An açaí bowl is, essentially, a smoothie in a bowl. Packed full of nutrients and loaded with fresh fruit, or nuts, seeds and granola, it is a healthy and delicious breakfast that will leave you wanting another (and another...). If you haven't yet tried one, grab these ingredients and try one now. Your taste buds will thank you!!
Belo Horizonte Brazil. In English, it means beautiful horizon, and the city is every bit as beautiful as the name suggests. The temperatures rarely drop below 65 degrees, and the average highs are between 78 and 84 degrees, which is like a dream come true for me. In 2008, I spent a little over a week in the city, and it was there where I ate at my very first Brazilian steakhouse, which was quite the experience and nothing like the Americanized Texas de Brazil.
One day, I walked to the city’s central market with a group of friends. We saw a vendor selling something frozen and loaded with fruit and granola, and I’m a fruit lover, so I had to try it. It was sooo delicious, but when I got back to the States, I had to go without it for a very long time. It wasn't available in Southern Tennessee just yet. Fast forward another decade, and suddenly, it’s everywhere! I’m certainly not complaining either because, when made right, an açaí bowl is so refreshing! Açaí is packed full of antioxidants and is one of my absolute favorite things to eat for breakfast, and after you make a bowl, I'm pretty sure it will become one of your favorites, too.
The beautiful thing about this Brazilian berry (and about international trade) is it is now available in just about every supermarket. It’s extremely easy to make at home, and doing so is a fraction of the cost of purchasing it at a smoothie stand.
What is Açaí?
Açaí is small berry grown in South America, where, as I said earlier, the temperatures are pretty much perfect. It resembles a blueberry in appearance, but the two berries couldn't be more different. While blueberries are low in fat and high in sugar, açaí is the opposite—lower in sugar and high in fat (good fat, that is). Açaí bowls have become wildly popular due to their unlimited possibilities with toppings and their beautiful, bright colors, making them beautiful for food photography. Typically, they are made by blending the pulp of the berries with ice, nut milk and frozen banana, and the toppings range anywhere from almond butter, honey & chocolate; pineapple & coconut; mixed berries and so much more. You can also add hemp hearts and chia seeds for an additional protein boost.
How to blend your açaí pulp:
You can find frozen berry purée, usually sold in small packets, and while this might be the easier route, sometimes, the packets have additional additives and sugar, so I use powder. A good quality açaí berry powder is freeze-dried so all of the fruit’s nutrients are protected.
Blend 2 teaspoons of açaí powder with 1 frozen banana (about 1 cup) and a small handful of frozen mixed berries.
Add 2-3 pieces of ice.
Add 1/2 cup almond milk.
Add 1 teaspoon of honey.
Blend until ingredients come together and are smooth.
Helpful tip: Start with 1/2 cup of almond milk, and if you need more after blending, add it just a little at a time so your base is thicker and smooth instead of runny.
Ingredients for this bowl:
I added about 1/2 tablespoon of almond butter before blending my pulp because I love the flavor and needed a little extra protein. I also added:
1/2 banana, sliced
a pinch of coconut shreds
a small handful of low-sugar granola
1/2 tablespoon of honey