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6 Of The Best Sauces For Buddha Bowls

Love your Buddha bowls? In need of inspiration for sauces to serve your Buddha bowls with? Then you’ve come to the right place! Below you’ll find some of the best sauce options for Buddha bowls. I’ll also discuss some sauces you’ll want to avoid because you don’t want to ruin your meal, do you? 

So, what are the best sauces for a Buddha bowl? Most often, Buddha bowls are served with tahini-based sauces. These sauces come with different flavorings–cilantro, lemon, basil, and garlic are some popular variants. Another popular option is an Asian-style peanut sauce, a soy-based sauce, a yogurt-based dressing, or a simple vinaigrette.

Some people who use green herbs in their tahini dressing like to call it a green goddess dressing, though green goddess dressing traditionally contains sour cream or yogurt, or even mayo. 

You can use any of those versions for your Buddha bowl. 

With this all in mind, let’s explore the recommendations above in greater detail and also go into what sauces you want to avoid!

Best Sauces For Buddha Bowls

Tahini Sauce

Tahini sauce seems to be a lot of peoples’ favorite sauce for their Buddha bowls.

If you love tahini sauces, great. If not, don’t worry; there are many other sauces that will work too! But first, let’s have a look at tahini-based sauces. 

Some people like keeping it simple. They blend lemon juice, tahini, and a pinch of salt and call it a day.

A bit of water is also usually required for the sake of its consistency.

If you like, in addition to the lemon, salt, and water, you can add some maple syrup/honey and sesame oil. 

Another option is to swap the sesame oil for minced garlic or shallots. If you love herbs, toss in some cilantro or basil, too.

And stick to one or the other–basil and cilantro together likely won’t appeal to your taste buds.  

Like it spicy? Why not mix your tahini with water, maple syrup, sriracha, cayenne pepper, and turmeric? A pinch of salt is also needed! 

Green Goddess Dressing

If you love Pinterest and you love cooking, you’ll have seen this dressing pop up everywhere in recipes. The aforementioned herby version of tahini sauce is sometimes called a green goddess dressing. 

However, traditionally green goddess dressing is made with a base of yogurt, sour cream, or even mayonnaise. From there, the ingredients tend to vary though they are, invariably, green…

Some recipes call for a combination of lemon juice, leafy green herbs, capers, and garlic.

Others include vinegar instead of lemon. Some cut the capers; others add anchovies. 

In short, it’s a very creamy and herby sauce. 

Peanut Sauce

If you love Thai food, chances are you’ve tried peanut sauce.

Likewise, in Vietnamese cuisine, you’ll find peanut sauce. There are some variations on the theme of peanut sauce, but the sauce is definitively Asian-inspired. 

One type of peanut sauce calls for peanut butter, red chili, soy sauce or tamari, olive oil, fresh ginger, garlic, honey, and lime.

These ingredients are fairly common when it comes to peanut sauce. 

Another version calls for peanut butter, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, and honey. 

Some like to top it off with a sprinkling of cilantro; others run for the fields at the mere mention of cilantro. 

If you’re serving Buddha bowls to guests, find out about their feelings around cilantro before you serve it. You see, it’s a genetic thing, and to some people, cilantro tastes kind of like soap! 

Lastly, let’s look at a peanut sauce that calls for fish sauce. This is pretty common for some dishes. 

Peanut butter, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and water. Optional add-ins are sriracha or chili oil and lime juice. 

Obviously, if making a vegan Buddha bowl, stay clear of the fish sauce!

Yogurt Dressing

Not everyone who likes yogurt dressing is a fan of green goddess dressing. Some opt for a simple yogurt and lemon dressing with honey, dill, and salt.

You can also drizzle in a little bit of olive oil. 

You can also mix yogurt with your favorite hot sauce, some honey or maple syrup, and a tad of mayo if you want it even creamier. 

Soy-Based Sauces

Soy-based sauces are popular for Asian-inspired Buddha bowls. 

Some soy-based sauces are as simple as combining sesame oil with soy sauce or tamari sauce. Others call for additional ingredients such as honey, chili, garlic, and ginger, as well as rice vinegar. 

Rice vinegar, tamari soy sauce or shoyu sauce, sweet chili sauce, maple syrup, ginger, toasted sesame oil, and linseed oil makes for a nice omega-3-rich soy-based sauce. 

A lot of people enjoy the citrusy flavor of ponzu sauce. Modern interpretations don’t usually call for the yuzu, seaweed, and dried fish that traditional ponzu sauce calls for, so it’s easy to make.

You need some soy sauce, mirin (Japanese cooking wine), lemon and orange juice, and water.

Vinaigrettes

If you have a Buddha bowl made with Mediterranean ingredients, there’s no saying you can’t simply serve it with a vinaigrette.

Red wine vinegar, mustard, maple syrup or honey, olive oil, and garlic is all that is required.

You can add some herbs; the Provence or Italian herbs should fancy take you.  

Naturally, if you’re serving a Buddha bowl with rice and teriyaki tofu, you don’t want to use a vinaigrette on the other hand!

What Types of Sauces Pair Best With Buddha Bowls?

In broad terms, you can use any kind of dressing that suits the ingredients of a Buddha bowl. People tend to enjoy tahini-based dressings, as well as Asian-inspired soy dressings, an Asian peanut sauce, or yogurt-based dressings. 

As the Buddha bowl has similarities with a teriyaki or poke bowl, some of the most popular sauces for it are Asian in nature.

In fact, you could try out the sauces you use for your poke bowls with your Buddha bowl if you have rice as the grain in the bowl. 

You can play around with different soy-based sauces, as well as Asian peanut sauces. 

Many people also go Mediterranean or Middle Eastern in style with their Buddha bowls and opt for a tahini-based sauce.

A good dressing with tahini as a base is ever so popular. 

Speaking of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, yogurt-based sauces are also fairly popular, though not for the vegan Buddha bowls.

You can try a simple yogurt and lemon sauce, or why not the ever-popular tzatziki?

One of the most popular yogurt-based dressings today is the green goddess dressing, which is likely a Californian invention, not surprisingly, as Californians love their healthy foods.  

Of course, it depends on the vegetables you have in your bowl. If you have a more Asian inspire Buddha bowl complete with tofu, or raw fish, you’re better off with an Asian-style sauce. 

If your bowl is filled to the brim with Mediterranean veggies, then opt for a Mediterranean-style dressing. 

What Sauces To Avoid Serving With Buddha Bowls 

While the contents in a Buddha bowl tend to vary greatly–some form of grain, lots of vegetables, and usually some form of vegan protein, or even meat and fish–it perhaps most closely resembles a salad. This means you don’t want to be pouring over hot sauce or ketchup!

While the contents of Buddha bowls vary greatly, it is, in a sense, a form of salad.

While you mix all the ingredients in a salad together, a Buddha bowl places the different ingredients together in little groups.

All the grated carrots to one side, the tofu to another side, and so forth, but it’s still mainly made up of vegetables.

And just as you wouldn’t stick a raw carrot into mustard and take a bite, you wouldn’t pour mustard all over your Buddha bowl. 

Likewise, while something like BBQ sauce or a sweet chili sauce would work well with the rice, it doesn’t necessarily go well with raw vegetables. 

And, just as you wouldn’t cook a warm sauce to pour over your salad, you wouldn’t pour a warm sauce over your Buddha bowl. 

While you could use a mayo-based dressing for a Buddha bowl, lots of Buddha bowls are vegan, so that wouldn’t work very well for that reason.

There are, of course, vegan mayos, but Buddha bowls also tend to be healthy, and while a little bit of mayo isn’t unhealthy, a mayo-based sauce, generally speaking, isn’t. 

Again, if opting for a yogurt-based sauce, check that the person having it isn’t a vegan or lactose intolerant.