June 8, 2016
I’m sure you’ve heard of them unless you’ve been hiding under a health food rock. You’ve probably had one. You may even be addicted. It’s surprising, these Acai bowls. When I had my first one, I thought, “Huh… yes, really good, but worth all of the hype and the cost?” I wasn’t so sure. But it was strange. I began craving them, and the more I had them, the more I liked them.
What are Acai bowls?
Acai bowls are basically a really thick smoothie that is topped with various fruits, seeds, nut butters, and oatmeal. Most commonly served for breakfast, it makes a healthy snack or lunch as well. People report feeling full for hours after dining on this popular health food.
What’s so great about Acai?
The acai berry is a grape-like fruit harvested from Acai palm trees in South America. Acai berries contain antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats. They may have more antioxidant content than other commonly eaten berries, such as cranberries, blueberries and strawberries (WebMD). They are often referred to as a super food.
But as I jumped on the Acai Berry Bowl bandwagon and went on my merry way, there were two things I realized I didn’t like at all:
- the cost
- the sugar
It was time for me to figure out how to make my own.
I researched different kinds of Acai (powdered or frozen purees), and landed on this one. The puree has the most nutrients preserved, and like I said, I was looking for one with no sugar. I found out the place I get my berry bowls in town doesn’t even use puree, but uses the Acai juice from Costco that is loaded with sugar. No me gusta.
Everything else I either ordered on Amazon, or had in my pantry.
Step #1: Put the Acai puree and berries in a high powered blender. Add a little liquid. Blend well. You can also put some of the other ingredients in at this time if you want it blended in. For example, bananas make the puree creamier. Some like putting avocado in the puree for health benefits, but it also adds creaminess.
Step #2: Put the blended mixture in a bowl. Top with all of the add-ins that you want. My favorites are hemp seeds (for protein), greek yogurt, berries, goji berries, almond butter, bananas, and chia seeds. Many people make this an art exercise and create beautiful acai bowls!
DOWNLOAD THE BERRY BOWL PRINTABLE HERE: Chart
Goji berries – these pack a powerhouse punch – boosting your metabolism (hoorah!) and are loaded with vitamin C. Be sure to hydrate them in hot water for about 2 minutes if you don’t want them fully dried.
Raw Cacao Nibs – a powerful antioxidant, these give that chocolate flavor we crave while also providing minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
Hemp Hearts (my fave) – a great source of plant-based protein and omega fatty acids. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Coconut Chips – if you like coconut, you will love these, and they provide healthy fiber, minerals, and protein.
Chia Seeds – these add healthy omega-3s, protein, fiber, calcium, and antioxidants, as well as provide an energy boost (boo-yah!)
Almond Butter – Along with being simply delicious, A.B. provides protein and calcium. You may think it is a bit strange to put it with a fruit puree, but don’t doubt it. It makes the berry bowl!
Acai Puree – I have found the only way to really get this is online. It comes to your door in dry ice.
I use a Vitamix blender for everything, and it comes in really handy for berry bowls, since the consistency is thick for the berry puree. It’s worth the investment if you use your blender 2-3 times a day like I do!
The Basic Acai Berry Bowl
The Basic Acai Berry Bowl Recipe
- 1 pack acai puree
- 1 cup frozen berries
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 tbsp. sweetener of choice
- 1/2 cup coconut water or almond milk
- 1/2 fresh banana, sliced
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup raspberries
- 1/4 cup granola
- 2 tbsp. hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1–2 tbsp. goji berries (hydrate first with hot water)
- 1–2 tbsp. almond butter
- Puree the acai, frozen berries, frozen banana, sweetener, and liquid. If it isn’t thick enough, add more frozen berries or ice. You may need to add more water if you don’t have a powerful blender.
- Put the puree in a bowl. Top with the sliced fresh banana, berries, granola, hemp hearts, chia seeds, goji berries, and almond butter.
- Optional: Drizzle honey over the top
- Stir and enjoy!
Be careful about granola that is full of sugar (even honey).
To make my granola, I simply mix in a bowl 2-3 cups old fashioned oats with 1-2 tbsp. vanilla, maple, or almond extract (whatever I’m in the mood for at the moment), 2 tsp. cinnamon or another spice like apple pie or pumpkin spice, 2 egg whites, and 3 tsp. sweetener of choice.
Spray a large pan with a generous layer of coconut oil or other cooking spray, and lay the oats in the pan. Then spray the top of the oats with the cooking spray. Cook until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container.
I love sending people with berry bowls when they are on the go and in need a good breakfast for the road. Put it in a to-go paper bowl and spread the love!
I will be posting more berry bowl recipes in the future!
What are your favorite acai berry bowls?
Try my Sugar Free/Fat Free Acai Berry Bowl option as well!