If you spend any time on social media or visit juice bars and vegan restaurants, you will likely have come across acai bowls before.
These colorful bowls are incredibly popular, especially among influencers and Instagram models. Not only are they incredibly photogenic, but they are also bursting with flavor and healthy nutrients.
If you order an acai bowl in a restaurant, it will come ready-made and look beautiful.
However, if you want to make your own at home, you’re going to have to put a little more work in. In this article, we will look at the ultimate acai bowl recipe with various topping options (see also “Whole30 Super Bowl Recipes“).
What Is An Acai Bowl?
An acai bowl is essentially a thick smoothie in a bowl. It is generally made from real fruit and a concentrate such as almond milk or some sort of juice.
The mixture is then topped with various combinations of fruit, berries, nuts, granola, seeds, honey, or peanut butter.
The most important ingredient in an acai bowl is, of course, acai berries. These vibrant berries are native to South America and are harvested from acai palm trees.
These grape-like berries are considered to be a superfood due to the high levels of antioxidants that they contain.
It is possible to purchase acai berries to make acai bowls in two different forms.
You can buy a packet of frozen acai berry puree that simply needs to be crushed into pieces and added to your blender to make smoothies or an acai bowl.
You can also purchase acai powder which can be used to make delicious acai bowls at home.
The Ultimate Acai Bowl Base Recipe
There is no end to the combinations of toppings that you can use to finish off your homemade acai bowl, but first, you need to make your acai base. The steps below will help you make the ultimate acai bowl base.
The first step in making your own acai bowl is gathering all the ingredients that you need (see also “All You Need To Know About Dragon Bowls“). To make the thick smoothie base.
The most important ingredient, as we mentioned above, is the acai berries. You can use either a frozen puree or powdered acai.
Many people prefer using frozen puree as it gives a bit more texture to the bowl but powder works just fine.
You will also need some frozen bananas. Freezing the banana helps to keep your acai bowl cold and provides a better texture and flavor than a regular banana does.
Make sure that you cut your frozen banana into smaller pieces to help it blend more easily. Cutting the banana before you freeze it makes this easier.
Another ingredient for your acai bowl base is berries. The best thing about this ingredient is that you can use whatever berries you want.
If you have some favorite berries, you can use them each time. If not, you can use different combinations each time you make an acai bowl at home.
A mixture of raspberries and blueberries helps produce the stunningly rich purple color that makes acai so photogenic.
You can also add some type of nut butter to the base. This is optional, but it does give the acai bowl some extra creaminess and added protein.
You can use any nut butter that you like. You can also reserve the nut butter and use it as a topping.
Finally, you will need some sort of milk or juice to add to the acai bowl base. You will only need a splash of milk or juice.
Plant-based milk works really well in acai bowls to add some creaminess to them.
Making The Acai Bowl
Once you have gathered all of the ingredients that you need to make your base, it is time to begin making your acai bowl. The easiest way to make an acai bowl is in a blender.
If you have a blender with an ice cream setting, this will give you the best results.
The best blender to make a smooth and thick acai bowl is a Thermomix blender thanks to the powerful motor and the black stick that can help make sure all the ingredients are blended.
However, if you don’t have a Thermomix, a regular blender will also work, you will just have to blend for longer.
You can also make acai bowls if you don’t have a blender. You can simply place all of the ingredients in a food processor and whizz them until they are smooth and thick.
This method might take a little longer and you might have to stop the food processor a couple of times to scrape down the sides. However, the result will be the same as the blender and taste just as good.
Acai Bowl Toppings Inspiration
There really is no limit to the amount of toppings that you can add to your acai bowl base. This is actually one of the most fun parts of making an acai bowl yourself at home.
For some people, they like to just add toppings to their acai bowl haphazardly. These are likely the type of people who will proceed to mix the toppings in with the base smoothie mix.
Other people like to create patterns with their toppings. For example, you can choose fruity toppings that form the color gradient of a rainbow.
The only limit for toppings is your imagination and the food items you can purchase where you live. Below are some common ideas for toppings to add to your acai bowl.
The base of the acai bowl is made with berries and banana already, however, these are perfectly good toppings as well.
However, if you want to add some extra flavors to your acai bowl, you can add any number of other fruits as toppings.
Soft, fleshy fruits are popular options for toppings. Fruits such as kiwi or mango can create a beautiful contrast in color between the purple of the berry base and the vibrant green and yellow of the toppings. The flavors also work really well together.
Another option for a topping is dried fruits. These can add a delicious flavor to the acai bowl and a different texture.
Dried raisins or goji berries can be a great option. Using goji berries can add another superfood to your acai bowl and make it even healthier.
If you want to add some crunch to your acai bowl, you can do so through using nuts as one of your toppings.
You can use any nut that you enjoy, but there are some nuts that are more common as acai toppings than others.
Flaked almonds are a great option to add a little extra crunch to your acai bowl.
The best thing about using flaked almonds is that their flavor isn’t too overpowering and can complement the berry flavor well. They can also be mixed into the base easily if you want.
Another popular nut topping for acai is coconut. This is a really versatile topping option as you can use flaked or shredded coconut for a more subtle topping, or you can use coconut flesh cut into chunks.
You can also use a mixture of coconut to create a tropical sensation in your bowl.
Whole nuts can also work well as an acai bowl topping.
If you are using whole nuts such as hazelnuts, you should use slightly less than you would if you were using a flaked nut so as to ensure the acai bowl isn’t too loaded with fats and calories.
Seeds can also be used to make a delicious, healthy, and crunchy topping for your acai bowl. Almost any consumable seed can be used as a topping.
Certain seeds such as poppy seeds or chia seeds are particularly popular. Not only do these small black seeds create a pleasing visual effect, but they are also bursting with health benefits.
Chia seeds in particular are a popular topping because of the extra health benefits that they bring. Not only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but they are also considered a superfood.
Topping your superfood acai bowl with goji berries and chia seeds creates the ultimate, superfood dessert.
One of the most common toppings that people add to their acai bowls is nut butter. This is an ingredient that you can add to the puree that makes up the base of the acai bowl, or you can use it as a topping.
Whether you are adding the nut butter to the base or as a topping, a tablespoon should be a reasonable amount to use.
Granola and edible flowers can also be used to make beautiful and delicious acai bowls. Edible flowers can be a great topping for when you are making acai bowls to share with other people.
Acai Bowl Variations
There are a few modifications that you can make to the base of the acai bowl to create different variations.
The base will always taste mostly of acai berries, but there are ways that you can alter the flavor slightly with the components that you use.
You always need to add a small amount of liquid to your acai base to help your blender or food processor. The most popular liquids that people use are plant-based milks or juices.
If you want to add a tropical flavor to your acai bowl, using coconut milk or coconut water is a great option.
However, if you want to add to the fruitiness of the bowl, you can use a fruit juice from concentrate. Popular options include apple juice, pomegranate juice, or pineapple juice.
Acai berries obviously make up the majority of the fruits in the base of an acai bowl.
However, you can change the fruits that you add to the pureed mixture to change the taste and consistency of the bowl.
Some people like to add some frozen avocado to their acai bowls for some additional healthy fats and to increase the creaminess of the bowl.
You can also use mango, dragonfruit, pineapple, or coconut flesh. It is important that any fruit that you use in the base is frozen to help maintain the right consistency.
You can also add some extra mix-ins so that you can improve the nutrient profile of your bowl. Adding a protein powder is a popular choice for a mix-in.
You can use a fruit flavored protein, a vanilla protein, or a flavorless powder to increase the amount of protein in your bowl.
Other popular mix-ins include chia seeds, hemp hearts, matcha powder, and other superfood powders. These can all help to improve the protein, fiber, and antioxidant content of the acai bowl.
Tips For Making Acai Bowls
That covers the basics of making a delicious acai bowl at home. Here are a few tips and tricks that you can use to help make sure that you make the ultimate acai bowl at home.
Frozen Acai Vs Acai Powder
One of the most important things to understand is the difference between using frozen acai puree or acai powder.
Both can be used to make delicious acai bowls at home, but they do produce slightly different consistencies.
Frozen acai puree is the preferred way to make an acai bowl. You can either get this in individual packets that contain a single serving or in a bigger packet that requires you to portion it yourself.
These packets can be added straight to your blender after being broken up a bit in the packet.
Acai powder is slightly different. For a start, the powder doesn’t have to be stored in a freezer. The amount of powder in the packet will make multiple acai bowls.
All you need to do is add around 2 teaspoons of powder to your blender along with your frozen fruits.
To make a thick, creamy acai bowl with the powder, you will need to use more frozen fruit such as bananas and avocado.
Making An Acai Bowl Without A Blender
As we mentioned above, it is possible to make an acai bowl without a blender. You can use a food processor to mix all your ingredients together into a smooth puree.
If you are using a food processor, you will have to allow the ingredients to mix for longer to ensure that they are fully combined and smooth.
For best results, you should stop the food processor a couple of times to scrape the mixture down from the sides and closer to the blades.
Acai Bowl Nutrition
When you order an acai bowl in a restaurant lots of fruit juices and extra fruits and toppings are added.
The portion size tends to be quite large too. Because of this, it is common for restaurant acai bowls to be around 1000 calories.
Contrary to this, a homemade acai bowl tends to contain around 350 – 400 calories per serving. It will also contain around 8.2g of fiber and 6g of protein per serving.
If you are concerned about keeping the calories of your acai bowl down, you should make sure that you keep the portion size smaller and try to add some fruits that are lower in sugar.
Keeping your topping choices light can also help. Granola, fresh berries, and coconut are all good options.
Acai Bowl Frequently Asked Questions
Are Acai Bowls Healthy?
In general, acai bowls are very healthy, especially if you are able to make them at home. Depending on the ingredients that you use, acai bowls can be high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
You can also pack them with healthy fats if your diet has been lacking.
However, it is easy to end up with an unhealthy acai bowl that is high in calories and sugar.
To keep your acai bowl healthy, you should keep your portion size smaller and try to avoid using lots of fruits that are high in sugar.
What Is Acai Made Of?
The powder and puree that you can buy to make an acai bowl at home is made from acai berries. Acai berries are harvested from the acai palm tree which is native to South America.
The berries themselves are like a cross between grapes and blackcurrants. On the outside, they look like blackcurrants, but on the inside they look more like grapes.
What Does Acai Taste Like?
Although acai berries look similar to grapes and blackcurrants, they actually don’t taste like either of these fruits.
People have described acai berries as tasting like a cross between a rich raspberry and a rich blackberry with a hint of dark chocolate.
People who have eaten acai berries in their natural state have described the dark chocolate taste as more of an aftertaste that comes after a while of chewing the berry.
This means that it is less likely to come through in an acai bowl.
However, because the dark chocolate aftertaste does exist in these berries, it means that it is possible to add chocolate flavorings to your acai bowls without ruining the taste.
Using chocolate protein powders or a drizzle of chocolate sauce can make your acai more decadent.
Where Can You Buy Acai?
The places where you can purchase acai from depends on where you live. If you live in a city, it is likely that you will be able to purchase either powder acai or frozen puree from your local grocery store.
This will be the most convenient way to get acai for your acai bowl.
If you live in a more suburban area, you are likely to have to travel to a large grocery store to have a chance of finding acai puree or powder locally.
A large chain grocery store is more likely to stock this than a small local grocery store.
If you live in a rural area that is only supplied by smaller local grocery stores, you might have to resort to ordering acai online.
There are plenty of places that you can order acai from online. It is easier to purchase acai powder online than frozen puree although this is still possible.
It might be a little more expensive to purchase it in this way.
If your grocery store doesn’t stock acai in any form, a local health food shop might stock powder or even pureed acai.
Some local health food stores will order it in if you are willing to purchase enough to make it worth their while.
Making acai bowls at home is a great way to enjoy this delicious dessert (see also “The Easiest And Healthiest Protein Pudding“) in a more healthy and controlled way than if you were to order an acai in a restaurant.
You can also get super creative with your toppings and mix-ins when you make an acai bowl at home. Follow this recipe for the ultimate at home acai bowl.
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