Acai bowls are a quick, easy, nutritious and healthy breakfast recipe packed full of delicious super foods. This recipe is vegan and grain free, but you can easily change the ingredients and the toppings to suit your taste.
Açaí bowls are simply smoothies made with Açaí and served in a bowl with toppings. They are a super fast, super easy, super healthy, and surprisingly delicious way to start your morning!
What is Açaí?
- Pronunciation: Açaí is pronounced as ah-sigh-EE.
- Origin: Açaí berries come from Açaí palm trees that grow in South American rainforests. They are a lot like grapes, but they have really big seeds. In fact, the seed portion takes up about 80% if the berry, but the flesh and the skin are packed with nutrients and are low in calories.
- Benefits: As you might guess from the dark color, Açaí berries are packed with antioxidants. They are also full of fiber, healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium. The Açaí berry has been referred to as "purple gold". That being said, very little research has been done on the health effects of acai products.
Where can you buy Açaí?
You can buy both Açaí puree and Açaí powder. I buy frozen puree packets at Trader Joe's. They are located where the frozen fruit is kept. Health food stores and major super markets will carry the puree in the same section.
I've never used the powder before but I'm sure you can find it on Amazon or in the vitamin section of a health food store.
How to you make an Açaí bowl:
There are countless ways to make an acai bowl and modify it to your liking, but the basic recipe is the Açaí smoothie and the toppings.
To make the Açaí smoothie:
- Açaí puree - always look for unsweetened. I like to run a little hot water over the pack to partially thaw. That way, I can break it into smaller pieces before it gets blended.
- Additional fruit - I found that a ripe banana and some frozen mango chunks added just the right amount of sweet creamy thickness to my acai bowl. Other recommendations include fresh or frozen berries, peaches, or a variety of tropical fruit.
- Liquid - Thicker options include a high-protein Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt. You can also use any kind of milk from a traditional dairy milk to a vegan option like a nut, oat, soy, or coconut milk. I chose to use unsweetened almond milk because it's my preferred beverage to add to smoothies.
The Açaí smoothie is only half of the Açaí bowl. If you're like me and love a little texture, then you'll love serving your acai smoothie in a bowl smothered with toppings!
The best toppings:
I prefer a mixture of soft and chewy with a little crunch mixed in.
- Fresh fruit - For this Açaí bowl, I used fresh blueberries, pomegranate arils, and sliced banana. I chose this variety for the vibrant colors as well as the varying taste, texture, and benefits. Other recommendations could include pineapple, mango, and a wide variety of berries.
- Seeds - I love hemp hearts on just about everything. They not only taste fantastic but they are loaded with healthy stuff! I also topped my acai bowl with coconut flakes for both the taste and the texture. Another great option would be pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
- Nuts - Any kind of nut would be fantastic on top of an Açaí bowl. I recommend raw over roasted. Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and pine nuts would all be great options.
- Granola - Go the extra mile and make some homemade granola to use as a topping. Store bought also works. Granola not only adds a great crunchy texture, but it will also sweeten up your Açaí bowl.
You can add anything else that sounds good. Go crazy!
How many calories are in an acai bowl?
Well, that completely depends on what ingredients you blend with your acai but also what you choose to top your acai bowl with.
This acai bowl I created here was big enough for two full servings, and each of those servings comes out to roughly less than 250 calories.
One unsweetened Açaí packet from Trader Joe's contains 80 calories.
Other great smoothie recipes:
If you’ve made this or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. I love hearing from my readers!
Acai smoothie bowl:
- 3.52 ounce acai puree (frozen)
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 cup mango (frozen)
- 1 large banana (ripe)
- 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
- 1 tablespoon coconut flakes
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
- 2 tablespoon blueberries (fresh)
- ¼ banana (sliced)
- Run hot water over the package of frozen acai puree to thaw it enough to break into chunks. Add to blender with almond milk, mango, and banana. Blend until smooth. Pour into two bowls.
- Top with toppings. You can add anything else you'd like including nuts, granola, berries, etc.
This recipe was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated with helpful information, ingredient and process photos, as well as recipe tips. Don't worry - the recipe hasn't changed!