Make the Best Smoothie Bowl Ever (Recipe: Carrot Cake Smoothie)

A smoothie bowl, also known as an acai bowl, provides all the healthiest smoothie ingredients you are used to, in a thicker smoothie with delicious toppings. It not only changes the way you eat smoothies, but is great for replacing other breakfast items like cereal or oatmeal, but providing just as many nutrients. Here is an easy formula to follow when building the perfect smoothie bowl.

Start With Your Fruit or Veggies

Like all smoothies, you want to start by choosing your fruits and veggies. Vegetables don’t need to be included in every smoothie, but adding some kale or spinach is a good idea when you want a greens smoothie or simply one with added nutrition. For the fruit, try to choose frozen fruit, since it helps to thicken up the smoothie and keeps it from turning to a thin liquid too quickly. You want your smoothie bowl to be nice and thick so it is easy to eat with a spoon. While you can use any fruits you want, here are some popular options:

* Bananas
* Strawberries
* Blueberries or raspberries
* Mango
* Honeydew melon
* Watermelon
* Papaya
* Cantaloupe
* Cherries
* Apples
* Oranges or lemons
* Pomegranates
* Mangos

Add in a Thickening Ingredient

Next up is the thickening ingredient! Many people choose to make this their main source of protein in the smoothie base, such as yogurt, protein powder, or even tofu if you like it. Nut butter is also an excellent choice, such as peanut butter or almond butter. You can also make this a traditional acai bowl by adding an acai packet to the base. These either come in a freeze-dried powder or frozen smoothie pack, which help add nutrition, flavor, color, and thickening to the smoothie. You can usually find them at health food stores, though your regular grocery store might also have them.

Choose Your Liquids

All smoothies need at least a little liquid since it helps the blender to break up the fruit and other ingredients. Just be sure to add less liquid than you normally would for a smoothie. If you are watching the sugar and calorie content of the smoothie base, using water works just fine. You can also use coconut water or coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, or any type of dairy liquid. You may also want to use some fruit juice for added flavor, but be careful not to add too much. If you end up adding a little too much liquid, just add in more fruit and thickening ingredient.

Top it Off!

The last step of the smoothie bowl formula is the topping! You can use one or multiple toppings, depending on how you want to present the bowl. Many bowls use a sprinkle of chia seeds for the interest in color and texture, along with cacao nibs, muesli, granola, or shredded coconut. Any type of nuts or seeds work really well for the top of smoothie bowls, as well as berries and other sliced fruit.

Expert Tips

You know the basics of putting together a smoothie bowl, including how to the make the smoothie itself and what toppings to use. However, there are still some other tips that really bring it to the next level. Here are some tips to follow to continue with the smoothie bowl process.

Add Toppings to the Bottom of the Bowl

In most cases, you are going to add your flavorful toppings to the top of the bowl, not just as an added treat, but so you can create fun designs with your bowl. However, don’t forget about the bottom of the bowl! You might not be able to see the toppings at the bottom, but when you reach the bottom of your smoothie breakfast, you will get an added treat. This is especially fun to do with granola at the bottom, since you will then have granola with almost every bite of fruit smoothie.

Use Fruit Juice Ice Cubes

Using ice cubes in your smoothie not only keeps it cold and frosty, but thickens it up a bit. Instead of just using plain ice cubes, try freezing fruit juice. Just pour your favorite juice inside an ice cube tray, then when they’re frozen, add them to your smoothie. You are able to get the sweet flavor of the juice with the ice itself so you aren’t making the smoothie mixture too watery by adding straight fruit juice to it. Try different flavor combinations, such as pineapple juice in some parts of the tray, with cranberry juice in others. Go for the low-sugar varieties when possible.

Don’t Forget the Healthy Fats!

While you probably don’t want a super fattening smoothie bowl, since that often defeats the purpose of the meal or snack idea, you should definitely include some fats. There are healthy fats that increase the nutrition of your bowl and really add a lot of protein and energy to your day. Healthy fats are ideal for breakfast smoothie bowls, as well as ones you are making after a good workout. For example, you can add avocado to your smoothie bowl to add a rich and creamy texture, throw in some hemp or chia seeds, or add just about any type of nut or seed. Coconut oil is another excellent healthy fat to include.

Use Acai Powder

Acai berries are actually where smoothie bowls are originate from, hence the traditional name ‘acai bowls.’ The acai berries found in the U.S. are usually in powder or paste form, making it easy to add to your smoothie base. The acai powder really helps to thicken the smoothie, along with adding in more flavor and nutrition. Go ahead and find some acai to add to your smoothie bowl.


Carrot Cake Smoothie with Coconut Whipped Cream

This healthy and delicious smoothie tastes more like a decadent dessert than a nutritious way to start the day. The natural sweetness of the orange and carrots are balanced by a trio of complementary spices, while a spoonful of homemade coconut whipped cream serves as the perfect finishing touch.

Tip: For best results, use coconut milk that does not contain guar gum to make the whipped cream.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

Coconut Whipped Cream Ingredients:

1 13.5-oz. can coconut milk, chilled
1-2 T. maple syrup (optional)
1 t. orange zest (optional)

Smoothie Ingredients:

1 c. coconut milk
1 large banana, cut into chunks and frozen
2 large stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 large orange, peeled
4large carrots, roughly chopped
¾ t. cinnamon
¾ t. ground allspice
½ t. ground nutmeg
4-6 ice cubes

Optional Garnish:
Ground cinnamon
Finely chopped walnuts

1. Chill coconut milk in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. To prepare, remove can from refrigerator without shaking or turning and remove lid. Scoop out the solidified “cream” from the top of the can and transfer to a mixing bowl. Reserve remaining liquid coconut milk to use in smoothie.

2. Add maple syrup and orange zest, if desired, to mixing bowl and blend until light and airy. Allow coconut cream to warm up slightly before blending if lumps persist. Cover and place bowl in refrigerator until ready to use.

3. Add the coconut milk and frozen banana to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth, around 30 seconds.

4. Add celery, orange, carrots, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ice cubes. Blend on high speed until completely combined and creamy, approximately 1-2 minutes.

5. Pour into glasses and top with a scoop of coconut whipped cream. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or finely chopped walnuts, if desired, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

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