Make Your Own Mexican Meatball and Coconut Ginger Rice Buddha Bowls

Sometimes the best way to get a family excited for dinner is to get them involved in making it. But with nonstop, busy weekday schedules, there definitely isn’t always time to have everyone in the kitchen cooking. One of may favorite solutions is the DIY Buddha Bowl, which gives kids (and parents) a “choose your own dinner adventure” with options that you’ve made sure are healthy & delicious. I pick a theme (like Mexican or Asian) which help me plan a wholesome and varied spread of veggies (cooked or raw), favorite add-ins (like cheeses and sauces), a protein, and some kind of grain or gluten free base (hey, cauliflower rice!). These mini Mexican meatballs are a crowd favorite because it’s like eating a little taco, rolled up into a ball. Stacked with easy to cook and tasty Mexican spiced sides and additional add in’s for every kind of eater in the family, these bowls ensure every color of the rainbow hits the plate and everyone is happy to join in putting together their version of a mini fiesta.

Prep Time
Cook Time
  • Meatballs: 1 lb. ground beef or ground meat of your choice
  • 1 large egg, beaton
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (Alternative: GF Breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
  • 1 cup cauliflower rice (to hide some veggies)
  • 3 large scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
  • Cumin, Ginger, and Coconut Sticky Rice:
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice (yields serving for 4-6 people)
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. salt and 3 grinds of pepper
  • ** Add Ins: Roasted and Lightly Spiced Sweet Potatoes | Cheesy Leek and Corn Saute | Spicy Pepper and Wilted Greens | Beans | Cheese | Guacamole | Salsa | Hot Sauce
  • ** See recipe details for further ingredients and instructions on add in's.
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Get the rice going first:
    • Dice 1/2medium white onion into small 1/2″ pieces.
    • In a medium sized sauce pan or pot, heat 1 Tbsp. coconut oil. Add in the onions and stir to coat. On medium low heat sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Add in the rice. Stir to coat with the oil. Allow to toast for another 5 minutes.
    • Mince the ginger as small as you can. Add into the rice. Add in the cumin and stir. Allow to cook another 2 minutes.
    • Add in the water or stock according to the box’s instructions.
    • Cover and allow to cook on low heat until it completely absorbs the liquid, about 35 minutes. The rice should be sticky but not watery.
    • Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. While the rice is cooking, begin making the meatballs:
    • In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the meat. I like to add all of the ingredients in and then the meat as I find it combines better.
    • Add in the meat. Using your hands, mix together until all of the ingredients seems to be evenly incorporated.
    • Make into small 1″ balls. I like to keep the balls small for this recipe, as I find the kids like them more.
    • Place into a oven proof cooking dish, like a pyrex, and drizzle with olive oil.
    • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Rotate and bake another 5 minutes.
    • Take out and allow to cool for a couple of minutes and then serve. *** Meatballs can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before.
  4. Finalize any other ingredients for the buddha bowls.
  5. Set up a buffet style serving line with all of the options and allow your family to pick and choose as they would like.


My Favorite Sides and Add In’s

Roasted and Lightly Spiced Sweet Potatoes: 2 large sweet potatoes, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. light brown sugar, salt, pepper, and coconut oil or olive oil.
** Can be made ahead of time, covered and refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve warm.

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into small 1″ cubes. In a medium sized bowl, to mix together the sweet potatoes with the remaining ingredients. Place on a covered baking sheet in one layer.
  2. Bake for 15 minutes. Take out and stir around to ensure all sides brown. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Cheesy Leek and Corn Sauté: 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 large leek (white parts only), 2 cups corn (fresh or frozen), 1 clove of garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
** Make 10 minutes before serving

  1. Cut off the green parts and clean the leek. Cut it in half and than place each half flat side down on the cutting board. Thinly slice short ways.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add in the leeks and stir to coat. Over low heat, allow the leeks to soften and turn translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the corn and garlic. Stir  and coat with oil. You may need to add a little more oil if it seems very dry. Cover the pan and allow to cook for 7 minutes. Take off and taste a piece of corn. Is it cooked through? If not, stir, and cover again and allow to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once cooked through, add in the cheese and salt and pepper. Allow to cool and serve while warm.

Spicy Peppers and Wilted Greens: 1/2 yellow or purple onion, cut into small 1/2″ pieces, 1 large red pepper, 1 large orange pepper (or other color of your choice, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger chopped, 1 tsp. Chile powder, 1 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 jalapeño (seeds taken out) and chopped, 1 bunch leafy winter greens like kale or Swiss chard (chopped).

  1. Chop the onions into small 1/2″ pieces.
  2. Cut the peppers in half, take out the seeds, white parts inside,  and the top rind. Discard those parts. Chop the colored flesh into long strips and then into 1/2″ pieces.
  3. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and add in the onions. Sauté over medium/low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are translucent and softened.
  4. Add in the peppers and continue to stir and coat with oil. Cover and allow to cook down for another 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add in the spices and then jalapeño. Stir and allow to cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add in the Swiss chard and stir. Cover again and allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Check to see if the greens have completely wilted.
  7. Season with a large pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and serve.


Additional Add-In Ideas:
Chopped Lettuce or Greens of Your Choice | Black Beans or Pinto Beans | Shredded Cheese | Guacamole or Avocado Slices | Salsa | Hot Sauce

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