The beginning of every year never fails to bring with it a whole slew of predicted food trends for the new year. Restaurant and food trade associations pay consultants big bucks to compile these lists of insanity.
For example, did seaweed become the new kale in 2016? No, fortunately it did not. For many folks, kale is not yet the new kale.
Nor was 2016 the year that eating bugs became a thing. It wasn’t a thing when your friend in second grade told you he’d eaten chocolate-covered ants on spring break in Tijuana — even though his drunk uncle may have — and it did not become a thing in 2016.
How pickling could have been considered a hot trend for 2016 is a tad mysterious since here in the South, pickles have been a thing since our grannies learned to make pickles from their grannies and they have never disappeared from the table so that doesn’t sound very trendy.
And though a great many people did become excited in 2016 about paying eight bucks for a piece of toast with half an avocado schmeared on it, most of us did not.
Likewise, some of the predictions for 2017 are equally loopy. It is doubtful that we will all be eating more octopus this year, cooking our steaks sous vide, replacing olive oil with alternatives like grapeseed and flaxseed oil or that sour beer will win over IPA lovers. These are all top 10 trends from Pinterest as reported by Buzzfeed. Pinterest should be a good way of gauging interest by actual people but those don’t sound all that likely.
Some of the other Pinterest-predicted trends do sound interesting. A “healthy renaissance” for snacking would certainly be welcome. Replacing hot pockets with empanadas as our filling after-school/work bite of choice sounds terrific and there are no issues with making pizza using naan bread. All pizza is good pizza. If sauerkraut replaces kimchi as the fermented, gut-healing food of choice, then 2017 will be off to a good start.
But Pinterest nailed it with their number one food trend for 2017. It is the Buddha bowl. Urban Dictionary defines a Buddha bowl as “a bowl which is packed so full that it has a rounded “belly” appearance on the top much like the belly of a Buddha.” Urban dictionary may be speaking about a different type of bowl entirely but the term does now certainly include a bowl packed with food, and the definition remains the same.
Also called “hippy bowls” or “glory bowls,” Buddha bowls started out as one dish meals for vegetarians and vegans. Some folks like to use a handmade bowl. Others don’t care where the bowl comes from as long as it’s big. The bowl of food should be consumed with gratitude and mindfulness, as all food should.
The trend has spread to omnivores, though the bowls are usually still heavily plant-based. Buddha was not available for comment on this development. Many doctor-recommended diets are also heavily plant-based, especially for diabetes, blood pressure issues and weight loss, but Buddha bowls actually look like something one would want to eat.
The process for preparing your first Buddha bowl is very simple. Some recipes follow but they are more guidelines than blueprints. Build the bowl any way you like, giving heavy emphasis to the food you already own. This is an excellent opportunity to use up leftovers and produce that’s nearing the end of its useful life.
Line a good-sized bowl with a bed of greens. Choose what you like; spring mix, baby spinach, kale, field greens, whatever. Add a protein on one side, beans and legumes are most popular, tofu is often used. Don’t forget falafel and hummus as options. You could go with chicken, eggs or seafood if you don’t mind animal products in your Buddha bowl.
Add some grain on the other side. Brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, couscous and pasta are all popular choices. Pasta also brings the opportunity to indulge in another 2017 trend, pasta with alternative ingredients. Trader Joe’s sells a line of pasta made with brown rice and quinoa.
Now put in some carbs. Raw or cooked vegetables, some fruit, get a range of colors if you can. This is a good time to check the crisper for produce about to lose its freshness.
Now a little healthy fat and trimmings to jazz things up. Avocado, almonds, other nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds. Be careful with black sesame seeds. They look a lot like mouse poop which is certainly not appetizing. Don’t go there.
Put on a nice, hearty dressing to complete your bowl and blend all the flavors. Peanut sauce and tahini sauce are popular choices. Another 2017 trend, exotic and unusual condiments, could come into play here. And if you want to use bottled dressing, no one is going to judge you.
Ta-da. A dinner that’s as beautiful as it is delicious. Enjoy it with mindful gratitude.
15 minute Buddha bowl
2 big handfuls of greens (your choice)
1 cup cooked bulgur (can substitute quinoa, couscous, or brown rice)
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup blueberries
4 Mandarin oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
2 small avocados, sliced
½ small red onion, sliced (about ½ cup)
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)
¼ cup plain yogurt (or dairy-free alternative)
¼ cup orange juice
2 tbsp. honey (can substitute maple syrup or agave)
½ tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of salt and pepper
Whisk all dressing ingredients together and set aside. Divide greens into 4 servings bowls, then top each with equal portions of cooked bulgur, chickpeas, blueberries, orange slices, avocado, onion, and carrot. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.
Healthy and hearty Buddha bowl
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2” cubes
1 large red onion, diced
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 cups baby spinach
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 c. lime juice
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 avocado, thinly sliced
4 cups cooked brown rice
Preheat oven to 425°F. Spread sweet potatoes and red onions onto a large baking sheet. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, make chicken. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Season chicken all over with salt, pepper, garlic powder and ground ginger. Add chicken to skillet and cook for 6-8 minutes pre side, or until cooked through. Let rest for 10 minutes, then cut each breast into 1” pieces. Make dressing. Whisk together garlic, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey and lime juice until evenly combined. Whisk in sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil until smooth. Divide rice between bowls. Top with sweet potatoes, chicken, avocado and baby spinach. Sprinkle with cilantro and sesame seeds and drizzle dressing on top.
Winter Buddha Bowl
Makes 2 Large Bowls
falafel (purchased frozen or make your own)
6 small carrots, sliced into rounds
Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
Pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup pearl couscous
½ small red beet, peeled and shredded
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Juice from ½ of a lemon
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
Kale or hardy winter greens
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash and slice the carrots into rounds. In a bowl, toss with olive oil, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. On a baking sheet, bake carrots for 20 minutes, or until softened. When done, let cool and set aside. While carrots are cooking, bring a pot of water to boil. Once water is boiling, add in couscous and cook like you would pasta, for as long as the package indicates. When done, drain water from couscous and put it back in the pot. Add in shredded beets, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside. Take out two large bowls. Portion out half the couscous and carrots into one bowl, the remaining halves in the other. Add in as much falafel and greens as you like. Top everything with the herby tahini sauce, and garnish with pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds if desired.
If using kale, be sure to “massage” the leaves with a little lemon juice and olive oil before serving – it tenderizes the greens and makes them much easier to digest.
Herby Tahini Sauce
⅓ cup tahini
1 clove garlic
⅓ cup parsley
⅓ cup water
Juice from ½ lemon
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
In a blender, combine all sauce ingredients. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
Vegan Buddha Bowl with Sorghum & Curry Chickpeas & Avocado Vinaigrette
Makes 2 bowls
1 cup sorghum, soaked overnight
1½ cups (or 1 can) cooked chickpeas
2 tsp. curry powder
Generous glug of extra-virgin olive oil
Start by cooking the sorghum. Bring 2½ cups water to boil, then add sorghum. Simmer until all the water has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. If you didn’t soak your sorghum overnight, bring 3 cups water to boil then add sorghum, and simmer until water is absorbed (this may take over an hour). Preheat the oven to 425°. In a bowl, combine chickpeas, olive oil, and curry powder. Mix until chickpeas are evenly coated. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cook chickpeas for about 20 minutes. When done, set aside to let cool. In two bowls, portion out sorghum and chickpeas. Add a generous dollop of the avocado vinaigrette. Serve with greens if desired.
½ jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed
1½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Big handful fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup water
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
In a blender, combine all vinaigrette ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust salt / pepper as needed.
What you think, you become.
What you feel, you attract.
What you imagine, you create.
The Vegan Buddha Bowl
Makes 2 bowls
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1½ cups cooked chickpeas
Drizzle olive oil (or other neutral oil)
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
⅛ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. oregano
Sesame seeds for garnish
Start by cooking the quinoa. Bring 2 cups water to a boil, then add quinoa. Simmer for about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed. When done, remove from heat and keep covered for about 10 minutes so quinoa can absorb any excess water. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a bowl, toss chickpeas, oil, and spices until chickpeas are evenly coated. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, bake chickpeas for 15 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let cool. Finally, assemble the buddha bowls. In two bowls, add quinoa, mixed greens, avocado, and chickpeas. Drizzle everything with red pepper sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Red Pepper Sauce
1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed
2 tbsp. olive oil (or other neutral oil)
Juice from 1 lemon
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. paprika
¼ cup fresh cilantro
To make red pepper dressing, add all dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
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Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699 or on Twitter @BillColvard.