Let's talk açaí, shall we? It's refreshing, energizing and delicious. It just keeps increasing in popularity around the world. Açaí is also jam-packed with good nutrition such as antioxidants, fiber, heart-healthy fatty acids (Omega 3, 6 and 9) and over 10 different vitamins and minerals. It grows in the Amazon on tall slender palms that can become more than 82 ft ( 25 m) in height. And who wouldn't be seduced by its intense purple color?
I first tried açaí while on holiday in Brazil. For the first few days in Rio de Janeiro, I remember going for breakfast in the morning ordering something ordinary such as a croissant and a juice. We soon noticed that the locals ordered what looked like a thick purple smoothie, served in a bowl and topped with strawberries and granola. I knew I had to try it. Starting the day with açaí quickly became one favorite routine on our trip along the Brazilian coast. It kept us energized and nourished for the day ahead, and it was just so delicious!!
It makes me smile thinking about it, since açaí has since become so popular all over Europe and US, but back then it truly felt like a unique discovery of Brazilian culture.
Since returning from Brazil, my obsession with açaí hasn't faded and I love trying new places serving spectacular açaí bowls. What I have discovered is that not one place makes açaí like the other. Outside of Brazil, the best açaí I have tried has been here in San Francisco and in LA. Personally, I like my açaí simple. Not too many superfood add-ins, and a real pure taste of açaí.
Now, how do you best make this insanely delicious breakfast or snack?
1. Use a good quality frozen açaí pulp (if you can't find açaí pulp where you live, use frozen blueberries and a freeze-dried açaí powder).
2. Keep it simple, use 3 or max 4 ingredients for the base and experiment with your favorite toppings.
Serves 2 small portions or 1 large
100 g frozen açaí pulp (or substitute 1 cup frozen blueberries and 2 tsp açaí powder)
3 ripe bananas (sliced and frozen for at least 8 hours)
1/2 cup (120 ml) apple juice
50 g frozen fruit (I like pineapple, mangos or berries) (optional)
1. Defrost your frozen açaí pulp by holding the package under room temperature tap water for up to a minute.
2. Use a scissor to carefully cut open the top of the package, and break the bar into smaller chunks as you add the pulp to a high-speed blender.
3. Add in the frozen bananas, any extra fruit/berries and apple juice.
4. Begin mixing on low speed and increase the speed until smooth and creamy. (In a Vitamix, this takes a couple of minutes with the tamper.)
5. Add to your bowl(s) and top with your choice of toppings, eg. homemade granola, desiccated coconut, berries, hemp seeds etc.
I love to eat açaí for breakfast or to fuel up after a good workout. Running, hiking, dancing, yoga, whatever you do - this superberry baby never goes out of fashion. Enjoy!