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Fridge Clear Out Buddha Bowl

Fridge Clear-Out Buddha Bowl

I recently read that the term "Buddha Bowl" was coined by Martha Stewart, a replacement term for what used to be called hippie bowls or macrobiotic dinners. Apparently the name came to her after she watched some Buddhist monks wandering around with their begging bowls. I doubt that any of them have ever had a begging bowl filled up quite like this one, even if it does consist of the rather plebeian assortment of vegetables that I have left in the fridge at the end of the week.

The following is more of a blueprint than an actual recipe for my fridge clear-out Buddha bowl, for the very simple reason that you should use what you have on hand, keeping in mind that different textures and colors are key to this dish tasting slightly hedonistic rather than simply healthy. That, and using more olive oil in your roasted vegetables than you usually do.

Start with a grain. I used a mixture of wild rice and brown rice, but any hearty grain would work here. You can amp the flavor up by cooking with stock rather than water, adding some chopped herbs or your favorite spices to the mix, or stirring in a knob of butter at the end. I went with the most basic cooking method -- i.e. water -- but added a bit more salt to the rice than I usually do.

You will want a variety of roasted vegetables. I wanted a mix of sweet and savory, tender and textured, and some punchiness in the mix, which I managed by roasting some red onion and some leek greens. Roasted broccoli is always delicious, the Portobello mushroom slices from the one cap remaining were definitely a huge plus, the bell pepper added the sweetness that I was looking for, and the roasted chickpeas added a textural element that worked well with that of the wild rice, but also made the dish more filling. That being said, this is a fridge clear-out meal (plus the tin of chickpeas from the pantry) so roast whatever bits and bobs of veggies that you have hanging around and give them a proper send off.

You could top this with a fried egg if you wanted, maybe one fried in chili oil, or add a few sardines in oil to the mix, or stir in some chopped pickled ginger. Let your condiment collection be an inspiration to you...

And, if you have leftover roasted vegetables, you can throw them in a salad, also a nice fridge clear-out exercise! I used a base of spinach for the one below, threw in the remaining roasted vegetables, and added some irregular cubes of red Kuri squash, and some batons of Honeycrisp apple for crunch and freshness. A mustardy pumpkin seed oil and red wine vinegar vinaigrette was definitely an inspired choice.

Fridge Clear Out Buddha Bowl

All that prose to say that leftovers needn't be an afterthought or a thrifty punishment. They can be absolutely wonderful if you lavish them with a little TLC.


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