Dive into this thick and creamy vibrant vanilla acai bowl made vegan and loaded with plenty of fun toppings.
Smoothie bowls are a healthy and easy way to turn a smoothie into a heartier meal. They are decadent, filling and healthy all at once. This smoothie bowl is thick and creamy but 100% dairy-free. It is also vegan, soy-free, nut-free and gluten-free making it something that everyone can enjoy.
Making smoothie bowls at home is way less expensive than store-bought. Most smoothie bars charge $10 a bowl nowadays. Plus, homemade smoothie bowls aren’t loaded with sweeteners. This recipes uses two dates to keep it refined sugar-free and not overly sweet.
I love smoothies in all forms, but when I make a smoothie bowl I sort of feel like I’m having ice cream with fun toppings. My kids love it too. I double the recipe when they want in on the action and pour mini-smoothie bowls for them. They love to pick their own toppings and I love that they are getting excited about hemp seeds, chia seeds and berries. Have you ever seen a 21 month old and a 3 year old discuss who got the most pomegranate seeds? It is a scene.
I’m sure by now everyone has heard of acai and all the magical health claims associated with it. I thought I would lay out the facts here. Acai (pronounced ah-sah-EE) is a berry fruit that comes from the palm trees in the rainforests of Brazil. It it touted as a superfood and is known for having high levels of antioxidants. There have also been claims that acai increases energy levels, improves digestion, detoxifies the body, improves skin, improves heart health, improves sleep and reduces cholesterol levels. It has even been claimed to reverse diabetes and other chronic illnesses although this has not been proven. So, we can get excited about getting antioxidants but it is not something that is going to cure you and make you magically lose weight. I love its slight chocolate flavor and I love adding another berry for variety sake to my diet.
Acai is small and round and typically available dried or as juice. You can also purchase it frozen to use in smoothies such as this one. I bought my frozen acai packets at Whole Foods and they are available at most natural food stores. The individual packets make it easy to throw one into your smoothie. Acai can be expensive so if you do not want to spring for it or cannot find it at your store you can substitute another 1/2 cup of frozen berries in this recipe.
If you give this smoothie bowl a try, let me know by leaving a comment and rating it! And don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #eatingbyelaine on Instagram so we can be acai smoothie buds. Cheers!
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- 2 dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoons chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder
- 1 acai frozen packet (100 grams)
- 1¼ cup frozen berries (I do ½ cup raspberries, ½ cup blueberries, ¼ cup frozen strawberries)
- ½ cup unsweetened vanilla plant-based milk (I use almond but you could use coconut, hemp, rice or oat if you are allergic to tree nuts)
- Topping Ideas: chia seeds, hemp seeds, strawberry slices, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cacao nibs, nut or seed butter, pomegranate seeds, currents, granola, drizzle agave, chopped dates
- Soak the pitted dates for 30 minutes in boiled water. This step simply softens the dates and helps the blender blend them smooth. If you have a Vitamix you can skip this soaking step as the machine is powerful enough on its own to blend the dates smooth.
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender in the order they appear (dates go in first on bottom and milk goes in last). Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy. Because this is a smoothie bowl it will be super thick. You may need to use your tamper to get things going. If you do not have a tamper you can manually scrap down the sides. Or, you can wait for the frozen fruit to thaw out a bit so it blends easier. If you prefer a thinner smoothie you can add more milk. If you prefer a thicker smoothie and your blender can handle it, add more frozen fruit ¼ cup at a time.
- Pour the smoothie into a small bowl. Top with your desired toppings. In the picture above I used two small sliced strawberries, a small handful of blueberries, ½ tablespoon hemp seeds, ½ tablespoon chia seeds and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and cacao nibs. Using a spoon enjoy immediately.