Mediterranean Buddha Bowl Meal Prep
This recipe includes a fragrant bulgur pilaf with pistachios and raisins, smoky roasted eggplant, steamed kale, blistered red peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, chickpeas, and a zesty tahini dressing. It’s a buffet of nourishing Mediterranean goodness.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots minced (or 1/2 large onion)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
- 3/4 pound eggplant cut into 1-inch cubes (about half a large eggplant)
- 2 red bell peppers cut into 1-inch squares
- 2 zucchini cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bunch kale shredded
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 pound fresh tomatoes sliced (a small variety such as cherry, grape, or campari)
- 4 Tablespoons tahini
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- A pinch of salt
- A pinch of ground cayenne
- A pinch of garlic powder
Cook the pilaf
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallots and garlic. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the salt, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. Continue to stir for 1 minute as the spices are toasted. Add the bulgur, pistachios, and raisins. Continue stirring for another 1 minute to mix everything well. Add the vegetable broth and stir well. When the liquid reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and cover the saucepan. After 10-15 minutes, when the liquid has been absorbed, remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Roast the vegetables
Option 1 - Oven: Preheat oven to 425F. Carefully coat each piece of eggplant in olive oil, taking care not to leave any piece in the oil too long (eggplant can absorb a lot of oil quickly). Place the eggplant pieces on a lined baking sheet. Season the eggplant with salt. Toss the red bell peppers and zucchini slices in the remainder of the oil and season with salt. Spread evenly on another lined baking sheet (or the same one as the eggplant, if it is large enough). Place both baking sheets in the oven, once preheated. The eggplant should take about 30 minutes and the zucchini and pepper should take about 20. The eggplant should be browned and tender, the zucchini cooked through, and the pepper lightly blistered. Check on them after 10 minutes, and then again at 15, 20, and 25 minutes and flip as needed. After removing the baking trays, season all the vegetables with black pepper. Sprinkle the smoked paprika over the eggplant and stir well to coat.
Option 2 - Air-Fryer: Preheat air-fryer at 270F for 5 minutes. Carefully coat each piece of eggplant in olive oil, taking care not to leave any piece in the oil too long (eggplant can absorb a lot of oil quickly). Spread the eggplant in the air-fryer basket and season with salt. Air fry at 270F until well browned and tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl and season with smoked paprika and black pepper. Toss the zucchini in the olive oil until lightly coated. Spread the zucchini in the air-fryer basket. Season zucchini with salt. Air fry at 270F for 8-10 minutes until cooked through. Transfer zucchini to a bowl and season with black pepper. Spread the pepper pieces in the air fryer basket (no oil needed). Air fry the peppers at 270F for 8-10 minutes until the peppers are cooked and lightly blistered. Transfer peppers to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Prepare the kale
Place the kale in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover the bowl with a large plate. Microwave on high for 45 seconds. Check on the kale and taste a piece. If it is a vibrant green color and cooked through, it is ready. If it is still tough, cover the bowl and heat in the microwave for another 15 seconds. Repeat this until the kale is just barely cooked. Be careful not to overcook the kale. Cooking time will vary depending on the power of your microwave. Season kale with the apple cider vinegar and salt to taste.
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a medium-sized bowl, but only add 2 tablespoons of water to start. Stir well. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, you can gradually add more water until the consistency is satisfactory.
Assemble the meal prep portions
Distribute the pilaf, roasted vegetables, chickpeas, kale, and sliced tomato evenly among the meal prep containers. You can either drizzle the sauce now or put the sauce in containers for serving later.
When making the sauce, take note of the composition of the tahini. It can include a lot of solid or a lot of liquid, and this will affect the flavor and texture of the sauce. Stir the tahini well before spooning it out of the container and pay attention to the consistency as you mix water into the sauce, so that you don’t thin it out too much.
The sauce will thicken significantly when chilled. Warming the sauce (or the whole meal prep bowl) will help thin out the sauce.