Breakfast Buddha Bowl Recipe | Fruit and Yogurt

This post was originally published on 6/23/22 and updated on 3/26/23, after I visited Bangkok. 

New content relates to my visit to Wat Pho and experiencing Almsgiving in Thailand.

Balance isn't something you find

It's something you create.

Oh my goodness! I'm hooked on making beautiful, balanced/ Buddha bowls for breakfast. They are just pure Nirvana! 

For my Breakfast Buddha bowl recipe, I use a fruit smoothie and a yogurt chia pudding for the base. Then I jazz it up with a colorful topping of fresh fruits like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and slices of mango. A sprinkling of granola and nuts, along with a dollop of Greek yogurt, adds a touch more texture to this flavorful, splashy and vibrant breakfast bowl.


Fruit bowl with sliced mangoes, raspberries, blueberries, chia, purple smoothie, purple and yellow pansy flowers 

What is a Buddha Bowl? 

Not too long ago, I found myself asking the same question. What is a Buddha bowl, anyway?  In culinary circles, a Buddha bowl is typically a vegetarian, one-dish meal, served up in a single bowl or high-rimmed plate.
Made up of several small portions of different foods with varying colors and textures, these portions are not mixed up in the Buddha bowl, but instead are arranged separately and beautifully in the bowl to create an artful, harmonious and utterly pleasing arrangement. So, in other words, it's a little bit of this and a little bit of that, presented beautifully in a single dish.
Buddha bowls really are an art form of food; after all, it's commonly said that one eats with the eyes first. In which case, creative Buddha bowls are a real feast for the eyes (and of course, also the stomach). 
Buddha bowls, a food trend that started around 2015 have been gaining in popularity steadily ever since. They have evolved to feature both sweet and savory, hot and cold one-dish meals. And they are also know by a whole host of other names.

So, What's Another Name for a Buddha Bowl? 

Savory versions of Buddha Bowls are often called nourish bowls. But power bowls, grain bowls, macro bowls and hippie bowls are all aliases of the first and famous Buddha bowl. The basis of all of these are healthy, beautifully presented, balanced, one-dish food bowls.

But Why is it Called a Buddha Bowl?

Good question!
It's said that the Buddha bowl, representing a well-balance meal is centered around the concept of balance; a key concept in Buddhism, where happiness is not related to the things that nourish our desires. Instead, Buddhist philosophy believes in a balance of body and mind to remove suffering and attain the liberated state of Nirvana.

Wat Pho Reclining Buddha, Bangkok, Thailand
I visited the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok Thailand, to see the huge gold plated Buddha sculpture.
He looked very blissful.
I only wish I could attain such a wonderful state of Nirvana.

Wat Pho Reclining Buddha back, Bangkok, Thaliand, gold buddha
At 46m. in length, this reclining Buddha is the largest in Thailand.

Buddha bowls are also said to be a representation of the bowls that Buddhist monks use during the Round of Alms. In the Theravada School of Buddhism, monks do not choose their own food, but rely on the donations of people for their meals. During the Round of Alms, Buddhist monks walk through the streets receiving various foods in their bowl, donated by lay people. The monks return to the temple to share their food and contemplate their meal. See Theravada Buddhism and Food

Buddha Bowl and the Almsround

I never really appreciated the real significance of a Buddha Bowl until I visited Bangkok in Thailand and saw the Buddhist monks walking silently down the street in their orange robes, humbly holding a bowl between their hands. People came out of their homes and respectfully placed a small food offering from their table into the monks' bowls. The monks rely on the lay people's generosity for their meals.

Monks in front of Thai temple, almsround
Buddhist monks returning to the temple after almsround.

"Almsround is of spiritual benefit to both the monastics and the laity. For sincere monks, it is a humbling and often moving reminder of the generosity that allows them to lead their monastic life. It inspires them to express their appreciation of the faith placed in them by being diligent in performance of their duties. 

Almsround gives lay Buddhists the opportunity to begin their day with an act of generosity. They feel the joy of giving and the contentment of having contributed to the well being of the monks they look up to. 

Many people teach their children to put food in the monks' bowl from an early age, introducing the children to monastics in an activity that they find special, and which creates a sense of familiarity and connection."- From Without and Within- Questions and Answers on the Teachings of Theraveda Buddhism

Almsgiving, Wat Pho, metal alms bowls, child putting coins in alms bowl, 108 Alms bowls,
This is another type of almsgiving. Not of food but of money. 
At Wat Pho temple, there is a series of 108 metal bowls. People go through the ritual of dropping coins in them as part of almsgiving.

The way to extinguish desire is to become a giver.

Give regularly. 

Without and Within, Buddhism quote, desire, giving

Buddha Bowls for Breakfast

Back to my topic on Breakfast Buddha Bowls, I think this is one recipe that would be perfect for me to give to my 'overnight guests.' Such an easy breakfast idea to make when I have guests over. A big batch of the chia pudding can be made the night before. In the morning, all that needs to be done is blend up the smoothie and then assemble the bowls artfully with fresh fruit to create gorgeous, healthy, fruity Buddha bowl breakfasts.

Mango slices, raspberries and oats on a purple smoothie in a bowl, with white yogurt and purple flower

What are the Components of a Buddha Bowl?

Balanced Buddha bowls have 5 key components:
  1. Grain/ Starch
  2. Protein
  3. Healthy Fat
  4. Brightly Colored Fruit/ Vegetables
  5. Sprinkles
In my Breakfast Bowl recipe:
  1. Grain/ starch = chia
  2. Protein = Milk
  3. Healthy Fat= Greek yogurt, sliced almonds
  4. Brightly Colored Fruit/ Vegetables = Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango
  5. Sprinkles= Rolled oats, granola, sliced almonds, raw honey

Buddha breakfast fruit bowl with sliced mangoes, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, chia pudding, purple smoothie, purple and yellow flowers
Balance isn't something you find.
It's something you create.

How to Make a Gorgeous, Colorful Instagram worthy Buddha Bowl

  1. Choose foods with contrasting colors. Some interesting combinations are:
    1. Orange/yellow and Purple (Mango/ orange/ mandarines with blueberry)
    2. Red and Green (Raspberries/ strawberries and mint leaves)
    3. Black and White  (Chia seeds/ blackberries and yogurt/ coconut flakes)
    4. Consider using edible flowers like pansies for color.
    5. Neutrals: Oat flakes, granola, nuts and seeds
  2. Choose foods with contrasting textures
    1. Smooth and creamy- Greek yogurt, smoothie
    2. Slight bite- Chia pudding
    3. Soft and sweet- fresh fruit
    4. Crunchy- granola, nuts, seeds
    5. Chewy- Dates, sweetened coconut flakes
    6. Tacky- Honey


Breakfast Buddha Bowl Recipe with Fresh Fruit and Yogurt


Servings: 3



For the Chia Pudding:

1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Smoothie:
1 ripe banana
1 cup fresh or frozen blue berries
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
For the toppings:
Colorful fresh fruit like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mango
Slice almonds
Granola or rolled oats

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Make Chia Pudding in Advance
In a bowl, combine the chia seeds, milk, greek yogurt, honey and vanilla extract. Cover and store overnight in refrigerator. 

Step 2: Prepare Smoothie

In a blender, combine the Greek yogurt, banana and blueberries. Blend until smooth.

To prevent the blueberry smoothie from losing its vibrant color, prepare the smoothie just before serving. 

Step 3: Arrange in Bowls

Spoon the chia pudding into one half of a bowl. Pour in the blueberry smoothie into the other half of the bowl.

Step 4: Add the Fruit & Sprinkles

  • Top with freshly sliced mangoes, fresh raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
  • Sprinkle with granola or rolled oats and sliced almonds.
  • Drizzle with raw honey.
  • Decorate with edible flowers like pansies.
 Serve immediately.

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