What is an Acai Bowl? An acai bowl is similar to an acai smoothie because it is a set of frozen fruit (and accent) ingredients blended until thick and frosty. But this acai blend is meant to be served in a bowl and with plenty of fun and delicious toppings on top. Acai bowl blends are meant to be thick and creamy, eaten with a spoon like ice cream. On top: fresh fruit, granola, nuts and more. You will often find acai bowls in tropical regions where the weather calls for frosty-deliciousness as your breakfast of choice. I have haddelicious acai bowls in Hawaii and Miami. Have you had a delicious acai bowl somewhere?
Some points about acai:
- Acai Health Benefits: One 100g serving contains just 60 calories, 3g fiber, 6% RDA iron, 15% RDA vitamin A, 5,800 ORAC units, 4.58mg heart-healthy omega fatty acids, 0g sugar and zero caffeine or gluten. It also contains various minerals, vitamin C and even some calcium.
- Buying Acai. Acai comes in a few forms. Frozen acai smoothie packs, acai juice and acai powder. My favorite way to enjoy acai is via the frozen smoothie packs because you can easily blend up frosty smoothies and creamy purple acai bowls.
- When choosing acai you can either buy 100% acai or a “blend” product. Below I show three brands and options for frozen smoothie packs.
1. Samzabon: This sweetened acai smoothie pack contains energizing guarana. To taste, the pack is quite sweet, and almost tastes like a popsicle. The acai flavor is a bit less bold due to the added sugar that “waters down” the acai content a bit. The color is a light purple rather than deep purple. Delicious, but a bit less potent than 100% acai packs. Note: The Sambazon brand has a wide variety of delicious acai juices worth trying and testing out as well!
2. Wonderfruit Acai - Amazon Planet: This 100% wild grown acai is deep purple and super creamy. Delicious option for 100% acai.
3. Acai Roots: This pure premium acai is 100% wild grown and organic too! Again, 100% acai, unsweetened, nothing added so you get a super deep purple color and rich caco-berry acai flavor.
- Acai Powder. You can also buy acai powder. OneLuckyDuck.com carries the wonderful Navitas Naturals brand of acai. It is super easy to add to smoothies to boost the flavor and nutritional content.
I would advise trying the 100% acai products first to truly taste the pure acai flavor and see that deep color. You want your acai to be fresh purple in color - not brown or too muddy purple.
How-to Build an Acai Bowl:
1. Blend. First blend together two acai smoothie packs, a generous splash of liquid and (optionally) some frozen fruit. I like to add one fresh or frozen banana. Vanilla almond or soy milk tastes delicious as the liquid base of an acai bowl. Or you can try coconut milk for a richer, creamier tropical flavor. Blend the ingredients in a high speed blender until creamy, but still very thick and frosty.
Too thin? To prevent a too-thin texture, add the liquid in very small amounts, gradually. Just until the blend starts churning.
Too thick? If you have trouble with a “too thick” blend, simply keep adding liquid slowly until things smooth out. You could also add in vegan yogurt or even a scoop of silken tofu. Taste test the blend before serving. You can add sweetness (if needed) via agave or maple syrup, fruit like bananas or even using a more sweetened non-dairy milk base.
Chocolate spin: Want a super chocolate-y flavor? Blend 1-3 tsp cacao powder into your acai blend. Or blend in raw cacao nibs. You could even use a chocolate protein powder if you’d like.
2. Pour. After your acai is thick, frosty and blended, spoon it out into a bowl. Tips: Use a chilled bowl to help keep your acai from melting too quickly! - Or add some frozen fruit to the bottom of the bowl (frozen wild blueberries or frozen organic strawberries perhaps) to prevent quick melting as you eat.
3. Top. Start adding toppings! Nuts, cacao nibs, a splash of coconut milk, coconut shreds, fresh berries, sliced fresh banana, chopped nuts, chia seeds, ground flax seeds or even a spoonful of almond butter. There are so many options for toppings. Choose healthy foods you have on hand and fresh fruits that are in season or have a tropical vibe.
Serve right away and eat with a spoon!
Coconut Acai Berry Bowl (pictured)
vegan, serves 1-2
2 frozen acai smoothie packs
1/3 cup vanilla almond milk (+ more as needed to blend, add in tiny splashes)
1/4 cup coconut milk (chilled from can)
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
Toppings: raw peanuts, shredded coconut, fresh blueberries, goji berries, cacao nibs + a creamy splash of coconut milk
Follow instructions above to prepare.