Antioxidant-rich acai (pronounced: ah-sai-ee) berries make a delicious, energizing & refreshing breakfast, snack, or dessert…especially when blended and topped with fresh fruit, granola, shredded coconut, seeds, nuts, & MORE! My thoughts: Umm HELLO! This is definitely MY type of treat! #Score!
Late last year, the word “Acia” really started to ring a bell in my ears. The only other time I had heard of it was in the past through Oprah or Dr. Oz show. Acai never really sparked my interest because many claims for the berries were mainly centered around weight loss only. No one ever told me that this beautiful goodness is so tasty.
Acai Bowls are THE BOMB! Yes, the health benefits are there…but for me, the taste is so refreshing and delicious that I actually crave these.
I don’t really eat frozen yogurt anymore, so these bowls are a perfect dairy-free substitute to have WEEKLY because they remind me a lot of PinkBerry or Froyo without the dairy tag.
What is Acai: Now you might wonder…what the heck is Acai? It’s pure…heaven. haha Jk. With a flavor that faintly resembles raspberries and chocolate, Acai is a berry native to the Amazon Rainforest. According to WebMD, “The acai berry is an inch-long, reddish-purple fruit. It comes from the acai palm tree, which is native to Central and South America. Some studies show that acai fruit pulp is even richer in antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries.” Now that is a winner in my book!
Where to buy: Here in the U.S., acai berries don’t come as a whole fruit (at least I haven’t seen them anywhere near me). So instead, they come as frozen puree. This frozen puree packets can be found in the freezer section of any local health food store, Fresh Market or Whole Foods. You can also purchase it online through Amazon or one the website of some of the producers such (all links provided if you click on the name) as: Tambor, Sambazon, Amazonia, or Amafruits (I order mine from Amafruits).
You can also make acai bowls using acai powder such as this one HERE by Organic Burst. When shopping for Acai puree, you want to make sure that you are purchasing 100% acai without too much of anything else added to it. You need to be careful when buying acai at Whole Foods or any health food store because some brands sold there contain soy lecithin (which okay…I know I know…almost everything contains that lol). But too much of other ingredients in your acai puree can indicate lower quality acai was used to bind everything and thicken the purees; it can also alter the flavor. If you are in the midwest or northeast, I recommend the Amafruits brand and if you don’t see it at the store, then just order it online from their website like I do! I get the unsweetened acai puree packets HERE.
Cost: Now this is probably the biggest downfall for this deliciousness. Since acai berries are not grown in the States, many companies produce and import from South America. But, I can tell you that from what I know, making your own bowl is less expensive than buying ready at many stores in the US. Plus, you really get to get creative with what you put in it when making your own at home. I ordered mine from Amafruits.com, a 24 Pack (6 bags each with 4 single serve packs) for $59.98 and free shipping.
How to make: This step is so easy. So the basic instructions are usually already written behind every acai smoothie puree pack. Below I will list exactly what I do (give or take):
Step 1: One acai packet (you can use the whole thing like I do or I have friends who have used half and felt their bowl tasted just as good), 1/2 teaspoon of honey (I add this on days I want some extra sweetness…but you can totally skip this step as the banana defiantly adds to the sweetness), and HALF a banana (a little less if you are using half the acai packet).
Step 2: Take any blender. Sometimes I use the Magic Bullet and sometimes the Oster blender (Thanks Kim! I still love it!!) If you want to make it blend well, drop in about one teaspoon (don’t add too much or your bowl will become liquid-like) of any type of juice (pure Acia or orange?) or milk (any—I use Almond Milk). Sometimes when my frozen puree is not SO frozen, I actually don’t even have to add any form of liquid.
Step 3: Once blended, getting the right texture can be a little tricky. You want the consistency to be thick enough to be scoopable, but not so dense that it doesn’t blend all the way. Haha…trust me, I learned that you definitely don’t want frozen chunks of acai in your bowl. *Sometimes if my acai is not as thick as I wanted it or my toppings aren’t all ready yet, I put my bowl in the freezer for a few minutes until I am ready.
Step 4: The FUN part! Get ready to top your bowls with whatever your heart desires my friends 🙂 The choices are endless. Some of which are my fav: Mango, banana, kiwi, strawberries, blackberries, pineapple, dried cherries, dried goji berries, dried cranberries, dates and even dried banana adds the perfect crunch. Sometimes, I also like to top off with chia seeds, shredded coconut, mixed nuts, shredded almonds, hemp seeds, dark chocolate mini chocolate chips…and ok, I totally cheated recently and made my bowl totally NOT dairy-free by drizzling some Nutella on top. It was a tiny amount so that’s okay right? HAHA. I couldn’t help it…the Nutella bottle had been staring at me from my cabinet for a while now 😉 My point is, you can dress your bowl however you like. Have fun with it! A friend told me that she likes almond butter on hers, which I imagine is pretty darn delicious too.
I hope you give the Acia Bowl a try if you haven’t already! I am pretty certain that you won’t regret it. If you do make some, please share what you blend or top your bowls with!! I am always up to try new concoctions.