka saponins) from the quinoa. Saponins aren’t harmful, but they don’t taste very good.
Chickpeas - Either canned or soaked and cooked will work. Make sure to rinse them if you’re using canned chickpeas and save the chickpea liquid to make a yummy aquafaba dessert.
Garlic - I like to use fresh garlic, but jarred garlic also works.
Chard - Any color chard will work. We’re going to be using both the leaves and stems so make sure to wash everything well and separate the leaves from the stems, but don’t toss them! We’re going to roast them up and add them to this yummy vegan power bowl.
Sunflower seeds - Look for roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds. You can also get raw seeds and roast them yourself. Store nuts and seeds in the fridge or freezer to keep them from going rancid.
Herbs - Parsley and mint are my go-tos for this recipe. They add that spring freshness we’re going for. You’ll need fresh, not dried.
Avocado - Look for an avocado that gives to gentle pressure, but isn’t mushy either. If your avocado is hard, leave it out on the counter near bananas or apples and it should ripen faster.
Lemon - Ideally use fresh lemon juice. We’re going to add this lemon juice just before serving to give this cauliflower bowl some extra freshness.
Strawberries - Opt for organic if you can since strawberries are part of the dirty dozen. You could also use fresh blueberries or raspberries if you can’t find strawberries.
Citrus mustard sauce dressing
Orange/lemon - I like to use both orange and lemon. The orange gives flavor and sweetness, but alone doesn’t give this dressing the punch it needs. Adding lemon juice provides acidity that brings this dressing to the next level. You could use orange juice if you don’t have an orange.
Dijon - In a pinch you could use regular mustard, but opt for Dijon if you can.
Honey - I love using honey because it provides a few extra nutrients and anti-bacterial compounds (compared to regular sweeteners), though it is still sugar so be mindful of portion sizes. Use maple syrup if you’re vegan.
Olive oil - Look for extra virgin olive oil. Especially because we’re using this in a dressing, opt for a higher quality version.
Roasting: Combine cauliflower florets and drained/rinsed chickpeas in a large bowl. Add one tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes. We’re going to add the chard stems after 15 minutes and then add the chard leaves for the last 5 minutes, roasting the cauliflower and chickpeas for a total of 30 minutes.
Make sure to give your cauliflower room to breathe. We want to roast them so they get crispy, not steamed. If they’re too close together, they’ll just steam.
2 - Cook quinoa. Make sure to rinse your quinoa in a mesh strainer. This helps to remove the bitter saponins on the outside of the quinoa. Combine ¾ cup quinoa with 1 ½ cups of water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the kernels have “popped” open, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside.
3 - Prep chard stems: While the cauliflower and chickpeas are roasting, slice the chard stems into ½ inch pieces and toss with 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper. Remove the baking sheet with the cauliflower and chickpeas from the oven and add the chard stems. Roast for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, we’re going to add the chard leaves and roast everything for 5 minutes.
4 - Prep chard leaves: while the cauliflower/chickpea/chard mixture is roasting, chop or tear the chard leaves into large pieces and toss with 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
Add the chard leaves (I just scatter them on top of the other veggies) and garlic to the baking sheet and roast for a final 5 minutes. Once the chard leaves are wilted, remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle with lemon zest.
5 - Prepare the dressing: while the veggies are roasting, combine the orange and lemon juices, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil and salt in a small bowl and whisk or shake to combine. Add pepper and more salt to taste.
6 - Serve: Divide the quinoa and vegetable mixture between four bowls. Top with sliced avocado, sliced strawberries and the dressing. Garnish with parsley, mint and sunflower seeds. Enjoy!
💭 Tips, Tricks and Tools
Storage: Store the dressing and vegetable mixtures separately to help this cauliflower bowl from going bad too fast.
Variations: Feel free to make this your own! Use broccoli instead of cauliflower, spinach or kale instead of chard and raspberries instead of strawberries. Use what you have on hand!
This cauliflower Buddha bowl contains all the basic macronutrients needed for a balanced meal including carbohydrates (quinoa, chickpeas, strawberries, cauliflower), protein (chickpeas, sunflower seeds), fat (avocado, sunflower seeds, olive oil), and fiber (cauliflower, chard, sunflower seeds, avocado, quinoa, strawberries).
This cauliflower bowl is incredibly nutrient-dense. It’s high in vitamin C, folate, iron and vitamin A. It’s a good source of fiber, and it’s vegan, gluten-free and full of plant-based proteins.
🥗 More seasonal Buddha bowl recipes
Loved this vegan Buddha bowl?
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Cauliflower Buddha Bowl with Crispy Chickpeas and Chard
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 medium head cauliflower cut into small florets
- 1 15 ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ¾ cup quinoa rinsed
- 1 bunch chard Stems chopped and leaves chopped or torn into large pieces
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt + more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1 cup strawberries tops removed and sliced
- garnish with mint, parsley and sunflower seeds
Citrus Mustard Sauce
- ½ orange juiced
- 1 lemon juiced (we'll use the zest with the roasted vegetables)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.
- Roasting: In a large bowl, combine cauliflower florets and chickpeas. Add one tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes. We’ll roast for another 15 minutes after we add the chard stems.
- Cook quinoa: Make sure to rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer. Then combine quinoa and 1 ½ cups water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes. Then remove from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside.
- Prep chard stems: Slice chard stems and toss with 1 ½ teaspoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the baking sheet (with cauliflower and chickpeas) from the oven. Add the chard stems to the baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.
- Prep chard leaves: While the cauliflower/chard mixture is roasting, chop the chard leaves into large pieces and toss with 1 ½ teaspoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Remove the baking sheet with cauliflower, chickpeas and chard from the oven.
- Add the chard leaves and garlic to the baking sheet and roast for a final 5 minutes. I usually just add the leaves right on top of the vegetables. Once the leaves are wilted, remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle with lemon zest.
- Prepare the dressing: While the veggies are roasting, combine the orange and lemon juices, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil and salt in a small bowl or jar and whisk or shake to combine.
- Serve: Divide the quinoa and vegetable mixture between four bowls. Top with sliced avocado, sliced strawberries and the citrus-Dijon dressing. Garnish with parsley, mint and sunflower seeds. Enjoy!