Butternut Squash Buddha Bowls feature peppery arugula, hearty quinoa, creamy black beans, and crisp apples in a tangy tahini lime dressing. Prep the components in advance for quick and easy meals.
Whether you call it a grain bowl, power bowl, or nourish bowl, preparing a complete meal in a bowl is a delicious and easy way to eat. Simply choose at least one grain, vegetable, protein, dressing, and topping, and you have yourself a winning formula.
This roasted butternut squash buddha bowl takes inspiration from my favorite seasonal Butternut Squash Salad with Lentils. I added quinoa and apples and swapped out the lentils and Dijon mustard dressing for black beans and citrusy tahini sauce.
The resulting combination full of delicious flavors and textures is sure to become a go-to meals during fall and winter when butternut squash is at its peak.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's a flavorful combination of seasonal tastes and textures.
- The components can be prepped in advance.
- It's a complete meal that can be customized to suit individual tastes.
Butternut squash: You will need a small to medium sized fruit weighing approximately 2 pounds. Or you can purchase pre-cut and peeled squash.
Quinoa: Use any color or tri-color which is a mix of white, red, and black.
Tahini: If you're like me and sometimes find tahini too bitter, look for one made from hulled sesame seeds rather than unhulled.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to peel and cut butternut squash
- Slice the squash horizontally into circles. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Instead of using a vegetable peeler, run a knife around the outside of each circle to remove the skin.
- Cut each circle into approximately 1-inch cubes.
Amy's tip: Microwave the whole squash for 2 minutes to make peeling and cutting easier. Wait until it's cool enough to handle before starting.
- Add arugula to the bottom of each large bowl.
- Top with roasted butternut squash, quinoa, black beans, and apples.
- Drizzle the tahini lime dressing over each bowl.
- Top with pumpkin seeds and serve.
Prefer to skip the oven? Follow the cooking instructions for Air Fryer Butternut Squash, then proceed with assembling the bowls.
Use a hand immersion blender to prepare the dressing. It works better for emulsifying small quantities than a blender or food processor and makes clean up easy.
Butternut squash buddha bowls are easy to customize and make your own based on your preferences and the ingredients you have on hand.
- Substitute baby spinach or kale in place of the arugula.
- Try lentils or chickpeas instead of black beans.
- Use brown rice or a wild rice blend in place of quinoa.
- Add sliced avocado or a dollop of hummus on top.
- Substitute roasted sweet potatoes in place of the winter squash.
- Add other cooked vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.
- Use lemon juice or orange juice in place of lime juice in the dressing.
- Replace the tahini dressing with Vegan Green Goddess Dressing or Cashew Ranch.
- Offer chili sauce or hot sauce at the table.
- Start with an appetizer such as Cauliflower Ceviche or raw veggies and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip.
- Serve the bowls with warm crusty bread on the side like my favorite vegan gluten-free Bread SRSLY sourdough. Use code veggiessavetheday for $5 off your first order.
- If you're craving dessert, dairy-free vanilla ice cream topped with Caramelized Figs with Balsamic Vinegar is a great choice.
Leftover components are best stored in separate containers. Each will last covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Once the butternut squash buddha bowls are already composed and topped with the dressing, the arugula will start to get soggy if not eaten right away.
According to Bon Appétit, Martha Stewart used the term "Buddha Bowl" in her 2013 cookbook Meatless, and it's been popular ever since. Other names for this style of meal are hippie bowls, macro bowls, or grain bowls.
Since we want cubes for this recipe, it's best to peel the squash first.
While all cooked winter squash skin is technically edible, most people (myself included) don't like the texture or taste of roasted butternut squash skin.
Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Gala, and Fuji are all crispy.
More butternut squash recipes
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Butternut Squash Buddha Bowls
- 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut in approximately 1-inch cubes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
- ½ cup quinoa, (any color)
- 2 cups arugula, (or substitute baby spinach or kale)
- 1 can black beans, (15 ounces or 1½ cups cooked) rinsed and drained
- 1 apple, such as Honeycrisp, diced
- ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds, (pepitas)
Tahini Lime Dressing
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¼ cup lime juice, (2 limes)
- ¼ cup water, (use less for a thicker dressing)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
- salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the butternut squash and drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with you hands to evenly coat. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes until the squash is tender and lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa according to the package directions. (See notes for Instant Pot directions.)
- To make the Tahini Lime Dressing, blend all the dressing ingredients until very smooth using an immersion blender (recommended) or regular blender or whisk.
- To make the Buddha Bowls, divide the arugula among four bowls. Add a quarter of the quinoa, black beans, butternut squash, and apple to each. Drizzle each bowl with Tahini Lime Dressing and top with a quarter of the pumpkin seeds. (The quinoa, black beans, and butternut squash can be served either warm or cold.)
- 3 cups of peeled and cubed squash is approximately the yield of a small to medium sized 2 pound fruit.
- Prefer to skip the oven? Follow the cooking instructions for Air Fryer Butternut Squash, then proceed with assembling the bowls.
- To prepare the quinoa in your Instant Pot, add ½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons water to the rinsed quinoa. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes and use natural release.
- Nutrition Facts include the entire quantity of salad dressing for the recipe; however, you may not need to use that much.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.
This post was updated to provide better reader information. The recipe was not changed.
Thank you for this recipe! This was my first time to make a Buddha bowl, but I think I'm hooked. I had some roasted butternut squash on hand. I subbed brown rice for the quinoa simply because I had some made. This was absolutely delicious!
That's fantastic, Leslie! Brown rice is a great swap for quinoa.
We had this last night. Made as is. Easy and delish! Perfect weeknight dinner, boyfriend loved it. I shared w my sister-in-law!
Fantastic! Thanks Cheryl!