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There’s nothing like a vegan Buddha bowl to make you feel good about eating delicious food. Nutty, slightly chewy forbidden rice takes this meal to a higher plane.

a vegan buddha bowl with forbidden rice, avocado, sauteed chickpeas, snow peas, red bell pepper, arugula, creamy lemon vinaigrette, and pepitas
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Why we love this recipe

Forbidden rice feels like a precious gem among rice varieties. In terms of flavor, texture, and nutritional value, it has a whole lot going for it. This vegan Buddha bowl

  • Savory and satisfying on all sorts of levels
  • Absolutely jam-packed with nutrients
  • Naturally vegan and gluten-free
  • Make-ahead and meal-prep friendly
  • Flexible — swap elements in and out as you like

I first published this recipe here back in 2017. I’ve since updated the post for clarity and made a few tweaks to the recipe itself.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe. It includes some prepared elements — you’ll find the recipes for those linked below. A Buddha bowl is a very flexible format, so please feel free to swap elements in and out to suit your needs.

ingredients in bowls

The rice

  • Forbidden rice is also sometimes called black rice. This gorgeous, deep purple whole grain packs a huge nutritional punch and has a wonderful, satisfyingly nutty taste and gently chewy texture. While it’s grown in long-, medium-, and short-grain varieties, most of what you’ll find commercially available in the U.S. is medium-grain. That’s perfect for this recipe. You can learn more about forbidden rice here.

Everything else

  • You can include chickpeas straight from the can if that’s all you’ve got the time and energy for — no shade. But if you want to level it up a bit while still keeping things nice and easy, make a batch of my sautéed chickpeas instead. They’re so good.
  • To keep this bowl nice and cozy, I like to include a cooked vegetable as well. Super-savory sautéed zucchini and onions are a personal favorite.
  • I always like to include a leafy green. Here I’ve pictured some peppery baby arugula, and the version photographed below includes my favorite simple kale salad. You can use whatever you like.
  • A variety of raw vegetables provides crunch and lightness. Here I’ve chosen snow peas, diced red bell pepper, and creamy Hass avocado. They make a nice combination, but you can swap in and out to your heart’s content.
  • Here’s how to make my favorite creamy lemon vinaigrette. We almost always have a batch in our fridge.
  • For next-level crunch, it’s nice to include some pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds). The ones pictured here are straight from the bag, but if you’re feeling ambitious, you can include my favorite spicy pepitas recipe. They only take a few minutes to make, and they last a long time, so feel free to make them well in advance.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a beautiful, nutritious vegan Buddha bowl with forbidden rice. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll make each of the cooked elements — the rice, chickpeas, and zucchini. You can do this part in advance if you like.
  2. Layer in some greens, followed by the cooked dishes.
  3. Top with the snow peas, avocado, and bell pepper.
  4. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with pepitas. That’s it!
Vegan Buddha Bowl with Forbidden Rice 780 | Umami Girl-2
Here’s another variation with kale salad and cucumber matchsticks

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

You can make many of the elements in advance and store them in separate airtight containers in a nice, cold fridge for a week. This applies to the dressing, rice, chickpeas, and zucchini — all of the prepared components. I recommend assembling the bowls right before serving (or having diners assemble their own).

More favorite grain bowls

a vegan buddha bowl with forbidden rice, avocado, sauteed chickpeas, snow peas, red bell pepper, arugula, creamy lemon vinaigrette, and pepitas

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a vegan buddha bowl with forbidden rice, avocado, sauteed chickpeas, snow peas, red bell pepper, arugula, creamy lemon vinaigrette, and pepitas
4.88 from 8 votes

Vegan Buddha Bowl with Forbidden Rice

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
There’s nothing like a vegan Buddha bowl to make you feel good about eating delicious food. Nutty, slightly chewy forbidden rice takes this meal to a higher plane.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Combine rice, water and salt in a medium pot.
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until tender but still nice and chewy, about 35 minutes. (Check package instructions for timing, since brands may vary.)
  • Let rice sit, covered, for 10 minutes to continue steaming a bit and absorb any excess moisture.
  • Meanwhile, prepare chickpeas, zucchini, and dressing, if including.
  • To assemble each bowl, place some greens at the bottom.
  • Spoon in some rice, chickpeas, and zucchini.
  • Layer on some snap peas, bell pepper, and avocado.
  • Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with pepitas.
  • Serve right away.

Notes

  1. Forbidden rice is also sometimes called black rice. This gorgeous, deep purple whole grain packs a huge nutritional punch and has a wonderful, satisfyingly nutty taste and gently chewy texture. While it's grown in long-, medium-, and short-grain varieties, most of what you'll find commercially available in the U.S. is medium-grain. That's perfect for this recipe. You can learn more about forbidden rice here.
  2. You can include chickpeas straight from the can if that's all you've got the time and energy for — no shade.
  3. I always like to include a leafy green. Here I've pictured some peppery baby arugula, and the alternate version photographed above includes my favorite simple kale salad. You can use whatever you like.
  4. A variety of raw vegetables provides crunch and lightness. Here I've chosen snow peas, diced red bell pepper, and creamy Hass avocado. They make a nice combination, but you can swap in and out to your heart's content.
  5. if you're feeling ambitious, you can include my favorite spicy pepitas recipe. They only take a few minutes to make, and they last a long time, so feel free to make them well in advance.
  6. You can make many of the elements in advance and store them in separate airtight containers in a nice, cold fridge for a week. This applies to the dressing, rice, chickpeas, and zucchini — all of the prepared components. I recommend assembling the bowls right before serving (or having diners assemble their own).

Nutrition

Calories: 406kcal, Carbohydrates: 54.9g, Fat: 17g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salads + Bowls
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Hungry for More?
Subscribe to Umami Girl's email updates, and follow along on Instagram.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.88 from 8 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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