With hot, summer-like temperatures in Los Angeles this past month, I’ve been craving more smoothies and açaí bowls to keep cool. The inspiration for this recipe comes from my favorite spot on the Big Island of Hawaii, Basik Açaí, an organic, all-natural smoothie bar with one menu dedicated to açaí bowls and another to smoothies. Whenever I'm in Kona, I pretty much live there for breakfast and lunch since their healthy açaí bowls taste like rich, creamy ice cream!
It is no wonder açaí is their featured ingredient given its many health benefits—this superfood is chock full of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, trace minerals, b vitamins, iron, phytonutrients, fiber, and more. Like blueberries with their dark pigment, açaí contains the same powerful anthocyanin compounds such as resveratrol that fight free radicals. In other words, this stuff is an anti-aging powerhouse.
While Basik Açaí doesn't give out their recipe, I did some recipe testing and came up with an equally healthy version that has no refined sugar and still tastes like ice cream. Great for breakfast, snack time with kids, or post-workout!
ACAI GOODNESS BOWL Serves 1-2
Base ingredients: - 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk(You can use coconut water or apple juice as many recipes often call for, but remember milk gives it a creamy texture and taste) - 2 packets of frozen açaí (Look for unsweetened açaí such as Sambazon’s Pure Unsweetened Açaí Superfruit Packs) - 1/2 cup frozen blueberries - 1 medium to large banana (room temperature or frozen) or substitute 1/2 cup of fresh/frozen coconut meat for a low sugar alternative
Instructions: 1. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
*Start light with the liquid (milk) and add as you go to reach your desired thickness. Add less liquid for a thicker consistency like ice cream. Add more liquid if you prefer the consistency of a smoothie.
2. Pour into your serving bowl and top with your favorite ingredients: granola, sliced fruit, fresh berries, goji berries, bee pollen, almonds, shredded coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nuts, grated dark chocolate, cacao nibs, pomegranate seeds, drizzled nut butter, honey…
You'll notice I did not add sweetener to the base because the fruit combination is sweet enough for me. Basik Açaí drizzles honey over their bowls before serving. You can do that or add an unrefined sweetener such as honey, coconut nectar, or maple syrup to the base if you desire more sweetness.
This is a "basic" base to start with, and you can build from there depending on your preferences. As you can see from the Basik Açaí menu below, they use different ingredients for each base/bowl such as cashew milk and peanut butter (aka the Banyan Bowl—my personal all-time fave). Check out their menu for inspiration and experiment with adding what you like to the blended base. Boost your bowl with cocoa/cacao powder for extra energy while healthfully satisfying any chocolate cravings, or power it up with protein powder and superfood powders like maca, camu, spirulina, pomegranate etc. One of my friends actually blends frozen cauliflower into her base and swears you can’t taste it.
The possibilities are endless, get creative!
All photos taken at Basik Açaí located in Kailua-Kona, HI.