By Alina Abidi
In the past year or so, acai bowls have been popping up on Instagram, Snapchat and in different restaurants here in Palo Alto. And though the bowls can be a sweet, filling and relatively healthy brunch option, they can get pricey at around $8 a bowl. Here’s how to make them in your own (dorm) kitchen! (Not to mention that some of these ingredients are snaggable at your local dining hall.)
What you’ll need for the base: an acai berry pack, a few heaping spoonfuls of yogurt, a ripe banana, a few spoons of frozen berries and a spoonful of peanut butter
You can find acai packs at Costco, Whole Foods, Sprouts and Safeway for about $1 a pack. The pack itself suggests adding juice or a non-dairy liquid (like coconut water or almond milk), but I’ve found that yogurt makes the bowl creamy and easier to blend.
Making a bowl or smoothie is a great way to use slightly overripe bananas, which add more natural sweetness. One to two bananas will work depending on your preference. Frozen berries give the bowl its rich, purple color and I always buy them in bulk for smoothies. Any frozen fruit, like pineapple or mango, would work. Finally, I love adding peanut butter for extra protein and flavor (think peanut butter and jelly), but be careful not to add too much.
Which toppings to use: a few spoonfuls of granola, ½ a banana, assorted berries and other fruit
Granola adds a nice crunch to the otherwise smooth bowl. If you don’t have granola, you can use cereal. Chop up any fruit you have into a bite-sized pieces for the top of the bowl, but berries are always a good option. I always use bananas, because I’ve found that their taste and texture complement the smoothie base and crunchy granola perfectly.
Blend all base ingredients until smooth. If you’re making this for just yourself, using a small, personal blender is easiest. The base should be a thick, smoothie consistency. If the color is too light, add more frozen berries.
Assemble your bowl. Add and arrange your toppings of choice and eat (or serve) immediately. Acai bowls are more filling than you’d imagine and make a great post-hike or pre-study snack!
Contact Alina Abidi at alinafabidi ‘at’ gmail.com.