Why are we making a salad to create, store in a jar, and then serve in a bowl?
First of all, layering in a jar is not only beautiful to look at but it’s also convenient for a Grab-n-Go on your way out the door. For functionality, you can prep assemble several jars on a weekend, for instance, then have a healthy meal for 3-4 days without any more prep or cooking.
In layering our jar, its best to keep the sturdier ingredients, like chickpeas, beet, and quinoa, at the bottom of the jar in the dressing—this protects the more delicate ingredients like zucchini noodles, which wouldn’t last nearly as long if they were soaking in the dressing at the bottom.
When I’m going to be away from home or office for the entire day and don’t know what kind of food I can find that’s healthy, or if I can find any at all, I like to take a Buddha bowl. Having a healthy salad with me is freedom from either having blood sugar drop or from not eating because there’s nothing healthy that won’t induce inflammation. Instead, I opt for preparing a Buddha bowl ahead of time.
I’ve traveled for years with a mini salt and pepper shaker set (made for camping) and one three-piece place setting of stainless flatware, you may want to as well, it’s not only good for the environment but also provides that at-home convenience and doesn’t feel like you’re camping – even if you’re on the side of the road, out shopping, in a commercial transport, or in an airport. I don’t believe in saving the “good” dishes and flatware for company and special occasions (like my grandmother's generation did), not even fancy paper/ biodegradable products, after all, we each deserve to make our environment pleasing and we are all “special”.
Below are my layering rules:
- Dressing – ALWAYS goes on the bottom
- Sturdy ingredients—like chickpeas, pre-cooked chicken, tuna, thinly sliced onion, cabbage, carrots, and quinoa go on top of the dressing. I found that spiralizing your veggies is beautiful and appetizing, they taste better because their thinness helps absorb all the other flavors more intensely. Any food that can sit in the dressing for several days without getting mushy is going to be great in this layering position
- Delicate ingredients—leafy greens, cucumbers, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, etc. go higher up.
Choose ingredients you want to keep out of the dressing to go higher up.
For this Thai chickpea Buddha bowl salad recipe, I put the roasted walnuts at the top; they’ll lose their crunch a bit, but they at least won’t be completely soggy like they would if they sat in the dressing for several days.
What size jar/container do you use for this Buddha bowl salad? I often use 1-pint mason jars or glass container with BPA-safe plastic lid, and really pack ingredients tight.
To serve, I empty layered ingredients out into a large paper plate, large enough so you can easily toss to evenly coat all ingredients with the dressing. If you want to eat out of the jar, I suggest a 1-quart mason jar or container, and you can give it a good shake up before serving.
The dressing pours from the bottom of the jar over all the ingredients and dresses the salad for you...it’s like having an invisible butler! As mentioned above, you can also eat right out of the jar but will need a larger 1-quart mason jar or container to do so. How long do these Buddha bowl ingredients for salads last? These are good for up to 4 days in the fridge!
Can you swap the dressing? Absolutely! Aim for about 2–4 tablespoons per jar (I’ve actually been accused of liking a little salad with my dressing, guilty as charged!). I like my recipe for a deep-flavored Thai dressing with my Buddha bowls, but any dressing is great; chef’s choice.
Dr. Gloria’s Thai Salad Dressing
Instructions for the Dressing/Sauce:
- 1/2 cup Braggs Aminos
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 TB sweet rice wine/sake
- 3 TB. roasted sesame seeds
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar or
- Lakanto™ natural sweetener
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch or tapioca flour (for thickening)
- 1–2 TB water
Dr. Gloria’s Kitchen Notes:
- Roast sesame seeds in a dry heavy bottom skillet until light brown and fragrant; set aside to cool.
- Combine ingredients (except cornstarch or tapioca flour) in a saucepan on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- Dissolve 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch or tapioca flour with 1-2 tablespoons water.
- Heat sauce on medium high heat and slowly add cornstarch/tapioca water mixture and keep stirring to avoid lumps.
- Simmer until thickened, remove from stove and cool.
- Once cooled, place in glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use or to assemble your Buddha bowl.
- Adjust garlic and ginger to your taste; I like more of both than in this recipe.
- The Braggs Aminos is salty so don’t add any salt. This sauce is salty by nature but that’s what makes it marinade so well if you make it a day or more in advance of using. The sauce is good for up to 2 weeks if kept refrigerated.