In most families, it seems like there is always that one person who is the glue, the one who holds everyone together. They can take Grandpa Earl with his wacky politics, Cousin Fiona with her nose rings and mystical crystals and Aunt Emily with her multiple doctorates and have them sit around the table and talk like they have it all. in common.
I think the same is true of food. There have been so many times that I opened my fridge wondering what I could make for dinner, and all I found was a few grilled chicken breasts here, a handful of spinach there. -bas and maybe some roasted vegetables or leftover rice or half a cucumber.
On their own, none of these ingredients are enough to compose a complete meal – let alone a delicious – meal. But artfully put all the ingredients together in a bowl and add a little figurative “glue” – that is, a dressing – and you’ve got a dinner party that will have everyone at the table in no time.
It’s called a Buddha Bowl: a leftover-tapping wonder that can be as creative as your taste buds and fridge offerings allow. Typical ingredients include a cereal (like rice or quinoa), some kind of protein, leafy greens, and diced vegetables.
More or less can be added depending on what you have on hand, but there’s really no right or wrong way to do it. Just be sure to pour a delicious dressing on top of your Buddha Bowl before digging in, and your taste buds will be in heaven.
My family’s favorite way to enjoy Buddha Bowls is to fill individual shallow bowls with diced grilled honey chicken, a scoop of rice, a handful of spinach, a dollop of roasted sweet potatoes and onions and a pinch of chopped cucumber, avocado and cilantro. Then we drizzle with a creamy and tangy Thai-inspired peanut sauce.
Just take a bite and you will agree that these Buddha bowls taste even better than a harmonious family reunion. Just be sure to let Grandpa Earl take the first bite; he gets a little cranky if he has to wait his turn.
Favorite Grilled Honey Chicken
Adapted from allrecipes.com.
4 boneless chicken breast halves
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tablespoon of honey
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of dried oregano
¼ teaspoon of dried parsley
1 pinch of dried sage
Add all the ingredients (except the chicken) to a gallon-sized zip-up bag and knead with your hands until well combined. The mixture will be thick. Add the chicken to the bag and continue to knead the bag until the mixture is evenly distributed over the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat a grill to medium heat then lightly oil the grill. Discard the marinade and place the chicken on the grill. Cook until the exterior is caramelized and the chicken is cooked through.
Creamy Peanut Sauce
Adapted from melskitchencafe.com.
⅓ cup of fresh lime juice
¼ cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
2 teaspoons of honey
1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the dressing to a pourable container and refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
Julia Idem can be contacted at email@example.com.