You may have heard of Buddha bowls, but do you know what they are? A Buddha bowl is a colorful, nourishing meal incorporating little bites of many foods. Typically included are rice or whole grains, raw and/or cooked vegetables, protein (beans, tofu or meat), and dressing. A myriad of colors, textures and food groups in the bowl represents a variety of nutrients. Keep reading for tips on how to incorporate each food group.

Grains: Dietary guidelines recommend that half our grains be from whole grains. Buddha bowls are a great opportunity to incorporate a whole grain. Examples include brown or wild rice, millet, farro or quinoa. Whole grains are a natural source of several vitamins and minerals while also providing filling fiber.

Vegetables: Any and all vegetables are welcome in a Buddha bowl. Raw, cooked or a combination of both all work. The key with vegetables is color. Different colors of produce provide different vitamins and minerals. The more colors in your bowl, the more balanced nutrition offered.

Protein: A Buddha bowl is not complete without a good source of protein. To stick with a plant-based theme, choose beans, edamame (soybeans) or tofu — all heart-healthy choices that provide both fiber and protein. Choosing fish is another great option to get heart-healthy protein. If you prefer meat, stick with a lean source, such as boneless, skinless chicken, turkey, or lean cuts of beef or pork.

Dressing: You can use a premade dressing, but making your own is often more nutritious and does not take much time. Whether store-bought or homemade, choosing an oil-based dressing will help give a boost of heart-healthy fats. Even a simple drizzle of oil, vinegar and/or citrus juice can do the trick.

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Aside from following the above basic outline, there is no right or wrong way to assemble your Buddha bowl. Are you ready to make a Buddha bowl, but still not sure where to start? Try this delicious (and seasonal) Autumn Vegetable Buddha Bowl recipe.

Autumn Vegetable Buddha Bowls

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3”-long sticks

1 medium fennel bulb, cut into ¾”-wide wedges

4 ounces Brussels sprouts

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 small red beets, peeled and cut into ¾”-wide wedges

5 or 6 sprigs fresh thyme

½ cup white quinoa

1/3 cup lightly packed coarsely chopped baby kale, plus additional leaves for garnish

1/3 cup bottled honey mustard salad dressing, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place carrots, fennel and Brussels sprouts in a large bowl. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic; drizzle over vegetables. Place vegetables in a 15-by-10-by-1-inch sheet pan in a single layer.

Toss beets with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add to sheet pan. Scatter thyme sprigs on top. Roast for 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Discard thyme sprigs.

Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions. Remove from heat; stir in kale. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Divide quinoa mixture between two individual shallow bowls. Arrange vegetables on top. Garnish with kale leaves, if desired. Drizzle with some of the honey mustard dressing; serve remaining dressing on the side.

Nutrition information (per serving): 570 calories, 31g fat, 4g saturated fat, 390mg sodium, 65g total carbohydrate, 9g fiber, 22g sugar, 12g protein.

Recipe source: Hy-Vee Seasons October 2020

Emily McMillan is a registered dietitian for Hy-Vee stores in Rochester. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.