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Southwest Vegetarian Buddha Bowls

Sep 1, 2020 | Recipes | 0 comments

Vegetarian Southwest Buddha Bowl

These vegetarian Buddha bowls include an almond butter sauce and crunchy roasted chickpeas that really set them apart!

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I have a love for one-bowl meals and this one is super simple, but also super flavorful.

Meals like this are great for families because you can let everyone build their own bowl.

Your child can skip the red onion and load up on extra sweet potatoes if they want.

You can also easily add extra topping choices like avocado, greens, brown rice, bell peppers, or whatever else your family enjoys – it's really versatile!

This also makes a great packed lunch as it's just as good cold as it is warm. I hope you love it!

Southwest Chickpea Bowl
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Southwest Buddha Bowl {Vegetarian, GF}


Almond Dipping Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp almond butter*
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder

Southwest Spice Mix & Chickpeas

  • 1 can chickpeas*
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Parchment paper

Southwest Buddha Bowl

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • Southwest spice mix chickpeas
  • Almond dipping sauce


For the Almond Dipping Sauce

  • In a blender combine almond butter, maple syrup, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, and onion powder.
  • Blend until smooth.

For the Southwest Spice Mix & Chickpeas

  • Preheat oven to 420 F.
  • In a small container mix together chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and oregano.
  • Rinse 1 can of chickpeas, drain out water and dry chickpeas with paper towels.
  • Toss with 1 Tbsp Southwest spice mix and 1 Tbsp olive oil.
  • Place on parchment-lined sheet pan and bake ~25mins, turning halfway through cook time.

For the Southwest Buddha Bowl

  • Preheat oven to 420 F.
  • Peel and cut 2 sweet potatoes into 1/2” pieces.
  • Toss sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp Southwest spice mix.
  • Place sweet potatoes on sheet pan and roast for ~30 mins or until fork tender, tossing halfway through cooking time.
  • Chop red onion.
  • In 4 bowls, divide red onion, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas.
  • Drizzle each bowl w/ almond dipping sauce.


*Note: read all ingredient lists; avoid added msg, sugar, gluten, salt, etc.

What are the nutritional benefits of this vegetarian Buddha bowl?

This vegetarian Buddha bowl is as healthy as it sounds! Here are some of the nutritional highlights:

  • Chickpeas: Full of calcium, fiber, iron, folate and phosphorus, chickpeas may help control blood sugar and lower cholesterol. Try to find BPA-free cans when purchasing canned chickpeas (you can find these at Thrive Market (<< affiliate link) or Whole Foods).
  • Sweet Potatoes: Possibly the most nutrient dense affordable food, sweet potatoes have a special protein that may fight cancer. Furthermore, sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins including 400% of your daily vitamin A needs!
  • Almond Butter: High in magnesium, vitamin E and potassium, almonds are good for your heart and also help lower LDL cholesterol. One serving of almonds also has as much calcium as 1/4 cup of milk! Make sure to choose an almond butter where the only ingredients are almonds and salt to maximize these benefits.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is anecdotally believed to have all sorts of benefits. Two of those benefits best supported by science are its ability to help stabilize blood sugar and to aid in weight loss. Apple cider vinegar also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

What are some tips on how to roast chickpeas and keep them crunchy?

If you've ever attempted to make roasted chickpeas before, you may have noticed that they do not always keep that perfect crunchy texture you're going for. If you're prepping these ahead of time, that's super important! Try these tips to make sure your chickpeas stay crunchy:

  • Dry them really well: Make sure your chickpeas are totally dry before you roast them as moisture will prevent that crunch factor.
  • Remove the skins: Dump your chickpeas on a towel and place another towel on top. Lightly rub to remove the chickpea skins. This helps remove extra moisture as well!
  • Store well: Let the chickpeas cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the pantry (for no more than one week).
  • Cool slowly: If you're prepping these ahead and are not in a hurry, try turning off the oven and letting them cook slowly in the oven for a while to maximize crispiness.

What if I don't eat legumes?

I know legumes don't agree with everyone's stomach and won't work for those of you who follow a Paleo lifestyle.

Feel free to sub chicken or salmon here. You can still use the southwest spice mix and roast, then cut into bite size pieces before adding to your bowl!

What other toppings would be good in vegetarian Buddha bowls?

Dreaming up toppings for delicious salads and bowls is pretty much my happy place.

Here are a few additions and variations that I think would be totally delicious!

  • Add a squeeze of lime juice
  • Top with avocado
  • Sauté some chopped red bell pepper to include
  • Add sautéed kale
  • Serve everything over salad greens
  • Top with pepitas for some extra crunch
  • Add diced cherry tomatoes
  • Sprinkle with finely chopped cilantro
  • Serve everything over quinoa

How do I cook chickpeas from scratch?

If, like me, you stocked up on a bunch of dried beans last spring, this is a great chance to use some of those legumes and free up some pantry space!

But how do you cook chickpeas from scratch?

It's actually super simple and, in my opinion, so much tastier than canned!

Another benefit of cooking them yourself? You may find that freshly made chickpeas are easier on your stomach than canned as you can make sure to properly soak them before cooking, which eases digestion. Beans contain a certain type of fiber called raffinose that can be hard on some people's stomachs but thoroughly soaking and cooking can reduce this fiber by up to 75%!

Another benefit to making your own? They will also be far lower in sodium than most canned chickpeas.

The most important step to cooking beans from scratch is soaking, preferably for around 12 hours. While you can take shortcuts here, I don't recommend it. After soaking, you have several options. You can cook in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or on the stovetop. You can find a good outline of the various cooking methods here!

(Pssst! Want another great recipe to use your chickpeas in? Try my Middle Eastern Salad w/ Homemade Tahini Sauce!)

What if I want to buy canned? Do I need to avoid BPA?

If you don't want to mess with making chickpeas from scratch, no worries! There are some quality canned versions out there.

Two things to keep in mind when purchasing already cooked beans are BPA and sodium.

BPA (bisphenol A) is a chemical used to make many plastics. It's also used in the lining of many cans to strengthen the metal. Some of the BPA used in food packaging can seep into your food.

Some studies show that because BPA has structural similarities to estrogen, it may impact hormones by binding to estrogen receptors. This can effect your body in several ways but one of the most significant may be fertility.

Fortunately, there are some great BPA-free options out there! Thrive Market offers both BPA-free canned chickpeas (also salt-free!) and a BPA-free pouch.

Looking for other tasty one-bowl meals?  Check out my Teriyaki Salmon Bowl or Chorizo Veggie Bowl! Also, make sure to check out episode 33 of my podcast, Meal Prep Monday, for all of my best tips on how to put together a delicious and satisfying bowl meal.

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Vegetarian Gluten Free Buddha Bowl
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