I always feel so much better when I eat a quinoa-based salad bowl for lunch. It’s not too heavy, it’s full of protein and fibre, and it easily absorbs whatever flavours you like. This gluten-free buddha bowl with quinoa, tahini-flavoured seeds and balsamic veg is perfect.
This bowl is also rich in calcium, with no dairy products to be seen! Kale and tahini are calcium-dense plant-based foods that are great for coeliacs who are avoiding dairy too.
If you don’t know, tahini is a smooth, nut-buttery-esque paste made from sesame seeds. It’s rich and nutty and is what gives houmous it’s earthy flavour. It packs a decent protein punch, and is a fantastic healthy fat to help keep you fuller for longer.
I grew up never eating nuts or seeds, but now I’ve been relying on plant-based protein, I eat them all the time. Simple steps like coating them in spice mixes and baking them really add some extra flavour to dishes. They add great texture to complement the other soft components of the buddha bowl.
And for me, my lunch is not complete without beans or lentils now. A quarter or half a tin is absolutely essential to keep me sated throughout the afternoon at work.
I got the idea to coat the seeds in the tahini-tomato paste mixture after making From My Bowl‘s pizza nuts. She coats cashews and almonds in tomato puree, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and herbs and they taste just like the pizza flavoured pringles (which are also off limits to coeliacs, so hey, another recipe for you!)
If you make this in a batch for lunches for the week, don’t assemble the full bowl with the nut/seed mixture mixed through or they will go soft. You want to keep the crunch by keeping the nuts in a sealed container in the cupboard, not the fridge. They’ll keep for a week.
I regularly see people venting on the coeliac Facebook groups about their lack of lunchtime options. I want to help people think outside the box, beyond ham and cheese sandwiches or tuna pasta salads. There is a wealth of ingredients out there that are all coeliac-friendly and boast far superior nutritional stats to bog-standard supermarket free-from sandwiches.
Try it out! I opted for these flavours, but the great thing about buddha bowls is that they can be customised to your own tastes. Maybe omit the tahini and use peanut butter. Or instead of balsamic, add a dash of tamari. The options are endless! Oh, and before you get stuck in, you’ll need my how to cook quinoa tutorial!
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- ⅓ cup / 55g cashews
- ⅓ cup / 55g mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- ½ tsp dried basil
- 2-3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups / 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups / 100g kale, washed and chopped
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1x tin drained butter beans
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
- Prepare your quinoa with vegetable stock according to my how to cook quinoa tutorial.
- Mix the sauce for your seeds (ingredients from tahini to water). It should be thick enough to coat the nut/seed mixture but thin enough that it’s not clumpy. Mix the seeds and nuts with the sauce and spread it out evenly on a baking sheet.
- Pop the tray of seeds in the oven – cook for 5 minutes, then remove and mix around, then in for another 3 minutes, remove again and mix up, then for a final 3 minutes.
- Heat a pan on medium and fry the garlic in the oil. Toss in the tomatoes and kale, mix around for a couple of minutes, and then splash in the balsamic vinegar.
- When the tomatoes are blistered and the kale has softened, add the beans and heat through. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
- Assemble your bowls! I drizzled extra tahini on top of mine, but you could add houmous, hot sauce – anything you fancy!