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Açaí Bowls Put the Power in ‘Power Bowls’

upper view of an acai bowl smoothie topped with blueberries and granola

Deep in the Brazilian Amazon basin, a berry peaks out from its palms. At a closer look, the purple delicacy seems to be a cross between a grape and blueberry and begs to be tasted. The açaí plant, pronounced “ah-saw-ee,” treats the Earth’s inhabitants to its delicious fruit rich with antioxidants.

The berry’s claim to fame came when it made its way out of the jungle in the 1980s and took its place as the must-have breakfast bowl in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Often blended with bananas to add a healthy and thicker consistency, the bowls were an instant hit. 

Simply put, the açaí bowl is a smoothie poured into a bowl with some fruit on top. But, it is so full of antioxidants and enriching toppings that it is commonly referred to as a “power bowl,” thicker than a smoothie and eaten with a spoon to enjoy.

Açaí bowl ingredients: papaya, açaí puree, strawberries, mango and bananas. Also in the photo is an açaí energy drink. Photo by Katie Mitchell.

Close to 40 years later, the açaí bowl, or a variation of it, can be found on most health shop and brunch menus. Known for its weight loss properties and detoxing side effects, the berry has made its mark on the health foods scene. While common in smoothie bowls, açaí is also found in vitamin capsules, powders and energy drinks.

Often topped with fresh fruit, honey, granola or seeds, the bowls are a filling and energizing way to begin the day. And, not only is it a treat when out on the town, it is easy to make at home. Depending on the needs of the breakfast eater, the bowl can be adapted to add energy boosts to the meal or extra protein.

The bowls are easy to make. The breakfast genius making them only needs a blender, knife, bowl and a spoon.

Açaí can be purchased at most grocery stores in the frozen fruit or frozen breakfast food aisle and comes pureed. These are great because it is simply one less step for an easy breakfast. While at the store, pick up any fresh or frozen fruits you enjoy to blend with the açaí puree. Some delicious pairs are orange juice, mixed berries, papaya, peaches and coconut.

While it is okay to buy frozen fruits to blend, it is also important to pick up a pack of fresh fruit to throw on top of the finished product. Granola or chia seeds are also great toppings, finished off with a honey drizzle.

For an energizing bowl, add orange juice, mixed berries, bananas and the açaí packet. Once blended to a thick smoothie consistency, top the mixture with fresh fruit, granola, chia seeds and honey. Pour a nice glass of orange juice and the day is off to an easy start.

If protein is desired, add a nut butter, the açaí packet, bananas, any protein powder, spinach and either milk or orange juice. Once finished blending, add fresh fruit to the top, chia seeds and granola.

Açaí bowls are a fun idea for hosting friends, bringing as a dish to an event (with the toppings on the side for people to choose) and can even be easy breakfast meal preparation for the week. Enjoy!

ENERGIZING RECIPE FOR TWO SERVINGS:

upper view of an acai bowl smoothie topped with blueberries and granola
Açaí bowl: papaya, açaí puree, strawberries, mango and bananas. Photo by Katie Mitchell.

Ingredients:

  • Two packets of açaí puree
  • Two cups of bananas
  • Two cups of your choice of frozen fruits
  • One cup of your choice of liquid (a form of milk or orange juice go best)
  • Fresh fruit to top with
  • Granola
  • Seeds of your choice
  • Honey

Directions:

  1. Blend açaí, bananas, frozen fruits and liquid until thick, even consistency is reached. This usually takes 2-3 minutes.
  2. Pour into favorite bowl.
  3. Slice and add favorite fresh fruit to bowl.
  4. Sprinkle on granola and drizzle on a layer of honey.
  5. Eat and take on the day.

PROTEIN RECIPE FOR TWO SERVINGS:

Ingredients:

  • Two packets of açaí puree
  • Two cups of bananas
  • Two cups of your choice of frozen fruits
  • One cup of your choice of liquid (a form of milk or orange juice go best)
  • Two TBSP of nut butter
  • Two TBSP of protein powder
  • Handful of spinach
  • Fresh fruit to top with
  • Granola
  • Seeds of your choice
  • Honey

Directions:

  1. Blend açaí, bananas, frozen fruits, nut butter, spinach, protein powder and liquid until thick, even consistency is reached. This usually takes 2-3 minutes.
  2. Pour into favorite bowl.
  3. Slice and add favorite fresh fruit to bowl.
  4. Sprinkle on granola and drizzle on a layer of honey.
  5. Eat and feel powerful.

College Avenue reporter Katie Mitchell can be reached at collegeavenue@collegian.com or on Twitter @thxpal.