Gluten Free For Good


More About Melissa

I’m a product of the sixties, a hippie-girl at heart.

This whole chard-eating, brown rice-making, kefir-drinking way of life is nothing new to me. In fact, the first two cookbooks I bought when I launched out on my own were the Vegetarian Epicure (circa 1972, cover pictured above) and the Tassajara Vegetarian Cookbook from the San Francisco Zen Center (circa 1973). No Joy of Cooking or Julie & Julia stuff for me. I wanted cookbooks that focused on beets, burdock root and buckwheat groats. I made my own bread, wandered the wilderness, belonged to a food co-op, wore flowers in my hair and advocated peace, love and tie-dyes.

I also voted for Nixon, but that’s another story.

Anna Thomas, a 60s soul sister, wrote the Vegetarian Epicure while she was in college. Considered the whole foods bible of the vegetarian fringe in the 1970s, it’s now a classic and still in print. I treasure my original, well-worn, food-stained copy. I don’t know which parts of the book I like more. The recipes, the earth-brown pages, the marijuana references, or the far-out hippie drawings scattered through-out the book.

Marijuana references, you ask?

Read the last paragraph from the “Entertainment” section of my tattered cookbook. Actually, read the whole page. It’s absolutely wonderful and she’s so right-on when it comes to food, friends and entertaining. Anna’s new book, Love Soup, has quickly become one of my current favorites.

Just so you know, I’m not a pot-smoking nutritionist, but I do have fond memories of my first introductions to ghee (clarified butter), curry and veggie rice bowls. I can thank Anna Thomas for that.

And yes, I probably dated this guy.

Buddha Bowls consist of brown rice or another grain (quinoa works well), sautéed veggies and some kind of sauce. They’re meant to be a launching pad for whatever your heart (and stomach) desires. Options include adding meat or tofu, although mine are usually veggie bowls. Sit in lotus position, oomm in gratitude, and eat all your food out of one bowl.

brown rice Buddha bowl (a common dinner at our house)
what you need

2 – 4 cups of cooked brown rice or other cooked grain
1 – 2 tablespoons coconut oil

assorted veggie options (be creative, there are no rules)
1 small onion, chopped or sliced in strips
2 stalks celery, chopped or sliced in strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 green bell pepper, sliced in strips
2 portobella mushrooms, sliced in strips
2 carrots, sliced in thin strips
shredded beets
spinach, chard, beet greens, or kale, washed and thinly chopped

sauce options
wheat-free tamari
vegetable or chicken broth
sesame oil

garnish options
fresh cilantro
roasted sunflower seeds
chopped green onions

what you do
1. heat coconut oil on medium heat in a large skillet
2. add onions, garlic and other veggies and sauté lightly (enough so the veggies are cooked, but still slightly crisp)
3. add cooked brown rice, freshly ground pepper, sea salt and a splash of broth to moisten the mix; turn heat down and warm thoroughly
4. if you want to add a specific sauce, do it now and continue to cook until all ingredients are well heated
5. top with garnishes (optional) or gamasio

Other “bowl” recipes you might like
• Elana from Elana’s pantry posted a Mexican chicken and “rice” recipe a couple of years ago with a quirky grain-free twist to the Buddha bowl.
• Ali of  Whole Life Nutrition has a recipe for Summer Vegetable Kitcheree that is akin to a Buddha Bowl and is as tasty as it is healthy.
• Fellow nutritionist, Cheryl Harris of Gluten Free Goodness, has a great recipe for a basic quinoa bowl laced with mint and lemon. You might have to save this one for mint season, but it’s a nice addition to the Buddha bowl list.
• Sautéed lettuce and brown rice bowl (from my blog)

Peace, love, Buddha bowls and hippie chicks!
• I took the above photos of the cover and two pages from my 1972 vintage book, The Vegetarian Epicure. I hope I don’t get in trouble.

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41 Responses to “Buddha bowls and hippie chicks”

  1. This post makes me smile so much, Melissa. Love the photographs and the, uh, advice in this book! 😉 I have yet to enjoy a rice bowl, but your recipe sure does sound good. 🙂 I have many of the ingredients you cited, and of course as you said, one can be flexible.


    p.s. That Nixon discussion is for another day for sure. LOL

    • Melissa says:


      Food should make us smile, even if it’s for weird reasons (marijuana and Nixon references). =) Glad this post did that for you. Rice bowls are such an easy way to mix a bunch of random ingredients into a healthy meal. Plus, there’s less clean up, which is always a good thing.

      Smile on!

      • K Cox says:

        Hi Melissa,
        Hey I found this site for buying our annual vegetable seeds, and on the LEFT SIDE there was a line that said Gluten, MSG FREE Sauces-Gourmet made Easy- SO I clicked it and looked at the Sauces that they had available, so for my mother I bought a few of the sauces,(since she always has such a hard time makeing dinners that she and dad can enjoy) I can tell you they are WONDERFUL IN FLAVOR, so now she and her friends have bought all of them, and they have lunches with each other and share their new cooking experiences with each other.. go there and click the line I mentioned above then on that page click the link that will take you the site that has all the items, now we also buy it since my mom and her friends rave about it- they even have receipes for it. Let me know what you think of the sauces when and if you gt some… Thanks

        Kaley Cox

      • K Cox says:

        I forogt to mention the site to g to- it is for the Gluten, MSG free sauces.

  2. Okay, dating that guy and voting for Nixon, really do not go hand in hand. Must hear your story one day!

    I think older cookbooks definitely get too little play. Food doesn’t change for the most part, so its funny how we always gravitate toward things written that year.

    One of my favorite meals is “Buddha’s Delight,” this reminds me so much of it!

    • Melissa says:


      You’re right! But then again, I’m a full-on Gemini girl, so contrasts are a major part of my personality. Makes life interesting! I agree with your assessment of older cookbooks. Good point — food doesn’t really change, does it!

      Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Thanks for including my quinoa recipe, Melissa! I had to laugh–as a Berkeley grad, and hemp seed enthusiast, I’ve had to explain that I’m not a pot smoking nutritionist, either. =)

    • Melissa says:


      Yes, Berkeley and hemp seed do raise some eyebrows! As for your quinoa recipe, it was perfect for this post! We’re on the same page with our food preferences and recipes!

  4. That is one groovy cookbook. I bet I could find that on my mother’s bookshelf. She was a hippie at heart and that was how I grew up too. My dad being an Irish meat and potatoes guy always threw a wrench into things but my mom cooked every meal for us. I love how she had dinner parties to test out her recipes. What a great idea.

    I’m so glad I now know that these meals have a name. My mother always made these types of dinners and so I have carried that on with quinoa. I find I love to have something crunchy in these bowls. I’ve just started to explore curry and I can’t wait to give this recipe of yours a try with that.

    Thank you for sharing this cookbook. I’m going to search out an old copy at the hippie used book store .

    • Melissa says:


      You know of a “hippie used book store”?! Oh, I would love that. Keep me posted! You’re a lucky girl to grow up with a mom who cooked every meal for you, even if your meat and potatoes dad threw a wrench into the mix. That makes it fun and interesting. My mom cooked every meal as well. I feel so grateful to have grown up eating “real” food. I was being fed beets and spinach as a baby and have passed that along to my kids as well. We’re lucky!

      P.S. Curry is an absolute favorite of mine. You’ll become addicted!

  5. I have and LOVE this book! Can’t wait to get home and pull my stained, tattered copy off my cookbook shelf. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Melissa says:


      You have the book?! OMG, you’re a hippie girl at heart, too. I love it! Glad I reminded you of your roots! =)

  6. Jack says:

    When are we having dinner?
    Are we the only old hippies who voted for Nixon?

    • Melissa says:


      You know you’re always invited to dinner over here. ALWAYS! You’re my absolute favorite right-winged hippie! By the way, we’re not old. Not yet, anyway.


  7. Erin Block says:

    “I also voted for Nixon, but that’s another story.” –> I love the juxtapositions in this post!

  8. Terry says:

    Love this. I have this book and totally missed that paragraph. Guess I was focused on the recipes,lol.

    • Melissa says:


      Wow, I’m so amazed at how many people actually have this original cookbook. I guess there are more of us hippie-girls out there than I realized!

  9. Renee says:

    Love the post and the entertaining advice.

    My husband, who was my anti-Gulf war, long-haired, vegetarian “hippie” husband in high school (circa 1990!, don’t laugh), would get a big kick out of it too. He has some old recipes that he brought with him to the relationship, the second time around, that are very similar to the Buddha bowls above. I would imagine that he got them off of his mom’s hippie cookbook shelves. She has them all. I am glad I found my husband again, with all his tofu-hippie eating ways, as it made my life a lot easier when I was trying to figure out GF in 1996. I love these old cookbooks. I just read Diet for a Small Planet last year.

    So thanks for the reminder to pull out his yellowed recipe cards. Sometimes we also like making our bowls with a sushi flavor – some rice vinegar, a little wasabi dressing, sprinkle of nori, sesame seeds, veggies and avocado. Yum.

    • Melissa says:


      Great story! We have some common threads with food and boyfriends (husbands). =)

      I love your sushi direction with this. And avocado sounds perfect on a Buddha bowl.

      Dig out those old recipes!

  10. Melissa, you are always good for a great laugh and the nostalgia and recipe were all good for my soul.

    • Melissa says:


      You’re pretty funny yourself! The nostalgic aspects of old cookbooks really do warm the soul. We’ve wandered way too far away from the basics and some of these old cookbooks bring us back to the source. Real food!

  11. Elese says:

    Melissa, you crack me up, saying you probably dated the guy in that picture! Ha ha…I love your blog. 🙂

    O.k., so I’ve been eating Budda bowls a lot this week and didn’t even know it…just cleaning out the fridge! Thanks for the inspiration and fun posts.

    Oh, BTW, tried the Udi’s pizza crusts…yum! Thanks for letting us know about those; they’re so good! I love their bread…didn’t know they made pizza crusts. So glad you mentioned it. Thanks again!

    • Melissa says:


      So glad you discovered the Udi’s pizza crusts. They are one of the few “processed” foods I treat myself to. They’re gluten-free, delicious, fairly healthy and wonderfully easy.

      And thanks for your zippy comments! Buddha bowls are PERFECT for cleaning out the fridge. Thanks for mentioning that.

  12. I love this post you flower-haired, tie-dye-wearing hippie chick! I always wanted to be a hippie but could never quite get it right 🙂

    Probably dated that guy? Hmmm, I think that is a better story than the Nixon one!


    • Melissa says:


      Hmmm? Can’t imagine you as a hippie girl. No Stevie Nicks clothes for you, that’s for sure.

      I’ll give you the “boyfriend” and “Nixon” details over wine and dinner sometime. =)


  13. Karina says:

    Buddha bowl love! Comfort food. For over forty- gasp!- years. Peace. xox Karina

    • Melissa says:


      I can “see” it — you definitely have some hippie threads running through you (not to mention your diversion to the land of enchantment).

      Peace, love and vintage cookbooks!

  14. Maggie says:

    Okay, this is so funny! I love it. You’re my kind of girl, I was born a generation or two too late! And I love Buddha Bowls too. They’re so much fun to create and a great meal for dinner parties. Which I clearly need to throw more of. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Melissa says:


      My kids are the same way. Retro hippie kids, definitely not 80s kids, which is their decade. The 60s were strange (to say the least), but very groovy as well.


  15. Thanks for including me, Melissa! as a Berkeley grad, I’ve always considered myself a hippie chick, even if I wasn’t quite in the right age bracket.

    • Melissa says:


      You’re welcome. I love your blog and the healthy spin you put on everything! I am happy to share your knowledge with my readers!

      Berkeley? Boy, you do have some hippie roots!

      I love it!

  16. Melissa, I WANT THAT COOKBOOK. I am going to go try and order a copy for myself and one for my mom, who would totally get a kick out of it.
    This post is hysterical. I love it. My parents were total hippies, considering we lived in SF and my Dad got his master’s degree at UC Berkeley. These cookbooks would probably bring me right back to my childhood!
    Oh, love Buddha Bowls!! I make these concoctions all of the time!!
    I love you, my hippie friend! Awesome post!

  17. Melissa says:


    It’s an awesome cookbook and the illustrations from my cookbook collection from that time period are wonderful. Funny, I love all you girls, but would probably have far more in common with your parents. =) Your mom would probably love this cookbook. It’s like Lexie saying her dad likes my blog. That cracked me up!


  18. Alta says:

    That definitely sounds like a treasure in the cookbook collection! Love it. I already enjoyed your lettuce bowl, and I think I enjoy some sort of variation on these Buddha bowls (which in my mind are leftovers bowls) for breakfast or lunch at work quite often!

    • Melissa says:


      You’re right, I treasure this cookbook! And several other 70s veggie versions that I still have and use on occasion.

      Peace, love and Buddha Bowls!

  19. donni says:

    LOVE this! I always called it “A Bowl of Brown Rice with Stuff on Top” – how’s that for an original name? This is my ultimate comfort food. Buddha Bowl sounds so much more enlightened.
    I’m thrilled to have found this site. I am blown away about an article you wrote about how gluten affects the brain. For years I was treated for epilepsy, and they could never figure out where it came from, or why it came and went. Only after I was diagnosed as celiac, and living a GF lifestyle did it disappear – for good. Now I see why.

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks SO much for your comment (for a variety of reasons). First off, I love your “bowl of brown rice with stuff on top” just as much as the more “enlightened” Buddha Bowl name. And I’m glad you found your way through the maze of neurological symptoms that gluten can cause. Epilepsy can (on occasion) be connected with gluten toxicity. Isn’t that unreal that food could be causing symptoms like that!! Ugh, and it’s food. So easy to find relief just by removing the environmental trigger. Wish more docs knew that!

      Thanks and WELCOME!

  20. Hi there!
    I am a fellow gluten-free eater and read your blog (which I love by the way).
    I live in Toronto and recently opened a gluten-free cafe/food shop in downtown Toronto. I thought that your readers from Toronto might be interested in hearing about us as a safe place to get 100% gluten-free and processed sugar free treats and grocery items.
    come and try our banana nut muffins and chocolate zucchini spice loaf without worry and top it all off with a decadent coconut milk latte.

    we are at 1245 dundas st west (between dovercourt and ossington) in the academy of lions.

    open m-f 6am-7pm and s-s 10am-5pm.

    check us out online

    I hope you don’t mind me posting here…if there is a better place for it, lemme know!
    Thanks very much and keep up the good work!
    Freya Ravensbergen

  21. Melissa says:


    Thank you for your comment — and good luck with your gluten-free cafe/food shop endeavor! Wishing you well!

  22. Dianne Jacob says:

    I just had dinner with an old hippie who laid out an argument that Obama is to the right of Nixon, so I don’t think you need to feel bad about voting for Tricky Dick.

    Loved seeing Anna Thomas’s book here. I have a yellowed copy on my kitchen bookshelf and only wish I had dated the guy shown above.

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