Where did the name ‘Buddha Bowl’ come from, anyway? If you’ve been on Instagram in the last 5 years, chances are you’ve seen these colorful bowls, packed with plant-based goodness like grains, legumes, steamed and raw veggies, and flavorful sauces. According to a 2017 Epicurious article by Katherine Sacks, the name could come from how Buddha collected alms, using a large bowl to gather small bits of food that the residents of whatever village he was staying in could afford to share.
Before we started calling these colorful bowls “Buddha Bowls,” I knew them as macro bowls. When we lived in Austin, I headed to a macrobiotic restaurant called Casa de Luz whenever I needed a bit of a recharge. Instead of having a fixed menu, Casa de Luz offered one rotating meal per day. It would always be some type of buddha bowl, with a grain, a legume, blanched leafy greens, steamed vegetables, a pickled vegetable, and a delicious sauce. It may sound limiting, but I’ve honestly had some of the best sauce and vegetable pairings of my life there. Since I can’t visit Casa de Luz regularly now that we live in Chicago, I used their basic template to build my own buddha bowl recipe.