Ready in just a few minutes, this Acai Bowl Recipe is filled with acai berry puree, fruit, and all your favorite toppings. Learn how easy it is to make your very own Acai Bowl right from home and enjoy this powerhouse of fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats anytime you want for a fraction of the cost!
My first encounter with the infamous Acai Bowl was nearly fifteen years ago as a student at University of California Santa Cruz. Facebook was still just for students, Instagram was unheard of, and flip phones were all the rage. Despite a lack of social media coverage, however, acai bowls (and burritos) reigned king in my not-so-sleepy college town.
Many years (and Instagram posts) later, “acai” is now synonymous with the word “superfood” (because it is) and everyone wants a piece.
I mean, you do, right?
Fortunately, acai bowls are basically super thick smoothie bowls with a very special ingredient -acai berry puree!
What is Acai?
Açaí, pronounced ah-sigh-EE, comes from the acai berry grown on the acai palm tree in South Amerian rainforests.
With an outward appearance similar to that of a grape and a blueberry, approximately 80 percent of an acai berry is the seed with the remaining 20 percent containing the all nutritional value. Many believe that the acai berry contains more antioxidants than blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or cranberries.
With claims that acai helps aid in weight loss, brain function, and prevent cancer, it’s easy to get hooked. But are any of these claims true? According to WebMD acai berries have “no known health benefit that’s different from similar fruits.”
Here’s what we DO KNOW about acai.
For starters, unlike many fruits that are high in sugar and low in fat, the acai berry is actually somewhat higher in fat and low in sugar.
In 100 grams of frozen unsweetened acai fruit pulp you’ll receive:
- Calories: 70
- Fat: 5 grams
- Potassium: 130 mg
- Carbohydrates: 5 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
What is an Acai Bowl?
Now that you know all about acai, what is an acai bowl?
Originating in Brazil, the acai bowl is made of frozen acai palm fruit that is pureed and served as a smoothie in a bowl or glass. In Brazil, acai bowls are typically topped with granola, banana, and guaraná syrup. Several other variations, however, can be found throughout the country, including acai bowls topped with tapioca balls and a saltier version that is topped with shrimp or dried fish.
With the explosion of social media, acai bowls have become a popular muse thanks to their bright color, blending varieties, and wide assortment of toppings.
Acai Bowl Ingredients
In this acai bowl recipe, you will find the following ingredients-
- Pure Unsweetened Acai Puree – If you can’t find frozen acai puree, there is also acai powder available. Although I have not tried acai powder personally, I would recommend using this with frozen fruit for the most authentic and thick smoothie possible.
- Frozen blueberries and strawberries – fortunately, acai tastes great with just about any fruit. That said, it tastes particularly wonderful with frozen berries. Any mixture of blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries would be my top pick.
- Banana – Ideally frozen, bananas are naturally super sweet and super creamy (not to mention loaded with potassium!)
- Liquid – Yes, you will need some kind of liquid to get things moving along. I added milk for the extra protein boost, but feel free to add your favorite fruit juice.
- Yogurt – I understand that yogurt may not be for everyone, so feel free to leave it out and substitute with additional milk or juice if preferred. However, if you are team yogurt, do it. So much creaminess. That said, please PLEASE do not add a flavored yogurt. You will completely mask the delicious, natural flavor of the acai.
- Acai Bowl Toppings:
- Fresh sliced fruit
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Acai Bowl Recipe
- 1 banana - sliced and frozen
- ½ cup blueberries - frozen
- ½ cup strawberries - frozen
- ¾ cup milk or juice - use your favorite milk (dairy milk, soy, almond, etc) or juice (apple or grape)
- ½ cup plain yogurt - (substitute with milk or juice if desired)
- 200 grams (2 packets) frozen acai puree - broken into pieces
- assorted toppings - nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, granola, coconut, etc.
- Freeze your fruit. Slice your banana and transfer it to a small baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper. To the same plate, add the blueberries and strawberries (store-bought frozen fruit will work just as well). Transfer tray or plate to the freezer and allow fruit to freeze completely.
- Blend. Once frozen, add the milk and yogurt to the bowl of a large, high-speed blender with a tamper (see notes). Add the frozen blueberries, strawberries, banana, and broken up acai. With the blender on low, use the tamper to push the frozen fruit down, mixing around as much as possible. Continue to blend on low until smooth, only adding additional liquid when needed.
- Assemble. Divide the smoothie into two bowls and top with all your favorite toppings. Popular additions include sliced banana, nuts, seeds, granola, and berries. Best enjoyed immediately.
- If you forget to pre-freeze your banana, that's ok. However, I recommend adding additional fruit (strawberries, blueberries, mango, etc) that are already pre-frozen to help contribute to the thick consistency characteristic to acai bowls.
- While I have not tried every blender out there, it is incredibly difficult to get a super thick smoothie bowl unless you have a blender that comes with a tamper (or something equivalent). This is the updated model of the blender that I own. It has lasted over 5 years of daily use but isn't cheap. Here is a well-reviewed much more affordable option. If you don't care about thickness, then the type of blender won't matter as much- you'll just need to adjust the amount of liquid.
- These are the acai packets I use. Be sure to look for the unsweetened version.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)