Tropical Islands. The allure of the beach, sunshine and simplicity draw many to visit these amazing locals. Of course, life isn’t always so simple even in paradise but at least on vacation we can imagine that daily life includes (and it may for some) daily trips to the beach and cocktails by the pool.
My husband and I recently experienced a little of this island magic on our awesome honeymoon to Oahu. A month later, back to my usual routine I’m having a bit of island withdrawal and am missing those amazing sunsets and sipping on lava flows poolside. In an attempt to recreate a little tropical magic I decided I needed to to make one of my favorite breakfast dishes during our vacation. Acai bowls may be old news to many of you but for me it was something totally new, delicious and nutritious!
For those of you that don’t know, Acai bowls are essentially smoothies in a bowl topped with fresh fruit, coconut and granola. I’m not sure if it was the super fresh pineapple and papaya or just the fact that I was on vacation but it was totally amazing and the way I wish I could start most mornings in the summer..
Acai Bowls originated in the Amazon where the tropical acai palm thrives. The palm and berry were a diet staple and eventually like many food trends traveled to cultures in northern Brazil. Acai was popularized when the frozen pulp was blended with banana to create a tasty and nutritious treat. Currently, acai bowls are especially popular in Southern California and Hawaii and while we can find them on the east coast they are a bit more difficult to find, at least in the area where I live.
I made an attempt to recreate my favorite vacation dish this past weekend. I headed to my local Whole Foods which was one of the only stores that offered unsweetened pureed acai pulp. Rich in color, like most fruits and vegetables with a brightly colored hue, this stuff is loaded with antioxidants. Acai is also a good source of fiber, and heart healthy fats.
Despite it’s nutritional benefits I found that making my first acai bowl wasn’t as easy as I first assumed. Getting the consistency right was definitely the hardest part, it needs to be thick enough to scoop with a spoon. It was challenging not to overdo it on adding fluids during the blending process. I’m definitely not Martha Stewart and my first acai bowl was a bit of a fail, more like acai soup. Still tasty but not exactly right. My second batch was much better.
There are many ways to make and top an Acai bowl. The recipe below is the one I used, I kept mine less sweet and limited the added sugars. If you want something a little sweeter I would suggest trying agave syrup, honey or even maple syrup.
Alison’s Acai Bowl (Serves 2)
- ½ cup Back to Nature Apple Blueberry Granola
- 1 banana, frozen
- 1/2 banana, fresh
- ¼ cup Califia Coconut Almond milk
- 1 pint fresh raspberries
- 2 packets Sambazon Unsweetened Acai Pulp Smoothie Packs
Slice ½ fresh banana and wash and dry fresh raspberries.
Use blender to blend two frozen packets of unsweetened acai pulp with one frozen banana and ¼ cup of coconut almondmilk.
(Note: You may need to add more or less almond milk depending on the consistency you prefer).
Divide the acai puree into two bowls. Top with sliced banana, raspberries and ¼ cup granola.