The Buddha bowl has become a classic vegan meal in recent years. As the story goes, Buddha would walk along carrying his food bowl to fill it with whatever bits of vegetarian food villagers would offer him. So now the bowl bearing his name represents a variable bowl of salad, leftovers, and sauces that make a quick and easy vegan meal. It may also have been named after Buddha as these bowls are usually balanced in regards to nutrients, with the protein components creating a complete amino acid profile.
Regardless of what you choose to put in your colourful bowl, it will need a really yummy sauce! The base of this one is tahini and toasted sesame oil, made from sesame seeds which are native to Africa. Asian flavour elements are added with turmeric, ginger, garlic and cilantro. The balance of this dressing is slightly sweet, sour, pungent, salty and bitter while carrying the umami flavour and richness of the oil. Overall in itself it is quite a balanced sauce that easily completes a meal and works well with a variety of vegetables and plant proteins. Enjoy it tonight, it takes just a few minutes to prepare!
Prep Time: 10 minutes.
Cooking Time: 0 minutes
Makes: 6 servings.
¼ cup tahini
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 inch square piece of fresh ginger, minced (½ teaspoon dried)
½ inch square piece of fresh turmeric, minced (1 teaspoon dried)
1 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced (½ teaspoon dried)
Small handful fresh cilantro, chopped finely (can substitute for basil)
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
½ cup of water
Using fresh herbs and spices increases the nutritional potency, flavors and aroma of this recipe, but it’s not necessary. You can easily use dried powders in a pinch, just try to make them high quality, organic powders and remember to buy them in small quantities so they are as fresh as possible. It’s the blend of these herbs and spices that give the distinct and balanced flavour we are looking for.
You can add the fresh garlic, turmeric and ginger to your blender first and let it do the chopping for you. If you don’t trust your blender to pulverize a chunk of ginger, simply chop them up with cilantro, setting the cilantro aside for the end. If you are not a fan of cilantro, basil is the best stand in, but any herb can be added to change up the flavour week to week. If you are in Spring and omitting the maple syrup, consider halifing the quantity of turmeric to begin with, as it will taste much more pungent without the sweet to balance it.
Next, add the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup and salt to your blender. Blend it all together well at a high speed, until quite smooth. At this point you want to make sure that the dressing is emulsified, meaning that the oil is dispersed throughout the water elements, rather than sitting on top. To do this, slow the speed of your blender but keep it going. Pour the oil slowly through the top of the blender, so that it can be broken up by the acid in the lemon juice and moved throughout the tahini. You will then do the same thing with the water, pouring it in slowly to combine it with the rest of the ingredients. At this point you can judge if the dressing is to your liking in terms of texture. If you want it thinner, add a Tablespoon of water at a time until your desired viscosity is achieved!
Finally add the cilantro and pulse several times to combine. If you are a “texture person”, and will not enjoy seeing the green flecks throughout the dressing, add the cilantro when you add the herbs and spices in the beginning. When you are satisfied with the taste and look of the sauce, pour it into an airtight storage jar. Ideally you will set it aside for at least 15 minutes to chill in the fridge while the flavours meld together.
Now you can serve it as a salad dressing, dip, or sauce as you choose! It keeps well in the fridge for up to one week. Enjoy!