I remember the first time I had an acai bowl: I was in my freshman year at UC Santa Cruz, so pretty much a million years ago. After a fun night doing what freshman college students do best (hint: not study), some girlfriends and I woke up in need of one thing, FOOD. We had a couple options, our usual cafe for a greasy hangover breakfast or the raved about (and always crazy busy) Café Brazil.
We took our chances with Cafe Brazil.
After a long wait (yes, I remember this painful wait), we were seated. I ordered the Acai bowl and the eggs benedict (freshman 15? more like freshman 25). Of course, the eggs were fantastic, but I remember the acai bowl the best and absolutely understood why it was such a popular item on the menu.
Now, this was before acai bowls became super popular. It wasn't unheard of, but it wasn't a trendy food (yet). But, it's Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz is full of hippies and being healthy with natural foods and oils (and yes, lots and lots of weed).
Sadly, I only ate at Cafe Brazil a couple other times in my FIVE years at UC Santa Cruz (only because it is always so crowded), but I never forgot my first ever experience with an acai bowl.
Now that acai bowls are the most popular power food since the discovery of quinoa, it is EVERYWHERE! What makes the acai berry so powerful? Well, according to the MayoClinic, acai berries contain lots of antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats.
But that's not why I like it (although it is a definite bonus). I just think it tastes SUPER good and has become one of my favorite smoothie additions.
Here is my take on the infamous acai bowl. As with any smoothie bowl, there is no set rules for the toppings. For me, granola, slivered almonds and fresh fruit is a must.
Prep Time: 5 minutes / Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 large acai bowl
For the Smoothie-
2 frozen acai smoothie packets
1 large frozen banana, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk of choice (cow, almond, soy, coconut)- this is a starting point, add more liquid if smoothie is too thick
1/2 cup frozen or fresh berries (blueberries are best)- if using frozen berries, expect to need more liquid.
Fruit. all the fruit.
1-2 tablespoons granola
1 tablespoon chopped nuts
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1-2 teaspoons shredded coconut
Grab your best blender and blend together the acai packets, frozen banana, milk and berries until mixture is thick, creamy and fully blended. If mixture is too thick, slowly add more milk, but only until smoothie just gets moving. The goal is to keep the smoothie as thick as possible. Once blended carefully scoop mixture into a bowl (chilled if you have the forethought. I NEVER do).
Add your favorite toppings, such as those suggested above, or whatever you'd like. The sky's the limit!
Serve with a spoon and eat right away.