Tofu Buddha Bowl is a fresh, healthy, and delicious lunch or dinner you can make in around 30 minutes! It features crispy tofu, rice, an abundance of vegetables and a spicy and nutty peanut butter sauce.
If you're trying to eat more vegetables, then add this tofu Buddha bowl to your weekly meal rotation!
It packs 4 different kinds of vegetables (although avocados are technically a fruit), as well as 37g of plant-based protein and 12g of fiber (almost half of your daily recommended intake).
Not only that, but this meal is delicious and exciting to eat, providing you with a variety of different textures and flavors.
My favorite part is the spicy peanut sauce that I can literally drink because it's THAT good!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Fresh, colorful, and nourishing! This tofu buddha bowl with peanut sauce is a great recipe to make when you are craving something light yet filling and satisfying. I especially love eating buddha bowls when it's springtime or on hot summer days.
- Easy to put together. This recipe has a few *truly* simple steps, the hardest of which is making the tofu (which is not hard at all). It's great when you're low on time or don't want to spend much time in the kitchen.
- Customizable. You can add whatever vegetables you want, and you can also switch up the rice for noodles, sweet potatoes, or cauliflower rice.
- Meal prep friendly. Feel free to prep all of the ingredients ahead of time. This way, all you'll have to do is assemble the bowl and enjoy!
- Naturally vegan and can be made gluten-free. Make sure to use tamari instead of soy sauce for a gluten-free option.
What Is a Buddha Bowl?
A Buddha Bowl is a healthy and balanced meal served in a bowl. It most often consists of different ingredients, such as whole grains, fresh vegetables, some type of protein, and healthy fats.
It's often served vegetarian or vegan, but it can also include meat, fish, or other animal products.
The term "Buddha Bowl" is believed to come from the idea that the bowl is filled with an abundance of foods, which represents the generosity of Buddha.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Tofu: For best results, use firm or extra-firm tofu. It has less moisture and crisps up when baked or fried.
- Cooked rice: This will be the base of our tofu buddha bowl that will carry the rest of the toppings. I'm using short-grain rice, but sushi rice, basmati rice, and brown rice will also work.
- Vegetables: I use carrots, radishes, red cabbage, and edamame (which are technically beans).
- Peanut butter: I recommend using all-natural creamy peanut butter for the best results.
- Soy sauce: You'll need it both for marinating the tofu and for adding flavor and saltiness to the peanut sauce.
- Sesame oil: A little bit of sesame oil goes a long way and adds a toasty flavor and nuttiness. I recommend using toasted sesame oil because it's more potent.
- Rice vinegar: Adds tanginess and a great vinegary zing!
- Cornstarch: It coats the tofu and helps it crisp up in the oven.
- Sriracha: As with the soy sauce, you'll need it both for marinating the tofu and for adding flavor and spiciness to the peanut sauce.
- Avocado: I love adding avocado to my Buddha bowl because it brings freshness, creaminess, and color, but it's optional.
See the recipe card below for exact measurements.
How to Make A Tofu Buddha Bowl with Peanut Sauce
Step 1: Prepare tofu
Let it press for 30 minutes to 2 hours to get rid of excess moisture.
Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and add to a medium bowl.
Add soy sauce, sriracha, and black pepper. Toss until well coated.
Add the cornstarch and toss again, until all sides are dusted in cornstarch.
Add the cubed tofu, leaving enough space in between each piece so steam can escape.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven to 390ºF (200ºC), flipping halfway through, or until the tofu is crispy and golden brown.
Step 2: Make the simple peanut sauce
Taste and adjust the flavor if needed, adding more soy sauce or sriracha to taste.
If you want to add some sweetness, you can add a drizzle of maple syrup as well.
Step 3: Assemble your tofu buddha bowl
Add your cooked rice to the bottom of a large bowl and top with your crispy tofu, vegetables, and avocado. Last, but not least, add a generous drizzle of peanut sauce.
Enjoy your tofu Buddha bowl right away!
- Use extra-firm tofu. To make it golden brown and crispy, you need to use firm, extra-firm, or super-firm tofu. Soft or silken tofu won't work, because they have high water content and fall apart easily.
- Press the tofu to remove excess moisture. Another important step that helps the tofu crisp up in the oven. Pressing for at least 30 minutes gets rid of the excess water and allows the tofu to absorb more flavor when you add the marinate later on.
- If you have the extra time, let the tofu marinate. This isn't absolutely necessary, but it makes a difference. If you don't have the time, you can marinate it the night before so it can be ready to be baked the next day.
- Marinate your veggies. For even more flavor, marinate the vegetables in advance. Use a mixture of apple cider vinegar, salt, and a little bit of sugar. Let them sit while you're preparing the tofu and the sauce.
- Use a big enough bowl. Especially if you're going to add a lot of toppings as I do, you need a large bowl so you can mix everything together and coat with the sauce evenly.
- Adjust the consistency of the peanut sauce as needed. The sauce can thicken as it sits so make sure to add more water to reach the desired consistency.
- Switch up the vegetables! The best part of this tofu Buddha bowl is that it's versatile and customizable. You can use any of your favorite vegetables, starches, or protein sources. I've left some recommendations below.
Yes, in general, Buddha bowls are healthy and balanced. They're usually made with a variety of nutritious ingredients like vegetables, whole grains, plant-based protein, and healthy fats.
The only thing to keep in mind is that store-bought Buddha bowls can contain dressings or sauces high in sodium and fat, so be wary of that and enjoy them in moderation.
A Buddha bowl will most often have some type of starchy vegetables or whole grains as a base, the most popular of which are cooked rice, quinoa, noodles, or sweet potatoes.
Then, it's topped with vegetables like cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, etc., and some type of protein like tofu, chickpeas, or edamame.
An important ingredient is the dressing, which is most often made out of nut butter or tahini.
Other ingredients include avocado, pickled vegetables, sprouts, and chopped nuts.
Yes, you can pan-fry the tofu cubes with a little oil over medium heat, until golden brown. You can use either a large nonstick skillet or a cast-iron skillet. Note that this will give you different results. The tofu will most likely be less chewy and not as crispy as if you'd use an oven.
Don't have some of the ingredients mentioned above? You can still make this recipe!
Here are some of the most common substitutions for this tofu Buddha bowl.
- Tofu: You can use tempeh, seitan, or cooked chickpeas instead.
- Rice: If you don't want to use rice, you can use cooked quinoa, sweet potatoes, couscous, cauliflower rice, or noodles. I recommend rice noodles since they're naturally vegan and gluten-free and have a nice chewy texture. If you do end up using rice, I suggest trying my coconut rice as a way to switch things up!
- Peanut butter: You can use almond or cashew butter instead, but the flavor will change depending on the nut butter you're using.
- Soy sauce: Use tamari if you're on a gluten-free diet. Coconut aminos will also work.
- Rice vinegar: You can use white wine vinegar or lime juice instead.
- Cornstarch: Potato starch will also work well.
- Sriracha: You can use any other hot sauce that you like or substitute it with ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes or chili powder.
Here I've written some ingredients you can use to customize your tofu Buddha bowl. You can mix and match different foods and experiment to find your favorite combo!
As a rule of thumb, I try to include at least 3 different vegetables in my Buddha bowl for variety, color, and nutrition.
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
- Roasted sweet potatoes or regular potatoes
- Root vegetables like beets or parsnips
- Thinly sliced cucumbers
- Greens such as arugula or baby spinach
- Sauteed or roasted asparagus
- Grilled or roasted corn
- Sauteed shiitake mushrooms
- Pan-dried bok choy
- Steamed broccoli or cauliflower
- Roasted eggplant or zucchini
- Red, yellow, or green bell pepper
There are SO many toppings you can add, the possibilities are truly endless! Here are some ideas:
- Pan-Fried Chickpeas
- Green onions or thinly sliced red onion
- Sauerkraut, pickled ginger or vegan kimchi
- A dollop of my hummus without garlic
- Homemade guacamole
- Fresh herbs such as cilantro, parsley, or mint
- Sauteed greens like kale or spinach
- Chopped nuts like peanuts, cashews, or pecans
- Salsa or pico de gallo
- Roasted or pickled jalapeños
- Seaweed salad or nori sheets
A good dressing is essential for a delicious tofu Buddha bowl, so here are my favorite ones I suggest you try:
- Miso tahini dressing
- My teriyaki sauce from my tofu teriyaki stir fry recipe
- Vegan BBQ sauce
- Hummus dressing
- Green goddess tahini dressing
- Vegan ranch
- Vegan honey mustard dressing
Store leftovers in separate airtight containers for 3-4 days. Slice open the avocado before serving to prevent it from turning brown.
To keep the ingredients fresh for longer, store your sauce in a small mason jar and pour it over right before serving.
If try this tofu Buddha bowl with peanut sauce, leave a rating and a comment down below sharing with us how it went! ⭐
This helps other readers know more about the recipe, and I really appreciate the feedback.
Tofu Buddha Bowl with Peanut Sauce
- 1 cup cooked white rice*
- 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
- ½ cup edamame beans, blanched
- 1 medium carrot, julienned
- 4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 medium ripe avocado, sliced
- Black and white sesame seeds, for topping optional
- If you haven't done this already, cook your rice. For 1 cup of cooked rice, you'll need to use ½ cup of uncooked rice. Make sure to follow the directions on the packaging for the best result.
- Preheat oven to 390ºF (200ºC). Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and add to a medium bowl. Add soy sauce, sriracha, and black pepper. Toss until well coated. Add the cornstarch and toss again, until all sides are dusted in cornstarch.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the tofu is crispy and golden brown.
- Peanut sauce: In a small bowl, add peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sriracha. Using a whisk or a fork, mix until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the flavor if needed, adding more soy sauce or sriracha to taste. If you want to add some sweetness, you can add a drizzle of maple syrup as well.
- Assemble: Add your cooked rice at bottom of a large bowl and top with your crispy tofu, vegetables, avocado, and last, but not least, a generous drizzle of peanut sauce. Enjoy your tofu Buddha bowl right away!
Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with third-party calculations without including the optional ingredients.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove