Sometimes (okay all the time) an acai bowl can just hit the spot. In Los Angeles this purple bowl of amazing is commonplace, but it can be expensive to buy at stores or impossible to come by in other US cities. Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is one of the latest so-called superfoods to hit it big in the Western World even though it has been consumed widely in Brazil for decades. Originating from deep in the Brazilian Amazon, the grape-like berry grows on top of palm trees native to rainforests in Brazil and the Amazon basin, and is one of the most sustainable products harvested in South America.
Some of the studied health benefits are:
- Increase in energy
- Helps improve digestion
- Helps detoxify the body
- Helps promote circulation
- Contains vital vitamins and minerals (Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E)
- Rich with antioxidants
I had heard about acai the first time when my brother Leif studied in Brazil for a few months and came back raving about acai bowls. It’s “a smoothie/softserve like a bowl of purple heaven” I was told. But my proper introduction to this heaven-like bowl came from the true Masters of Acai: the founders of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, The Gracie family. My boyfriend’s (Phil Torres) Brother-in-law Rener Gracie made this video showcasing how to make his Acai Super Bowl. Take a look… I’m pretty sure he gets all his energy from the acai.
“DaaAAanng”… After sharing a few bowls with the family, I must say I even crave the bowl for dinner. I might even say I could eat it for lunch or dinner every day, just as the Gracies do. It’s so easy to make and something about it makes me feel like I’m doing something so right for my body, perfect just after a workout.
Here is what how I made my Acai bowl.
- 1 Amazon Acai frozen packet (found near the frozen berries in Whole Foods)
- 1/2 cup of frozen organic dark purple grapes
- 1/2 frozen Banana
- 1 small organic apple
Place all the ingredients in the blender and pulse/mix until it resembled a soft serve like consistency.
Poor into a bowl, then top with your favorites like: granola, hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut flakes, dried fruit, raisins, banana slices, and nuts.
Acai Bowls seem to be most popular in the hot summer months… not in my house. Since it is now fall, it felt right to top an autumn acai bowl with homemade pumpkin granola. No reason not to keep the antioxidant-rich purple bowl of heaven around for all the seasons.
Silja’s Pumpkin Granola
- 3 Cups Gluten free Oats
- 1 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds
- 2 Tbs Ground Chia Seed (optional)
- 1/4th Cup Coconut (or ghee)
- 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup (plus a little more if you prefer a sweeter granola)
- 2 Tbs Vanilla
- 2 Tbs Pumpkin Purée
- 1 Tbs pumpkin spice (I like my granola super spicy but you can do less if you prefer)
- 1 tsp Cinnamon (optional, because some pumpkin spices need a little more)
- Note: You can add additional nuts like pecans or walnuts to fit the fall theme (my boyfriend is a allergic so I left them out- he totally owes me).
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a medium sauce pan on medium heat add coconut oil, pumpkin purée, and Maple syrup. Stir until everything is blended then remove from heat.
- Combine all other ingredients into a mixing bowl.
- Add the liquid ingredients from sauce pan to the mixing bowl and stir everything together.
- If you think you think you could use some more sweetness, add maple or coconut sugar.
** You can add more vanilla and spices if you like a little more flavor.
- Once the Granola is mixed, pour everything onto a cookie sheet and spread evenly.
- Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, removing the mixture to stir and toss twice during baking.
- Take out oats when everything is golden brown or toasted.
- Remove from oven and let cool and enjoy! (store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks)
Top your acai bowl or enjoy with milk or greek yogurt 🙂