Remember açaí berries? A few years ago, they were everywhere, incorporated into every recipe, featured on ever health blog, and vouched for by everyone. The buzz has died down since; there was a bit of drama regarding false endorsements of açaí diet pills.
Açaí may not help you lose weight, but its rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, dietary fibre, and antioxidants are reason enough to start eating it.
The açaí palm is a specific type of palm trees that bares deep purple berries—hence the name açaí berries. Açaí palm trees are indigenous northern South America and Trinidad, and its berries constitute a large portion of the populations' diets.
It is most popular in Brazil, used in a typical dish called açaí na tigela, which literally translates to "açaí in the bowl." Açaí na tigela is made of frozen and mashed açaí berries, and is often served as a smoothie, either in a glass or bowl. Typical toppings include granola and fruit.
Thanks to "The Year of Açaí," açaí na tigela has been adopted by North America. Simply called açaí bowls, it's become a popular breakfast item, served at many smoothie bars.
Thankfully, these antioxidant-rich bowls of tastiness can be easily made at home.
Frozen açaí packs can be purchased at most specialty health stores, and ordered online. All you need from there are some fruit, granola, and maybe even chocolate.
Try out some of these recipes below and kickstart your day with something filling and healthy!
Hawaii 5-0 Rainbow Bowl
From Clean Eating Mag
1/2 small banana
1 100-g (3.5-oz) pack frozen unsweetened açaí berry pulp (TRY: Sambazon Unsweetened Açaí Smoothie Pack; before opening your acai pack, run pack under water for 5 seconds to thaw and break the frozen pulp into smaller pieces.)
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 kiwi, peeled and sliced or chopped
1/2 small banana, sliced
1/4 cup peeled and chopped pineapple or mango
1/4 cup strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup granola, optional
Drizzle of raw honey, optional
1. Prepare açaí purée: In a blender, add banana, açaí pulp, strawberries, blueberries and a splash of milk. (TIP: Add to blender in that order as adding softer ingredients first makes it easier on your blender blades.) Blend on low until larger chunks are broken down, then gradually increase speed, adding a splash of milk at a time, and stopping to scrape down sides of blender if needed. When ingredients have mostly come together and all of milk has been added, blend on high for 15 to 20 seconds more.
2. Add toppings: Pour açaí purée into a bowl and arrange toppings in stripes of their respective color to form a rainbow: from left to right, arrange blueberries, kiwi, banana, pineapple and strawberries. Sprinkle with granola and drizzle with honey (if using).
Banana cacao acai bowl
1 frozen unsweetened açaí pack (100g)
½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 large overripe frozen banana
1 pitted Medjool date
1 tbsp cacao powder
¼ of an avocado
Toppings: cacao nibs, unsweetened shredded coconut, sliced banana, granola
1. Break açaí pack into fourths using a sharp knife. Place acai along with the rest of the ingredients (except toppings) in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. If using a nutribullet, you will have to continuously shake it in order to blend properly since it is much thicker than a typical smoothie. Breaking the açaí into smaller pieces will make it easier to blend.
2. Top with desired toppings.
You can amp up your açaí bowls by blending some fresh, nutrient-packed greens like kale, watercress, or beet tops right into the açaí puree.
And even better? Grow your own microgreens in an Urban Cultivator to ensure the best flavour and highest nutritional content. You can harvest literally seconds before you're ready to add it to your açaí bowl.
Do you have any favorite açaí bowls recipes? Let us know in the comments section!