Have you noticed that you crave different foods at different times of year? In this day and age we have year-round access to all kinds of produce, but eating the same foods all year doesn’t necessarily support optimal energy and health. When we pay attention to what is in season and eat accordingly, we can work with our bodies to balance the challenges and impacts of each season. In this post, you’ll learn how to build a spring buddha bowl that takes advantage of in season produce and supports your body in transitioning between winter and the warmer months.
As the weather begins to shift from winter to spring, you might notice some shifts in your body too. In the spring, we naturally feel drawn to lighter meals rather than the dense, heavier soups and stews that felt nourishing in the colder months. But there’s also some internal spring cleaning going on.
Spring Foods & Flavors
Spring is a time of increased moisture and mucus in our bodies, which we can balance by choosing dry, lighter, astringent foods. The Ayurvedic tradition describes six tastes, or flavors, which each impact the body differently and when well-balanced, create a highly satisfying meal. We can eat more or less of these flavors at different times of year to correct the imbalances caused by the changing of the seasons.
Astringent foods are cooling, and grounding, and make the mouth feel a bit rough, or dry. When I think of astringency, I think of the way your mouth feels when you eat an unripe banana, or the way lentils and peeled potatoes sticking together. These foods counter the excess moisture and mucus of spring allergies, are high in minerals, and have anti-inflammatory properties. Examples of astringent foods are beans and legumes, tempeh, asparagus, artichokes, unripe bananas, potatoes, sprouts, leafy greens, green beans, and turnips.
Pungent taste is what makes spicy foods hot. These foods feel sharp and create a burning sensation in the mouth, which some people enjoy more than others. Pungent foods help cleanse the body of irritants by improving circulation, stimulating the liver and the immune system, and flushing toxins that have been stored during the colder months. These foods also help shake off the sleepiness of winter, and contribute to mental focus and energy. Examples of pungent taste include ginger, mustard, fennel, black pepper, garlic, curry, fresh herbs, horseradish, and radishes.
Bitter foods have a drying effect on the body and boost metabolism. This is perfect for the springtime, when we are waking up from the lethargy of the cold months, shedding some stored winter fat, and moving more. Bitter foods also help reset the taste buds and help alleviate food cravings. Examples of bitter taste are black coffee, dark chocolate, broccoli, brussels sprouts, eggplant, rhubarb, and most salad greens.
What’s In Season in the Spring
Spring produce includes lots and lots of green! Think buds on the trees, sprouts in the ground, and life returning after a period of hibernation. At farmers markets, you’ll find lots of herbs, greens, tops, roots, and sprouting vegetables to add to your spring buddha bowls, including:
- Baby Broccoli
- Dandelion Greens
- Fava beans
- Garlic Scapes
- Mustard Greens
- New Potatoes
- Pea shoots
- Spring Onions
- Swiss Chard
Growing Your Own Sprouts & Microgreens
If you’re not making your own sprouts yet, it is so fun, cheap, and easy! Growing your own sprouts requires no special equipment, and requires about 10 seconds of active time each day. It can be done indoors and takes up very little space, which is wonderful for people in apartments, small kitchens, or without gardens. To me, sprouts represent the stirring and awakening of spring, mirroring the buds on the trees emerging from their winter sleep. They are a perfect addition to your spring buddha bowl.
You can check out all my sprouting resources here.
What is a Buddha Bowl?
I consider it one of the missions of this blog to teach people about buddha bowls. I am obsessed with them. A buddha bowl cannot be captured by one recipe, it is a concept. The idea is not to seek out fancy new ingredients or to try to recreate exactly what you see in someone else’s buddha bowl. Buddha bowls are about creativity and resourcefulness. They are perfect for using up odds and ends, and rescuing neglected produce in the back of the fridge.
Formula for Spring Buddha Bowls
This time of year, I like to construct my spring buddha bowls with the Ayurvedic perspective in mind, with a preference for astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes. I focus less on heavier, dense foods like grains, nuts, and oils, and choose lighter foods with drying, cleansing qualities that support balance in the body during spring. I do tend to include brown rice or quinoa, because I just love my grains all year round. The general formula I use is:
Legumes + Roasted Veggies + Greens + Grains + Sprouts + Creamy Herb Sauce
Legumes: chickpeas, white beans, black beans, kidney beans, cranberry beans, lentils, tempeh
Roasted Veggies: asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets
Greens: kale, chard, spinach, lettuce, watercress
Grains: brown rice, quinoa, barley, farro, wheat berries
Creamy Herb Sauce: I tend to depart from my usual tahini sauce in the springtime to take advantage of delicious, cleansing spring herbs. It’s the same concept, just
Spring Buddha Bowl w/ Herbed Tahini
- asparagus, roast for 9-12 minutes at 425°
- broccoli, roast for 12-15 minutes at 400°
- cauliflower, roast for 20-25 minutes at 400°
- brussels sprouts, roast for 20-25 minutes at 400°
- potatoes or sweet potatoes, roast for 25-30 minutes at 400°
- beets, roast for 30-40 minutes at 400°
A Scoop of Cooked Grain
- brown rice
- wheat berries
A Scoop of Cooked Legumes
- white beans
- black beans
- cranberry beans
- fava beans
Handful of Greens
Sprinkle of Sprouts
- lentil sprouts
- mung bean sprouts
- pea shoots
- sunflower shoots
- clover sprouts
- alfalfa sprouts
- radish sprouts
Herbed Tahini Sauce (Makes 2-3 Servings)
- 1/4 cup tahini, I prefer light tahini
- 1/4 cup plant based milk of choice, such as soy or almond milk, or water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh squeezed
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 cup fresh herbs, e.g. cilantro, parsley, basil, or a mix
- 1/4 tsp ground fenugreek, optional, if you have it
How to Make the Herbed Tahini
- Make the herb sauce in a small blender cup or using an immersion blender in a wide mouthed jar.
- If using a regular blender, I'd recommend doubling the recipe so that it's easier to blend. Add water or milk if it is too thick, or tahini if it's too thin.
How to Roast Veggies
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss the veggies in a splash of olive oil, salt, and pepper directly on the baking sheet.
- Spread them out in a single layer on the baking sheet and place in the hot oven. (See roasting temperatures and times above).
How to Cook Greens
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add greens (tear into smallish pieces).
- Add a splash of water. Cover with a lid, and steam for about 1-2 minutes, until brightly colored and wilted.
- Add a touch of sea salt, and a light drizzle of oil.
How to Cook Tempeh
- I prefer my tempeh plain in buddha bowls, but feel free to marinate your tempeh in a simple marinade or use pre-marinated tempeh.
- If you don't like the bitterness of tempeh (I personally like it) you can steam your cubed tempeh first for 5-7 minutes in a steamer basket.
- After steaming, brown the tempeh gently for a few minutes in a little bit of oil, salt, and pepper on a skillet over medium low heat.
Assembling Your Bowls
- Lovingly arrange your bowl into pretty sections, and admire it gratefully before drizzling yummy herb sauce all over it.
- If you like, garnish your bowl with a flurry of fresh herbs and a sprinkling of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
If you make a delicious spring buddha bowl, leave a star rating or comment below! Your feedback is so helpful to me and other readers. You can also tag me in your meal pics on Instagram @katiesconsciouskitchen, or join my free private facebook group to share your creations and inspire others! I love to see what you all are making.