What happens when you add acai to your smoothie and make it thick enough to eat with a spoon? You get a super delicious Acai Bowl!
The Acai Bowl is increasing in popularity and rightfully so. The Brazilian acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) berry itself is a superfood filled with antioxidants, fiber and omega fatty acids. But are these bowls really good for you?
It depends on what you put in your bowl. Most recipes currently out there call for all fruit. Fruit in small doses is ok for you, but it is still sugar. If you approached those all-fruit bowls as a sometimes treat it would be ok, but if you are eating only a fruit-filled bowl every day you are missing out an opportunity to for a nutritious meal. Let’s break down the components for a balanced bowl or smoothie:
Acai berry: The acai berry can be done through using either a frozen puree or a dried powder. Both are expensive in their own right.
Using the frozen pureed packs helps with the thick consistency when making a bowl. The powder will give you a much bolder acai-berry hit.
Leafy greens: Leafy greens are an essential component to all smoothies (and now bowls, too) because they are nutrient dense with crucial vitamins and minerals.
Vegetables: Add a carrot, celery stick or cucumber for additional antioxidants and fiber.
Frozen berries: Other frozen berries help with the texture and are essential if you are using the acai powder.
Good Fat: Flax seed, coconut oil or avocado all work great.
Toppings: This is a great opportunity to add in additional protein, good fats and warming spices like seeds, nuts, coconut flakes and cinnamon. Try other super foods like bee pollen and goji berries too.
Sounds like a fairly classic smoothie, right? So that begs the question: can any smoothie be made into a bowl? And does it really actually need acai in it at all? I felt I needed to run a couple of experiments to understand the difference between a bowl and a smoothie, acai puree vs powder and even no acai at all.
Here are my findings: Any smoothie, with or without acai, can be made into bowl.
The acai powder will give you a bigger, bolder, fruitier acai flavor over the frozen acai packets. The acai frozen packet does help to create the thicker texture for the bowl, but it’s not a necessity. A high-powered blender is key in order to create a good, thick texture, but it’s just as important to control the liquid. Now that we have all the facts out of the way, below you will find the basic recipe I used, with a few variations listed adjustments.
Bottom line: whether you make a smoothie or a bowl, the addition of the acai berry is delicious. Just be sure to balance it with vegetables and good fat for complete nutrition.
Super Tasty and Yummy Acai Bowl (or Smoothie)
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 frozen packet of Acai or 1 tsp acai powder + additional 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 tablespoon cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)
- 1 cup leafy greens (kale, bok choy, spinach, etc)
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 cup almond or other non-dairy milk
- granola, coconut flakes, goji berry, cacao nibs, honey, raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Place all the non-topping ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and add yummy toppings and drizzle with honey. Enjoy immediately.
If you need additional liquid, add in cold water or additional milk, but if you are trying for a bowl you want the mixture as thick as possible, so have patience. You may need to stop and scrape the blender a few times as well. For a smoothie texture you will definitely need more liquid.
Happy Healthy Tips: Açaí is rich in antioxidants (specifically anthocyanins like those found in red wine) and healthy fats similar to olive oil, but look at the ingredients to ensure no sugar has been added.