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Acai Bowl Recipe

 

I am a little bit of a skeptic, I’ll admit.  When a new food comes onto the scene claiming to save your life, I have to raise an eyebrow.  One food can’t do it all.  If you’ve noticed, I try not to beat anyone over the head with nutrition facts but rather emphasize a diet of a wide variety of mostly plant-based whole foods.  Eating seasonally, locally and organically helps too, but first things first.

Many years ago I started hearing the praises of acai (prononced ah-sigh-EE), a berry native to the Amazon (the rainforest, not the online shopping site).  Acai’s claims to fame are its insane antioxidant levels (more than blueberries!), healthful fats and a good smattering of iron, calcium and beta-carotene.  It also happens to be very low in carbs and sugar.  What I love is acai’s deep berry, almost chocolatey flavor.  Delicious, I promise you.

“Acai bowls” are popular in Brazil, but have found a loyal following in the US in areas with year-round warm weather, such as Hawaii and Baja California.  They’re kind of like a super thick smoothie/soft serve sorbet that you eat with a spoon.  Beacause acai bowls are so soft and creamy, they beg for toppings with a little texture.  The most traditional way they are eaten is with a scoop of granola, sliced fresh bananas and a drizzle of honey.  I was at a hotel in San Diego a few years ago when I saw an acai bowl on the menu and I very enthusiastically ordered it.

Let’s cut to the chase here — my family and I have been addicted to these since that day.  Not only that, but I have taught all three of my kids how to make them so when their friends come over they can throw together a nutritious and tasty snack in minutes, and one which their friends probably haven’t had anywhere else.  Cool!  One day, the mom of one of Mr. Picky’s friends came over holding a packet of frozen acai with a look of desperation and said, “Just tell me what to do with this.”  Many of my kids’ friends are hooked, too!  I let everyone choose their own toppings, which can include granola, flaked coconut, walnuts, cacao nibs, sliced almonds and cut up fresh fruit like bananas, strawberries or blueberries.  Mr. Picky always adds a small handful of mini chocolate chips and I’m okay with that since there’s no other added sugar here.

Now that the weather is becoming warmer, I wanted to share this recipe so you could enjoy it for the whole summer (I love that word!).  Since my version isn’t super sweet, I think with the right toppings an acai bowl makes a great breakfast, post-workout snack or even dessert.  You can see from the recipe that there isn’t anything too suspect or worrisome, just a bit of fruit sugar.  Wouldn’t you prefer these ingredients which are paired with vitamins, minerals, fiber, good fats and antioxidants over artificially-colored and flavored popsicles?  Thought so.  But just so we’re clear, I’m not trying to convince you that acai bowls are a magic cure for anything other than a craving for something cool, creamy and very delicious!

Acai Bowls
Author: 
Serves: 2 generously
 
Ingredients
  • 2 packets frozen acai puree (break it into pieces first to make it easier on your blender)
  • 1 frozen or fresh* ripe banana (cut into pieces) or a heaping cup of frozen mango chunks
  • 1 large handful frozen or fresh* blueberries, strawberries, mango or peaches
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice or apple juice or almond milk*
  • Topping suggestions: granola, sliced bananas, fresh berries, coconut, chopped nuts, cacao nibs
Instructions
  1. Add acai, fruit and juice to a blender and puree until smooth, but thick. A Vitamix does this very easily, but if you have a standard blender you'll just have to scrape down the sides every so often. Divide between two individual bowls and add toppings of choice. Serve immediately.
Notes
*Frozen fruit will give you a better texture and make it more like soft serve ice cream.

**fruit juice will make the acai bowl a little sweeter than almond milk but the almond milk makes it taste a little creamier. If you use almond milk, taste it before serving and if necessary, sweeten with a little raw honey or add a pitted date or two to the blender and puree.

**You can add your favorite protein powder to make it a more complete breakfast.

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Comments

26 Comments

  1. You can certainly see your enthusiasm within the work you write.
    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say
    how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

  2. Pamela, the new Acai Bottle Give Away has started now at http://www.acaiwinner.com – I did email you so I would like to include this page here in the social media contest, so when people visit this page, they earn 1 POINT to enter and win. How does that sound. Please reply us to our email 🙂

    Thanks, Yours, Kevin!

  3. Hi Pamela, great acai bowl recipe – can we post it on our website? We already pinned your image into your pinterest account. Learn more about us at http://www.acaiwinner.com – we soon start a contest where people can win a bottle of pure Acai puree without anything added, pure 99% acai (guess what is the rest 1%?.. it is NOT water…)

    Yours,
    Kevin

    The Acai That Always Makes You A Winner
    http://www.acaiwinner.com support
    Kevin Miller

    • You absolutely may. Thanks for asking!

  4. First time I hear of Acai, will look for it at Whole Foods, try it and let you know. You make it very appealing and will never pass up trying a healthy snack. Thanks.

    • This is so delicious! Look for the packets in the frozen foods section, by the popsicles.

  5. This recipe looks delicious!! The only problem is that I have no clue where to buy frozen acai purée. Do you think Whole Foods carries it?

    • I get it at my local Whole Foods in the freezer section by the popsicles. 🙂

  6. Just made this for the first time tonight. So delicious!!! Added granola for a little bit of crunch. Love it!

    • It’s one of my favorite healthful treats for sure and I never eat it without something crunchy!

  7. Hi, I visited hawaii last week and as a new vegan was trying to find wonderful healthy meal options while over there….i found “marie’s health foods organic cafe” in waikiki and noticed the “acai bowl” on their menu. I am so glad that i tried it as it was amazing…so much nicer than icecream, now i am hoping that i can go buy the ingredients here in australia as i am now craving another one lol.

    • I know the feeling! After I had my first one in San Diego, I was hooked! I hope you can find the frozen acai puree in Australia. 🙂

    • I live in Australia and have found both the powder and frozen acai in health shops!

      • Hooray! Thanks 🙂

  8. So good! My kids fought over the last bit–even my Mr. Picky liked it. 🙂

    • That’s awesome! Just don’t get mad at me when everyone’s addicted 😉 !

  9. Just catching up on emails after a wonderful 30th anniversery trip for 2 weeks on Kauai. Reading this great post of yours has me laughing – of all things what did we try while there = the frozen acai cups topped with coconut, pineapple and macadamia nuts!! Heavenly and so healthy! “Yup” – as you said in your last story – at the top of our to do list was that we made a stop at every single farmer’s market and local natural food shop on the island and had so much fun trying new things!! Will my new Whole Foods carry this item? Happy summer!

    • Congratulations, Barbara! That sounds so wonderful. How funny that you tried acai bowls on your trip. Aren’t they fabulous? Thank you for writing in!

  10. These are delicious! They are just like ice cream but…. good for you?! I love that. My daughter lived on these when she had her tonsils out. Thank you Pamela!

    • You’re the second person that has mentioned eating acai bowls after tonsils removed! And yes, they’re good for you!

  11. Acai bowls are the cure for ice cream and froyo cravIngs. Thanks!

    • So, so true!!


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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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