Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl

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This nourishing Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl is served over quinoa with black beans and an herby cilantro and parsley sauce.

Overhead image of Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl, dressed and ready to be eaten

Protein-packed vegetarian meal

Since getting completely hooked on these Buddha bowls, I decided to swap a few ingredients to make a fun Buddha bowl variation. This one is loaded with sweet potatoes, black beans, and a tangy chimichurri-type sauce. The result is an absolutely amazing meal, packed with nutritious ingredients, that we can’t get enough of!

Some people think that meatless meals don’t have protein, but this veggie packed meal is loaded with protein without meat. The black beans and quinoa serve as  the main sources of protein in this Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl.

While I love a good meat-filled meal, I also love vegetarian food. And I believe it’s especially important to have a few delicious and filling vegetarian recipes on hand in times of quarantines and potential meat shortages. 

Process shots-- images of the sauce being made: showing all the greens being chopped and added to a mason jar.

Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl ingredients

  • Quinoa: Any grain works as the base for these bowls, and quinoa is our favorite. I like to cook the quinoa in vegetable broth or stock to add more flavor.  Feel free to stir a few tablespoons of the herb sauce into the quinoa to add even more flavor.
  • Sweet potatoes: I use the same seasoning mix from these mega-popular roasted sweet potatoes to make the potatoes for these Buddha bowls. The seasonings pair so well with everything else. 
  • Black beans: To keep things quick and easy, we’re using canned beans; simply drain and rinse. Once the potatoes have roasted, toss the black beans on the tray with the potatoes to warm through and coat them in some of the delicious seasoning from the potatoes.
  • Avocado: The optional avocado adds a great creaminess (and healthy fats) to these bowls. If you aren’t an avocado aficionado, I recommend adding some other kind of creamy element like goat or feta cheese. A hardboiled egg also makes a great avocado substitute.

Sauce tips

The sauce that tops these Sweet Potato Buddha Bowls isn’t complicated to make, but can be a little time consuming if made by hand. Personally, I think it’s best with hand-chopped herbs (hand chopping creates a more coarse and textured sauce), but you can save time by using a food processor or small blender. Here are a few other tips:

  • Make the sauce ahead of time.  If you’re planning meals for the week (or meal prepping), I recommend making the sauce in advance. You might even want to double it and add it to whatever else you’re eating during the week. This herb sauce just gets more and more flavorful as it sits! And if you’re not making it ahead of time, prepare it first so it has a time to marinate and become more flavorful.
  • Adjust red pepper flakes. If you don’t like heat or spice, leave them out. On the flip side, add more red pepper flakes for extra spice/heat.
  • Make sure to completely dry the herbs. After washing the cilantro and parsley, take the time to fully dry them (a salad spinner makes this process go fast). If you use wet herbs, the sauce will taste watery and off.
  • Use good quality, extra virgin olive oil. The better your olive oil, the better the flavor of the sauce. Here are a few tips when trying to find a good olive oil and a list of chefs’ favorite olive oils. Cobram Estate® Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a current favorite of mine for this sauce (not sponsored).
  • Stems are fine. Don’t pick all the leaves off the parsley and cilantro before chopping; the stems actually add flavor too. I cut off the bulk of the bottom stems (or twist and tear those stems off), but use the rest in the stems in the sauce.

Process shots-- images of the seasonings being added to the sweet potatoes; then being roasted; black beans being added; the quinoa being cooked.

Variation ideas

  • Try different roasted veggies, such as carrots, butternut squash, and beets.
  • Add different fresh toppings, such as raw corn kernels, raw or pickled red onion, and chopped cherry tomatoes
  • Swap out the whole grain base for brown rice, farro, barley, or couscous.
  • Top Sweet Potato Buddha Bowls with fresh herbs by adding any leftover coarsely chopped Italian parsley, cilantro, or some micro greens.
  • Swap the chimichurri-type sauce for homemade or store-bought pesto.

Up-close overhead image of nutritious Sweet Potato Buddah Bowl ready to be eaten.

How to meal prep Sweet Potato Buddha Bowls

  • Divide the quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, and black beans into meal prep containers.
  • Store the sauce in a mason jar or divide it into individual sauce containers.
  • To assemble and enjoy: Add quinoa and sweet potato mixture to a plate or bowl and warm through in the microwave. Top with a few spoonfuls of the sauce.
  • Chop an avocado to add in (store leftover avocado in a bag in the fridge and cut off any top browned layer before adding more in the next day).

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Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl

5 from 1 vote
Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl is served over quinoa with black beans and an herby cilantro and parsley sauce.
Print Recipe

Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl

5 from 1 vote
Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl is served over quinoa with black beans and an herby cilantro and parsley sauce.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 7 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 472kcal
Cost $6.25

Ingredients

Herb Sauce

  • 3-4 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons EACH: red wine vinegar, freshly squeezed lime juice (1 lime)
  • 1/2 cup (98g) good quality olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup EACH (25g each): finely chopped cilantro and flat-leaf parsley (~1 full bunch of each)
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Quinoa

  • 1 cup (163g) quinoa
  • 2 cups (470g) vegetable broth (or water)

Seasoned Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 pounds (~3 large) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: chili powder, paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder
  • 1 can (15 ounces; 425g) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Toppings: 1 large avocado, 1 fresh lime, optional: additional parsley for garnish)

Instructions

  • SAUCE: In a large mason jar (See Note 1), add the finely chopped garlic cloves (2-3 cloves if sensitive to garlic, or 4 cloves for garlic lover!), red wine vinegar and freshly squeezed lime juice. Add in the olive oil, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and honey. Place the lid on the jar and shake to combine. Finely chop a bunch of parsley to get a full 1/2 cup (you should use most of, if not all, of a good sized bunch; some stems are fine). Finely chop the cilantro and measure to get 1/2 cup. Add the 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley and 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro to the jar and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Place the lid on the jar, shake, and place in the fridge overnight or let stand at room temperature while preparing everything else.
  • QUINOA: In a medium-sized pot, add the quinoa (rinse in a fine mesh sieve first to remove saponin coating), vegetable broth (or water) and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and cover with a lid. Let cook for 12-17 minutes or until the water is mostly absorbed. Remove from heat, keeping the lid on, and let stand for 15-20 minutes. Remove the lid, and fluff quinoa with a fork.
  • SEASONED ROASTED SWEET POTATOES: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Add to your largest sheet pan (15x21 inches) and add the olive oil, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and garlic powder on top. Season to taste (I add 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Toss to coat all the sweet potatoes and then spread out to arrange in an even layer. You don't want any potatoes overlapping or you'll end up with steamed potatoes instead of roasted potatoes. Flip every 10-15 minutes cooking for a total of 27-35 minutes. Once the potatoes are crisp tender, remove from the oven and then pour the (drained and rinsed) black beans on the pan. Toss to combine with the sweet potatoes.
  • ASSEMBLE: Divide the quinoa evenly among 4-6 bowls. Top with the seasoned sweet potato and bean mixture. Add 1/4 of a thinly sliced avocado to each bowl along with some lime wedges if desired. Drizzle the sauce generously over bowls (you may not use it all; save any leftovers keep it to top extra veggies with as a snack throughout the week; sauce will keep for 5 days in the fridge). Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: We like the sauce best with hand-chopped herbs, but if you’re looking to save some time, here’s how to chimichurri in a food processor
  • Add all the ingredients except the parsley, cilantro, and olive oil to a food processor; use a mini prep processor if possible.
  • Pulse to chop — you want ingredients finely minced here.
  • Add herbs — again pulse to chop, but this time you want the herbs to be a little more coarse (they’ll soften as they sit).
  • Drizzle in oil — while the processor is running, drizzle in the oil to help thicken the sauce and chop the herbs a little more. Again, you don’t want this sauce to be smooth as it’s best with texture.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 4servings | Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 80.6g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 31g | Sodium: 320.1mg | Fiber: 9.2g | Sugar: 8.4g

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was amazing! My husband, who thinks every meal is better with meat, raved about it. The chimichurri made the entire dish pop!! Will definitely make it again.

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