Last week my son asked me to take him to the juice bar near our house. Despite having opened more than a year ago and featuring very trendy smoothie bowls on its menu, we still hadn’t ventured inside.
Two smoothie bowls and $18 later, I discovered why the juice bar is an occasional treat and not a replacement for my morning coffee.
“I can do better,” I whispered to myself.
And really, it was so, so easy. The great thing about smoothie bowls is that you can customize them based on your personal preferences, and if you have a well-stocked pantry (or even an okay-stocked pantry) you can make one as soon as you finish reading this.
I did make a trip to Trader Joe’s to purchase the açaí puree but you know what? One of my kids didn’t want an açaí base so he used … one of those squeeze packets of pureed fruit. The kind you find in the baby food aisle.
So what’s a smoothie bowl? Have you ever had a fruit and yogurt parfait? Swap out the yogurt for a pureed fruit base and you’ve got a smoothie bowl. That’s why I already had most of the ingredients on hand. Fruit and yogurt with granola is one of my breakfast staples.
Most smoothie bowls use açaí puree as a base. Açaí berries, a so-called “superfood,” are high in fiber and –according to some — have greater concentrations of antioxidants than other berries. Regardless, the berry makes for a sweet and colorful addition to your bowl.
I purchased a package of frozen, individually-portioned açaí puree from Trader Joe’s for $4.49. I threw one packet of the frozen puree into my blender, along with a frozen banana, a handful of chia seeds, and some almond milk. Blended together, it formed the base for two smoothie bowls.
You can add other ingredients to your base. If I’d had kale, I would have thrown some in. If you want more protein, add a spoonful of nut butter. For a creamier base, add a bit of yogurt.
Once my base was done, I divided it into two bowls. I topped them with cherries, blueberries, dried coconut, cacao nibs, and granola.
The finished product looked and tasted like the one I’d paid $9 for, and was made to my specifications using gluten free granola (which wasn’t available at the juice bar) and in-season cherries (ditto).
My kids, who are 11 and 14, followed my lead and made their own smoothie bowls. So, we learned two things from this experiment:
- You don’t need to leave the house and spend $9 to get a trendy, superfood-packed smoothie bowl.
- Tweens and teens can make this on their own, no adult help necessary.
Like my chia nectarine pudding, this is an easy breakfast or post-run snack. You can even top it with a bit of whipped cream and enjoy it for dessert on a hot summer evening.
Açaí smoothie bowl
Those trendy smoothie bowls you see at your local juice bar are easier to make than you think. Start with a fruit puree base and top with fruit and mix-ins you have on hand.
- 1 3.52 oz. package frozen açaí puree
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 handful chia seeds
- 1 splash almond milk
- fresh or dried fruit, granola, and/or nuts of your choice
Place the frozen açaí puree, banana, chia seeds, and almond milk in a blender and puree until well-blended.
Divide puree into two bowls. Chill in freezer if necessary.
Top with fresh or dried fruit, granola, and/or nuts.
This is a pretty basic smoothie bowl recipe, made with ingredients I already had in my kitchen. Feel free to change up the base by experimenting with different fruit purees and adding greens, nut butters, and/or yogurt if desired. Tip: If you can't find frozen fruit puree at your local grocery store, the baby food aisle at the is also a good place to find pre-made fruit purees.