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Carrie Havranek


Middle Eastern Buddha Bowl with Honey-Lime Tahini Dressing


Yeah, that sounds a little ethnographically confusing, doesn't it? For one, what's a Buddha bowl? Recipes for Buddha bowls are easy to find online, and in fact, you can do one without a real recipe—except for maybe the dressing. Basically, the modus operandi here is to combine healthy, nourishing foods in a bowl and unite them with a dressing that almost always contains tahini, as Buddha bowls are usually a vegan thing and tahini packs a protein-laced punch.

Some people take an anything goes approach, clearing out what they've got lying around and throwing it together, which makes the Buddha bowl a good candidate for end-of-the-week farmers' market remnants, grain or protein leftovers and seeds in the pantry. However, I don't believe the kitchen-sink approach always yields the best taste. Let's be honest here, people: Some veggies just don't necessarily belong together. Gasp! I've decided to treat this more like a composed dish, inspired by the flavors of the Middle East/Mediterranean.

Middle Eastern Buddha Bowl with Honey-Lime Tahini Dressing

Middle Eastern Buddha Bowl with Honey-Lime Tahini Dressing

If you like, swap out the beans for tofu, or switch out the greens for what you have on hand, or change the flavor profile altogether with different herbs and spices. I've made it with lemon juice and it's just as lovely. In fact, I plan on making this a bunch of different ways as the growing seasons progresses, but this is one of those endlessly variable dishes that pack well (just store the dressing in a separate container) and easily, happily feeds a crowd—even one with children in it. This one more than amply fed three adults and three kids, ranging from 5-6 in age.

Middle Eastern Buddha Bowl

Serves 4-6

Bowl Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1-2 T of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed, ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • 2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained if using canned
  • 2 cups cooked millet
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut into thirds vertically
  • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup of Italian leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 T. tahini
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions for the Bowl:

Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Toss together the cauliflower, olive oil and garam masala, and season with salt and pepper. Spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until the tops start to brown and the cauliflower starts to soften a little. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. (This can be done ahead of time; Buddha bowls take kindly to room temperature serving.)

Find a large, preferably wide-bottomed bowl, and fill it with the kale as the base. Starting clockwise from the top, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, parsley, pumpkin seeds, and millet in any order of your choice.

Toss with the dressing, which you've assembled per below.....

Instructions for the dressing:

Combine olive oil through garlic in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add salt and pepper, pulse, and taste. Adjust ingredients according to your liking.