My new obsession comes in the form of a rainbow of fruits, nuts, and seeds sitting atop a dripping swirl of creamy, nutrient packed goodness…known as the Acai Bowl (also deemed “Breakfast Porn” by the Huffington Post). The acai berry is the star of the show-a small berry that looks similar to a dark purple grape. This berry has been named “the most antioxidant-packed fruit on earth”. Originating in Brazil and becoming famed in Hawaii, the acai bowl traditionally blends the pulp from the acai berry along with other juicy fruits (optional), coconut milk or water, and fresh juices. This creates the base for an acai bowl, which is essentially a thicker version of a smoothie.
This voluptuous mixture then gets poured into a bowl and is topped with granola, nuts, coconut, slices of fruit, chia seeds, honey and anything else you might want to try. The acai bowl is similar to a parfait or a mound of frozen yogurt with topping overload, but with far less guilt following an indulgence session. To top it off, this nutrient-packed bowl is simple to prepare at home. You can mix and match fruits and flavor combinations to your heart’s desire, while styling the elements and presenting the bowl in a picture-esque fashion.
Being that I don’t always have access to fresh acai pulp, the bowls that I have come up with in my own kitchen don’t always include this ingredient–morphing into something more like a thick “smoothie soup”, if you will. Still delicious. A simple formula for a perfect smoothie consistency= a few splashes of fruit juice (you can always add more) + couple handfuls of a frozen/fresh fruit combo + small handful of ice. (acai juice & frozen pulp seems to be more readily available than the fresh fruit-available at Whole Foods and in the specialty juice section of most grocery stores). In lieu of fruit juice, coconut water works beautifully also. Mix it up and create new combinations. I love the medley of frozen dark red cherries, fresh pineapple, fresh raspberries, frozen banana and frozen or fresh passion fruit pulp. If you want a creamier consistency, more similar to a dessert treat, add a spoonful or two of greek yogurt.
You want the texture to be thick like frozen yogurt or a slushie…you do not want it to be so thin that it is actually like eating a soup. Pour the concoction into a pretty bowl and prepare your toppings (the best part). [you might want to put the smoothie into the freezer while you do this part so it doesn’t melt]. Slice up any and every combination of fresh fruits you desire and layer them around the bowl. Add a few crumbles of your favorite granola, a sprinkle of dried coconut flakes, some chopped nuts, and a drizzle of honey. Go topping wild and drizzle some peanut butter or almond butter, chopped dates, chopped dried fruits, figs, goji berries (a superfood delight), chia seeds, or dark chocolate chips. Below I have included some photos of beautiful bowls with particular attention to detail in arranging the fruits and toppings to make it picture perfect (click the linked images for details). Enjoy!