3 Must-Try Acai Bowl Recipes

Try these antioxidant-rich acai bowl recipes to make a delicious and refreshing breakfast. Blend and top with fresh fruit, nut butters and more.
acai bowl recipe hawaiian fruit

Photo: Corey Ballance

By Layla Khoury-Hanold

See more smoothie bowl recipes here! 

Acai berries (pronounced ah-sai-ee) are the fruits of acai palm trees, which are mostly grown in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest. These small, dark-purple berries pack a nutrient punch with a whole host of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Dubbed by the Brazilians as the “Beauty Berry,” acai berries truly do the body good from the inside out, with health benefits such as increased energy levels, a boosted immune system, improved metabolic function and better hair and skin. Not only is this superfood incredibly good for you, but it’s also delicious (it kind of tastes like dark chocolate!). One of the most popular ways to eat these berries is in an acai bowl, where puréed acai berries are garnished with a variety of toppings, such as sliced bananas, strawberries and granola.

Because acai berries are grown primarily in Central and South America and are highly perishable, fresh acai berries are not readily available in the US. But what are available are pulped and flash-frozen berries, which are perfect for creating your acai bowl base! Look for them in the frozen foods section of your grocery store – Sambazon is one of the most widely available brands. One of the most popular places where acai bowls are enjoyed outside of South America is Hawaii. On a recent trip to Oahu, I found acai bowls to be the perfect post-surf snack, so I’ve taken some inspiration from the island to create these three recipes. Feel free to sub in different nut milks or even add in a scoop of nut butter for added protein, or sprinkle in boosters such as bee pollen and get creative with your toppings!

Acai Berry bowl recipe hawaiian berry recipe

Hawaii 5-0 Rainbow Bowl

Serves: 1
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Using frozen fruit in the acai purée helps to achieve a thick consistency, but avoid adding ice as it can water down the flavors. For the topping, fresh fruit works best, but frozen and thawed can also work in a pinch.

INGREDIENTS:

ACAI PURÉE

  • 1/2 small banana
  • 1 100-g (3.5-oz) pack frozen unsweetened acai berry pulp (TRY: Sambazon Unsweetened Acai Smoothie Pack; before opening your acai pack, run pack under water for 5 seconds to thaw and break the frozen pulp into smaller pieces.)
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

TOPPINGS

  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 kiwi, peeled and sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 small banana, sliced
  • 1/4 cup peeled and chopped pineapple or mango
  • 1/4 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup granola, optional
  • Drizzle of raw honey, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare acai purée: In a blender, add banana, acai pulp, strawberries, blueberries and a splash of milk. (TIP: Add to blender in that order as adding softer ingredients first makes it easier on your blender blades.) Blend on low until larger chunks are broken down, then gradually increase speed, adding a splash of milk at a time, and stopping to scrape down sides of blender if needed. When ingredients have mostly come together and all of milk has been added, blend on high for 15 to 20 seconds more.
  2. Add toppings: Pour acai purée into a bowl and arrange toppings in stripes of their respective color to form a rainbow: from left to right, arrange blueberries, kiwi, banana, pineapple and strawberries. Sprinkle with granola and drizzle with honey (if using).

Nutrients per serving (1 bowl): Calories: 327, Total Fat: 9 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g, Carbs: 63 g, Fiber: 11 g, Sugars: 37 g, Protein: 4 g, Sodium: 106 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

Green Tropicalada Bowl

Serves: 1
Hands-on Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

For an added health and color boost, try adding about 1 teaspoon of spirulina to the acai purée.

INGREDIENTS:

ACAI PURÉE

  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup fresh kale
  • 1/2 small banana
  • 1 100-g (3.5-oz) pack frozen unsweetened acai berry pulp (TRY: Sambazon Unsweetened Acai Smoothie Pack; before opening your acai pack, run pack under water for 5 seconds to thaw and break the frozen pulp into smaller pieces.)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (TIP: Instead of almond milk, you can substitute a mix of ¼ cup coconut milk combined with ¼ cup water.)

TOPPINGS

  • 1/2 small banana, sliced
  • 2 tbsp peeled and chopped pineapple
  • 1/4 cup granola, optional
  • 1 to 2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • Drizzle of raw honey, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare acai purée: To a blender, add spinach, kale, banana, acai pulp, mango and a splash of milk. (TIP: Add to blender in that order as adding softer ingredients first makes it easier on your blender blades.) Blend on low until larger chunks are broken down, then gradually increase speed, adding a splash of milk at a time, and stopping to scrape down sides of blender if needed. When ingredients have mostly come together and all of milk has been added, blend on high for 15 to 20 seconds more.
  2. Add toppings: Pour acai purée into a bowl, then add toppings and drizzle with honey (if using).

Nutrients per serving (1 bowl): Calories: 344, Total Fat: 13 g, Sat. Fat: 6 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g, Carbs: 55.5 g, Fiber: 10 g, Sugars: 31 g, Protein: 8 g, Sodium: 153 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

peanut butter chocolate acai bowl

Peanut Butter Loco Moco

Serves: 1
Hands-on Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This acai bowl recipe takes its name from Loco Moco, a popular, protein-dense Hawaiian breakfast dish that features white rice topped with hamburger patties, fried eggs and gravy. This cleaned-up breakfast packs plenty of protein with peanut butter along with a vitamins and minerals boost from the almond milk and berries. You can also add a scoop of your favorite protein powder for an added protein spike!

INGREDIENTS:

ACAI PURÉE

  • 1/2 small banana
  • 1 1/2 tsp natural unsalted peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 100-g (3.5-oz) pack frozen unsweetened acai berry pulp (TRY: Sambazon Unsweetened Acai Smoothie Pack; before opening your acai pack, run pack under water for 5 seconds to thaw and break the frozen pulp into smaller pieces.)
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (TIP: Instead of almond milk, you can substitute a mix of ¼ cup coconut milk combined with ¼ cup water.)

TOPPINGS

  • 1/2 small banana, sliced
  • 1/4 cup granola, optional
  • 2 tsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tbsp cocoa nibs
  • 1 1/2 tsp natural unsalted peanut butter
  • Drizzle of raw honey, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare acai purée: To a blender, add banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder, acai pulp, strawberries and a splash of milk. (TIP: Add to blender in that order as adding softer ingredients first makes it easier on your blender blades.) Blend on low until larger chunks are broken down, then gradually increase speed, adding a splash of milk at a time, and stopping to scrape down sides of blender if needed. When ingredients have mostly come together and all of milk has been added, blend on high for 15 to 20 seconds more.
  2. Add toppings: Pour acai purée into a bowl, then add toppings and drizzle with honey (if using).

Nutrients per serving (1 bowl): Calories: 419, Total Fat: 24 g, Sat. Fat: 8 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6.5 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6.5 g, Carbs: 48.5 g, Fiber: 15 g, Sugars: 19.5 g, Protein: 10 g, Sodium: 111 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg 

Layla Khoury-Hanold, of Glass of Rosé, is a NYC-based food writer and blogger whose obsession with food started early. As an American growing up in Tunisia, the Congo, France, Scotland, and Indonesia, she counts escargots and foie gras among her first memorable meals. Her beverage of choice is a glass of rosé (no surprise there!) and nothing makes her swoon more than a luxurious plate of pasta or a freshly baked pain au chocolat. When she’s not eating or cooking, she’s documenting her food adventures: follow her on Twitter: @glassofrose and Instagram: @theglassofrose. She has contributed to Saveur.com, CityEats New York, Our Town Downtown and New York City’s Crowdsourced Dessert Guide (BiblioCrunch).

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