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No dinner plan, no problem! GF Buddha Bowls

Updated: Jan 13, 2020

At 4pm, I realized I hadn't planned anything for tonight's dinner. Oops, the day had gotten away from me for sure! I surveyed the fridge and quickly scrambled together this fast and healthy GF dinner that can be customized with whatever's in your fridge.

Call this what you like....Buddha Bowl is just a fancy term for a colorful mix of:

1. Veggies - the more colorful, the better! Fresh or frozen will work. I used a colorful combo of both!

2. Grains - GF of course! I gravitate toward Rice (white or brown) or Quinoa. I will also share a grain-free option

3. Protein - Animal (e.g., Chicken, Beef, Pork, Shrimp) Vegan or Vegetarian (e.g., lentils, chickpeas, tofu)

To make this meal a success, choose ingredients that you and your family like from each category, and get cooking! I don't really use a recipe, but I will give you some simple steps to make it happen. If you need more detail on any particular step, ask me in the comments. If you need more overall guidance and/or inspiration, you can find an endless amount of Gluten Free Buddha Bowl recipes on Pinterest.

Tonight's Buddha Bowl Ingredients

Tonight's Buddah Bowl Ingredients:

Veggies: Carrots, Red Pepper, 1/2 Onion (finely chopped), Frozen Corn, Frozen Peas, Green Onion (for garnish)

Grain: White Jasmine Rice

Protein: Chicken

Seasoning: Garlic Powder, Salt, Coconut Aminos, Chicken Broth

Other: Grapeseed Oil

I like to make these bowls in 3 parts and with some forethought (not today!) I often spread the prep out over the course of the day to accommodate a busy schedule with small pockets of free time. This is how I make what looks and tastes like a complex meal, on short time.

  • The veggie component can be washed and cut a day or two ahead if needed

  • Marinate Chicken (or other protein) the night before or first thing in the AM. If short on time, an hour will suffice!

  • I make the Rice or Quinoa SUPER FAST in the Insta-pot. Perfect every time. It's like THE best thing ever created! If I'm trapped on a desert island, THIS is one of my 3 things ;)


Rice: If you are preparing conventionally on the stove, follow the instructions on the package. If you have an Insta-pot, follow these steps. I use a white Jasmine Rice that comes out perfectly fluffy:

2 Cups White Jasmine Rice

2 Cups Water or Broth (I use 1 Cup Water mixed with 1 Cup of Broth

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1 Tsp Salt

  1. Cover the Insta-pot and set it to 3 minutes manual. Make sure the release valve dial is turned to "sealing:

  2. Once it comes to full pressure (~10 min) then the 3 minutes cook time will start

  3. When the cook time is complete, the Insta-pot will beep and switch to "Keep Warm" setting. Let is set for 10 min, then turn the valve to "venting"

  4. Remove the lid and find your rice ready to fluff and serve!


In a glass container or bowl, sprinkle chicken breasts with garlic powder and salt on both sides. Add a generous amount of "Coconut Secret, Coconut Aminos" (around 1/3 cup). I use this in place of Tamari (GF soy sauce) because we have a Soy allergy in the family, but also it provides a sweeter taste than soy sauce. Feel free to use the GF sauce / flavoring of your choice. Cover the chicken and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.

Heat 1 tbsp of Grapeseed oil (or veg. oil of choice) in a large pan. Slice the marinated chicken into strips. Once hot, place the chicken strips in the pan and brown on each side, until cooked through (~3-5 min depending on the thickness). Set cooked chicken on a plate and cover.


Toss chopped fresh veggies in a bowl with 1 tbsp of Grapeseed oil, salt and a few splashes of the Coconut Aminos. Bring the pan back to medium heat. Saute chopped onion until soft & translucent (2-3 min), then add the remaining fresh veggies. Turn heat up to Medium High and saute 3-4 min. Add frozen veggies ( I used corn and peas) and saute a few more minutes until veggies are tender crisp but not too soft.

Buddha bowl with rice

That's it folks! Grab bowls, fill halfway with rice, then layer in the veggies and chicken. Top with sliced green onion and enjoy a hot, healthy and satisfying gluten free meal. Leftovers are great for lunch! I reheat in the microwave, load it into a thermos, and pack in the lunch bag.

BONUS: I like to keep it grain free when I can. Tonight I let the kids & husband enjoy the rice and I subbed it our for sauteed baby kale. I upped the protein with an over easy egg on top and some avocado slices for some healthy fats. Yum!

Grain free version with sauteed baby kale, egg and avocado

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