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This High Protein Buddha Bowl recipe is a delicious fusion of Mexican and Asian flavors. Smoky tofu, black bean and corn salsa, juicy tomatoes, and crisp greens are piled high on a bed of brown rice. Then we’re adding some avocado or guacamole and finishing things with a drizzle of chipotle vinaigrette. There’s no need to keep looking for the perfect plant-based vegan Mexican tofu bowl; you’ve got it right here!

vegan protein bowls

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This tofu Buddha bowl is 100% plants and is a big, high-energy meal. There’s nothing light or “diet-y” about this satisfying dish. Yet it also manages to be meatless and gluten free.

You’re getting (approximately) 15 grams of fiber, over 1,000 mg of potassium, and 27 grams of filling protein. And let’s not forget about the rainbow of phytonutrients from the wide variety of vegetables here.

If you are also a fan of eating the rainbow, you are going to love this high protein Buddha bowl. And if healthy eating really isn’t your thing, but delicious food is, you are going to love this vegetarian Buddha bowl. And if you want to eat healthy food, but only if it tastes good, well…

Basically, I think these are the best Buddha bowls, whatever your angle. I’m patting myself on the back for spreading joy with this cheap and easy meal idea!

And did I mention they’re customizable? Set up a burrito bar so guests can make their own low carb Buddha bowl, Paleo Buddha bowl, low fodmap Buddha bowl, etc. These vegan protein bowls can be modified to fit a variety of special diets!

🤔 What is a Buddha bowl?

According to Epicurious, the term “Buddha Bowl” may be taken from the Buddha’s practice of collecting food donations from local villagers in a bowl in the morning. The Buddha Bowl contained whatever food was locally available and that the villagers could share. The original Buddha bowls likely contained simple and affordable foods (like rice).

🥘 High Protein Buddha Bowl Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this vegan protein bowl recipe:

  • Flavored tofu cubes
  • Rice
  • Cooked cauliflower rice
  • Black bean and corn salsa (black beans, corn, mild green chilis, roasted red peppers, scallions, cider vinegar)
  • Sliced avocado or guacamole
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Chopped romaine lettuce
  • Sliced black olives
  • Cilantro
  • Buddha bowl dressing (see next section)
mexican buddha bowls ingredients

Specific quantities of ingredients are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post!

If you made smoked tofu, you’re in good shape for making these vegan protein bowls. IMVHO, the citrusy, smoky tofu is perfect in these bowls. SO GOOD. Alternatively, substitute a store-bought flavored tofu that sounds appealing.

Tofu is a complete plant-based protein and some brands are a rich source of non-dairy calcium. (But be sure to check the nutrition label though, as some brands provide far less calcium than others.)

“WFPB” stands for “Whole Food, Plant-Based.” If we’re talking about which plant foods are best in terms of health, the whole food options are typically the winners. Avocado and olives are both great WFPB options for fat.

The beans in this vegan burrito bowl count as both vegetable and protein. However, they are not the only veggies in the bowl! We’ve got a variety of veggies here, including the standard salad veggies, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Mixing some cauliflower rice with regular rice helps improve the texture of the rice. If you cook the rice in vegetable broth, you can’t taste the cauliflower at all.

If you’ve never tried this in your rice bowls, now might be a great time to give it a go. It’s no extra work, since we’re using frozen riced cauliflower, and adding it to the rice at the end of cooking.

🌱 Mexican Tofu Bowl Dressing Recipe

No vegan or vegetarian black bean Buddha bowl is complete without a drizzle of dressing to bring it all together. I’m adding a bright and citrusy chipotle vinaigrette to this dish. It adds a little spicy heat to your bowl and goes perfectly with the tofu.

Here’s what you need to make it:

  • Oil (I use avocado oil)
  • Chipotle in adobo
  • Orange juice (fresh squeezed)
  • Lime juice (fresh squeezed)
  • Garlic clove (crushed)
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Orange zest
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
mexican buddha bowl dressing

Other Buddha bowl dressing ideas include:

You can make your own sauce or purchase a dressing from the store. Obviously, use good judgment to determine what sauce might work well with other ingredients you’re using.

🔪 How to Make High Protein Buddha Bowl

Here are step-by-step directions for how to make a Mexican Buddha bowl:

how to make mexican buddha bowls
  1. Put rice and vegetable broth in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let it come to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook the rice until the liquid has absorbed and the rice becomes soft. Brown rice takes about 45 minutes, white rice takes 15 minutes.
  1. Stir in cooked riced cauliflower after the rice has cooked. Set this mixture aside while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  1. Stir the black bean and corn salsa ingredients together in a large bowl. Let the flavors meld in the fridge while you work on the rest of the dish.
  1. Put the Buddha bowl dressing ingredients in a mini chopper. Blend or pulse until completely smooth.
  1. Prep the veggies for the bowls. Slice the avocado, cube the tofu, halve the grape tomatoes, and slice the lettuce and olives.
  1. To assemble Mexican Buddha bowls, ¼ of the cooked rice mixture in the bottom of a bowl. Top with ¼ each of the black bean and corn salsa, tofu, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and avocado. Drizzle ¼ of the dressing on top of each bowl. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!
protein bowls vegan

💡 Vegan Protein Bowl Variations

If black beans and tofu aren’t your thing, there are lots of other protein-packed legumes you could use. Here are some other ideas for plant-based protein:

  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Small red beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Edamame
  • Lentils
  • Tempeh

Nuts and seeds also get placed in the protein group on the MyPlate. Though they provide some essential amino acids, I believe that it is better to think of them as healthy fats. They are incredibly calorie-dense, and you’d have to eat an excessive amount if depending on them for protein.

By the way, I’ve seen the following substituted for protein group foods in recipes. These are NOT adequate substitutions nutritionally for foods in the protein group (regardless of their texture or taste):

  • Jackfruit
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Hibiscus flowers

Substituting the rice for quinoa in this recipe will add a little more protein.

If you think a vegetarian Buddha bowl might be more your style, dairy foods are another great way to get protein and calcium. You could add some shredded cheese (how about pepper jack?) and/or a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (which has more protein than sour cream). For omnivores, try a Mexican chicken Buddha bowl or add some sliced steak.

Technically, most foods include a little protein. The following are some other ideas for vegan protein bowls, though they are not protein group foods:

  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini squash noodles
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Roasted squash
  • Taco bowls
  • Tortilla chips

You could also flavor things up with some taco seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, or chili powder.

🌡 Mexican Tofu Bowl Meal Prep

If you are assembling these vegan bowls as a vegan meal prep, I highly recommend keeping the dressing separate until serving time. Use individual dressing cups to prevent the dreaded meal prep lunch sogginess. No one likes a soggy protein bowl.

Keep the rice separate from the rest of the ingredients as well, if you’d like to reheat it before you eat. It’s a bit of a pain having to use so many containers for your meal prep. However, I think the trouble of keeping lunch fresh and at the right temperature is worth it!

One final tip for meal prepping is that you should use single-serve guacamole cups instead of sliced avocado. Avocado or homemade guacamole will turn brown after sitting in the fridge for a few days.

The individually sealed cups of store-bought guacamole will stay fresh and green until you are ready to eat them. Additionally, you’ll save time on meal prep when you use store-bought. This is one short cut that I think is a really smart move to make.

When prepared as described above, Mexican Buddha bowls will last in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. These do not freeze well, as the lettuce and tomatoes will become soggy when thawed.

vegan protein bowl

📋 High Protein Buddha Bowl Calories

These vegan protein bowls provide 673 calories, 69.9 grams net carbs, and 27.2 grams protein per serving. Nutrition information may vary depending on the type of tofu and the dressing you use.

mexican buddha bowls

FAQs

Buddha bowl vs burrito bowl- what’s the difference?

Buddha bowls can contain pretty much any grains, veggies, protein, and dressing you wish. A burrito bowl, on the other hand, typically only contains ingredients you’d find in a burrito. This Mexican black bean Buddha bowl is essentially also a burrito bowl.

How to make vegan protein bowl low carb?

To make a vegan protein bowl keto, skip the black bean and corn salsa. You’ll also need to swap out the rice for more riced cauliflower and use a low carb-friendly dressing. I recommend adding black soybeans or additional tofu for more protein.

How much protein is in a Buddha bowl?

One serving of my Buddha bowl recipe provides 27.2 grams of protein. The protein in your bowl will vary depending on your portion size and the ingredients used. Add more black beans, tofu, or other legumes to increase the protein in your bowl.

What vegetables are high in protein?

Most legumes count as both a veggie and a protein, and are your best bet for whole food plant-based protein. Some examples of high protein vegetables include edamame, lupini beans, chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans. Green beans are an example of a legume that is not high protein.

How can vegans get 100g protein a day?

For a high protein vegan diet, try to include a source of plant protein in all of your meals and snacks. Some great sources include vegan protein powder, soy milk and other soy foods, seitan, protein pasta, and beans.

mexican buddha bowl

👩🏻‍🍳 Other Buddha Bowl Recipes

One of the nice things about making Buddha bowls is that just about anything goes! Here are some other ideas for healthy Buddha bowls:

You may also enjoy our entire collection of Vegan Recipes.

Watch How to Make It!

mexican buddha bowl recipe

High Protein Buddha Bowl (Vegan Mexican Tofu Bowl Recipe)

Summer Yule
This high protein Buddha bowl recipe is a delicious fusion of Mexican and Asian flavors. Tofu and black beans make a tasty vegan protein bowl!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Lunch
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 673 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. flavored tofu 454 grams (store-bought or this smoked tofu)
  • 12 ounces grape tomatoes, halved 340 grams
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced
  • ½ head romaine lettuce, cut into thin shreds 4 ounces or 113 grams
  • ¾ cup sliced black olives
  • cilantro, chopped finely (for garnish, optional)

For the rice:

  • 1 cup rice, dry
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 12 ounces frozen riced cauliflower, cooked 340 grams

For the black bean and corn salsa:

  • 15½ ounces canned black beans, drained 439 grams
  • 1 cup frozen roasted corn, thawed
  • 4 ounces canned mild green chilis 113 grams
  • ounces roasted red peppers, chopped 99 grams
  • 4 small scallions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

For the Buddha bowl dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped (use less for less spicy heat)
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Don’t be a stranger! 😊If you love this recipe, please come back and leave a rating. This helps readers and I’d love to hear from you. Thank you ❤️

Instructions

  • Put rice and vegetable broth in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let it come to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook the rice until the liquid has absorbed and the rice becomes soft. Brown rice takes about 45 minutes, white rice takes 15 minutes. 
  • Stir in cooked riced cauliflower after the rice has cooked. Set this mixture aside while you prepare the rest of the dish. 
  • Stir the black bean and corn salsa ingredients together in a large bowl. Let the flavors meld in the fridge while you work on the rest of the dish. 
  • Put the Buddha bowl dressing ingredients in a mini chopper. Blend or pulse until completely smooth. 
  • Prep the veggies for the bowls. Slice the avocado, cube the tofu, halve the grape tomatoes, and slice the lettuce and olives. 
  • To assemble Mexican Buddha bowls, ¼ of the cooked rice mixture in the bottom of a bowl. Top with ¼ each of the black bean and corn salsa, tofu, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and avocado. Drizzle ¼ of the dressing on top of each bowl. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Enjoy! 

Notes

💭 Expert Tips from Dietitian Summer Yule

This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). This recipe is a great example of how a dish can be plant-based and “healthy” but not necessarily conducive to weight loss. 
You can make a vegan Buddha bowl that’s high-calorie with adequate protein! Plant-based fats, such as avocado and olives, help to add lots of calories in a small volume. 
Generous amounts of legumes, like the tofu and black beans here, bring on the plant-based protein. No matter your chosen diet, it’s essential to give your body adequate amounts of the nutrients it needs to thrive. There are many different ways to structure your diet that can lead to good health.
That said, if you are here specifically for recipes that may help with weight loss, I’d consider these changes:
  • Cut the amount of avocado in half
  • Skip the olives
  • Swap out all of the brown rice for riced cauliflower
  • You could also experiment with cutting back on the avocado oil in the dressing (perhaps use an equal amount of orange juice in its place)
  • DON’T remove the legumes and non-starchy veggies!
The rice/cauliflower combo tastes great, and may also help if you have a fat loss goal. Substituting out half your rice for cauliflower reduces calories and carbs. It also improves the rice, IMHO, and no deprivation is involved at all.
It is not too difficult to get adequate (or even excessive!) calories on vegan and vegetarian diets. With a little forethought, you can also ensure you get the RDA for protein.
 
Nutrition information is for one serving, and will vary depending on the type of tofu you use.

 

nutrition info disclaimer

 

All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.

 

The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.

 

“To taste” means to your preferences, which may have to be visual to follow food safety rules. Please don’t eat undercooked food x

Nutrition

Calories: 673kcalCarbohydrates: 85.3gProtein: 27.2gFat: 26.5gSaturated Fat: 3gPotassium: 1067.7mgFiber: 15.4gVitamin A: 98.6% DVVitamin C: 181.2% DVCalcium: 79.4% DVIron: 32.1% DV
Keywords best buddha bowl, high protein buddha bowl, meican buddha bowl recipe, mexican buddha bowl, tofu buddha bowl, vegan protein bowl, vegan protein bowl recipe, vegetarian black bean buddha bowl, vegetarian buddha bowl, vegetarian burrito bowl
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3 Comments

  1. Alright, Summer, this is where you were headed! You see, we don’t get someone just to make a burrito bowl for us. No, we build to it.

    Once there, though, it is quite a celebration. All the colors are here, that’s for sure. Just curious – do you ever select an ingredient because of the hues it brings to the party, or is it just a happy coincidence that you maximize the color charts each and every time?

    As you know from reading my blog (or, as anyone who visits at just about any point could tell you), I am most definitely not a vegetarian. Still, your creation does something extraordinary, namely, I likely would devour it without wondering, even once, if this dish would work with chicken or crab.

    Quite a dish, Summer!

    1. I’d definitely do chicken, steak, or shrimp with this. I haven’t considered crab but why not? I like it!

      Yes, I usually aim for color variety with meals. It’s for both aesthetics and nutrition! Plus I always have a ton of different veggies in the fridge to use up!

5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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