Lemon pesto buddha bowl in a white bowl.

Lemon Pesto Buddha Bowl

Fresh parsley, basil and lemon give this dairy free lemon herb pesto buddha bowl a light and flavorful taste! Paired with white beans for protein and grilled vegetables, your tastebuds will be delighted bite after bite when you serve this vegan nourishing bowl for lunch or dinner!

Lemon herb pesto with white beans, grilled vegetables and served buddha bowl style in white bowl.

I am the salad girl at our extended family holiday meals. While yes, this is a name I dubbed for myself – it is totally true. I am always asked to bring a salad.

This started even before my husband and I were married. I married into a family where they like to cook. So maybe the salad was a test? If she passes the good salad test, she’s in. Ha – maybe. Probably not. Although, I did receive a nice bamboo salad bowl set for a shower gift…from you name it my mother in law. The pressure to make a salad that is more than just a side has always been there and if i’m being honest that was way before I was even the ‘salad girl’ at family gatherings.

This lemon herb pesto salad is a ‘wow’ salad! It is full of delicious fresh tastes from the homemade dairy free pesto. Grilled vegetables add a smokey grill taste and fresh salad greens add vibrant color.

It’s simple to make and easy to customize how you like! It’s great for healthy meal prep or to make for a light dinner. I love buddha bowls and how you can throw about anything in them and call it a meal.

What is a Buddha Bowl?

A buddha bowl is a great way to enjoy a plant based meal whether you are vegan or not! A buddha bowl normally contains these 5 staple ingredients, but of course you can make it your own and include whatever you want.

  • Vegetables: Assorted vegetables that are raw, roasted, steamed, sauteed or even grilled could be used. Use a combination of vegetables for a hearty bowl!
  • Grains: Any grain can be added such as quinoa or brown rice. You could also go grain free and just add additional vegetables such as sweet potato or just skip this altogether.
  • Protein: I love to use plant based protein sources such as cooked beans, tofu or tempeh but if you are not vegan any protein works.
  • Sauce: A delicious sauce is a must! This is a lemon pesto buddha bowl, but you can use whatever you like in yours. Try avocado dill dressing!
  • Toppings: Crunchy nuts and seeds are often used and avocado is very common to add to a buddha bowl.

Pesto Buddha Bowl Recipe Ingredients

As you notice, this lemon pesto buddha bowl recipe calls for A LOT of FRESH ingredients and herbs. That is key to what makes this taste so AMAZING.

Lemon pesto buddha bowl in a white bowl.

Here are the ingredients you will need for this vegan lemon herbed pesto salad. Scroll down to the recipe card for full measurements.

  • Lemon pesto: Walnuts, fresh basil, fresh parsley, lemon juice, garlic cloves, nutritional yeast and salt.
  • Grilled vegetables: I used cauliflower, asparagus and orange bell pepper.
  • White beans: You can use great northern beans or cannellini beans.
  • Fresh salad greens: I love spring mix, fresh spinach or even kale.
  • Optional toppings: Cherry tomatoes, snap peas, carrots and walnuts.

How to Make Your Lemon Pesto Buddha Bowl

How to make a lemon pesto buddha bowl step by step photo collage.
  1. Make lemon pesto: The lemon pesto comes together quickly by using a food processor to make your pesto! I love my food processor for recipes like pesto, as I just need to wash my herbs then pulse them in the processor. No manual chopping! To make your oil free pesto, place all ingredients for the pesto in a food processor and pulse lightly until combined.
  2. Grill vegetables: Next, chop your vegetables and toss with garlic salt. Grill your vegetables over medium high heat until tender. I used cauliflower which tends to take 30 minutes. I add my cauliflower and bell peppers to the grill pan first and grill for 15 minutes. Then I add the asparagus for the last 15 minutes.
  3. Mix beans with lemon pesto: Rinse and drain your canned white beans. Mix with desired amount of pesto. I usually use 2-3 tablespoons.
  4. Assemble: Last, assemble your fresh vegetable and pesto bowl! Add fresh greens to a bowl, add your grilled vegetables, white beans and other additional ingredients. Toss to combine.

How to Store Buddha Bowls

To store: You can store the grilled vegetables and lemon pesto mixed with the beans for 3-5 days in separate containers. Assembled leftovers of your bowl taste best when served immediately.

Freeze: I only recommended storing the lemon pesto. Freeze in smaller portion sized containers and use for another meal.

Meal prep: This is a great make ahead buddha bowl! I love to make this dairy free pesto on the weekend to have it ready for a weeknight meal. You could also use this for vegan lunch meal prep! Toss your beans with the dairy free pesto and store in a container. Grill your vegetables and then portion into individual containers. Store your greens and any other optional toppings in a separate container. What an amazing plant based lunch!


Can I add a grain to this buddha bowl recipe?

Sure! Cooked quinoa or brown rice would taste great added to the lemon pesto buddha bowl.

How do you make pesto healthier?

This pesto is already healthier as it uses whole foods such as nuts instead of oils. To give it a boost of veggies, you could add spinach or kale if you would like.

Should I serve this buddha bowl warm or cold?

While some buddha bowls may taste great cold, I find that grilled vegetables taste best warm.

Lemon herb pesto buddha bowl in a white bowl with fresh lemon and basil leaves.

More Vegan Bowl Recipes

Lemon pesto buddha bowl in a white bowl.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Lemon Pesto Buddha Bowl

Fresh parsley, basil and lemon give this dairy free lemon pesto buddha bowl a light and flavorful taste! Paired with white beans for protein and grilled vegetables, your tastebuds will be delighted bite after bite when you serve this vegan nourishing bowl for lunch or dinner!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Irresistible Whole Food Plant Based Meals, Main Dish, Salad Bowl
Keyword: lemon pesto, pesto buddha bowl
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 217kcal


Lemon Herbed Pesto

  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons walnuts
  • 2 tsp garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • water as needed

Grilled Vegetables

  • 1 small cauliflower , broke into florets
  • 1 orange bell pepper , sliced
  • 1 asparagus bunch
  • 1 zucchini , cut into rounds
  • 1 summer squash , cut into rounds
  • garlic salt & pepper , to season and taste

Buddha Bowl

  • 1 1/2 cups white beans , canned rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 Tablespoons lemon pesto
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Fresh salad greens

Optional buddha bowl: Fresh cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, snap peas, walnuts


    Lemon Herbed Pesto

    • Place all pesto ingredients in a food processor and process until combined. Add water as needed to get the right texture desired.
    • Toss 2-3 tablespoons of pesto with your rinsed and drained white beans.

    Grilled Vegetables

    • Prepare vegetables and remove woody stems from asparagus. Toss with garlic salt.
    • Grill vegetables over medium high heat until desired doneness. I like mine more crispy so I grill the cauliflower the bell peppers for 15 minutes first, then add the asparagus for the last 15 minutes.

    Assemble Buddha Bowl

    • Place your fresh salad greens in a bowl.
    • Add your lemon pesto white beans.
    • Add your grilled vegetables and any other fresh vegetables.
    • Add in additional walnuts and pesto as needed.
    • Eat immediately.


    Vegan Meal Prep: Store all ingredients including cooked vegetables separately. Reheat cooked ingredients and assemble your buddha bowl at meal time!


    Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 353mg | Potassium: 1289mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2450IU | Vitamin C: 147mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 5mg

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