An acai bowl makes for a superb start to your morning. Its sweet flavor, especially when topped with crunchy granola and coconut shreds, will make you feel as though you’re enjoying dessert. Fortunately, acai is packed with nutrition, so you’ll still be having a healthy start to your day while enjoying a delicious breakfast.
Though its name may look difficult to say, learning how to pronounce acai is quite simple. Pronounced ah-sigh-ee, these berries are known for their superfood benefits. Acai gets that reputation from its antioxidant content and health benefits.
So it’s no wonder delicious acai bowls are dominating the menus of juice bars and natural restaurants, but you don’t have to go out to enjoy this bowl of fruity goodness. Acai bowls can be easily made at home with minimal ingredients and effort. Making acai bowls at home saves money and lets you get creative with fillings and toppings.
This acai bowl recipe uses a secret ingredient to make it sweet without inducing a sugar rush. Medjool dates help sweeten up the acai bowl and counteract the tartness of acai. However, the fiber content in dates prevents a sugar rush. Just make sure you use an unsweetened acai pack in this recipe.
What Is Acai?
Acai is a berry that resembles a grape and originates in the rainforests of South America. The acai berry grows on a palm tree and each berry’s size is about one inch in circumference.
Acai has a slightly tart, bitterness to it which makes some compare the flavor to that of a cranberry or raspberry. But acai also has the juiciness and sweetness of blackberries. Acai berries are nearly impossible to find in their whole raw form (unless you are in the areas it’s native to) due to the fact it spoils very quickly after being picked.
Acai is available at most grocery stores in frozen pureed form or as a freeze-dried powder that is shelf stable. For this recipe, you’ll want to use the frozen pureed packs which will add thickness to your acai bowl.
Acai Health Benefits
Acai berries have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants in a fruit, and even surpass blueberries which are also touted for similar properties. In addition to its antioxidant benefits, acai also is a great source of minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats. Acai contains manganese, vitamin A, copper, iron, thiamine, calcium, and magnesium.
Acai is low in calories and has a moderate amount of fiber and protein. This acai bowl recipe (without the toppings) contains approximately 219 calories, 48 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 14 grams of sugar per serving.
Speed up this recipe by prepping the ingredients ahead of time. The granola will stay good in an airtight jar for up to two weeks on the counter and up to one month in the refrigerator. Make it on the weekend and then store it to use throughout the week on your acai bowls.
- For the acai bowl:
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 100 gram frozen pack of unsweetened acai (I use Sambazon brand)
- 2 frozen bananas, chopped
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted
- ¼ cup frozen strawberries
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- For the granola:
- 1 ½ cups gluten-free rolled oats
- ½ cup buckwheat groats
- ⅓ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- For the toppings:
- 1 banana, chopped,
- 4 strawberries, sliced
- 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
- Optional toppings: Peanut butter, almond butter, chia seeds, passion fruit, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat. Add the oats, buckwheat, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon to a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. Next, add the maple syrup and mix well.
- Spread the granola evenly out on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and then rotate the baking tray. Bake for another 15 minutes then remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer you let it cool, the more crunchy the granola will be.
- Add all the unsweetened almond milk, acai, frozen bananas, frozen strawberries, dates, and vanilla extract to a blender and blend on high until completely smooth. If it’s too thick or chunky add an additional splash of almond milk. Blend again until desired consistency is achieved.
- Pour the acai mixture into bowls and garnish with desired toppings; granola, shredded coconut, sliced bananas, and strawberries. Enjoy!
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Images via Karissa Bowers