For as long as I can remember, I have loved having a giant smoothie for lunch or breakfast. But as a meal replacement, I often craved a hint of crunch and chew with my smoothie meal - so I would add toppings like pumpkin seeds or even a crumbled chocolate chip cookie, sliced banana, granola on top or avocado toast on the side. But with smoothie bowls, we really can have all the smoothie bliss with that whole food accent you may crave.
Smoothie bowls take thick and frosty smoothie blends, such as a banana ice cream or a thick green smoothie, a matcha shake, tropical blend or an acai smoothie, and then you load on the healthy toppings.
Now when I say "toppings" I do not mean sprinkles, hot fudge and whipped cream (though healthy spins on each of those could be included!) - I mean superfood fruit, nut, seed, spice, chocolate and more toppings. Now check out my 8 Smoothie Bowl Tips in this super-duper, jam-packed smoothie bowl post..
- Creamy chocolate-maca banana blender ice cream with vegan chocolate sauce, sliced bananas and chocolate shavings.
- Pink banana-berry blender ice cream with sliced peaches, cubed mango, chia seeds and a pinch of cinnamon.
- Creamy purple acai blender ice cream with sliced banana, granola, fresh blueberries and strawberries.
- Thick sweet green tea-peppermint blender ice cream with pumpkin seeds, sliced banana and raw cacao nibs.
- Thick pineapple blender ice cream with coconut shreds, sliced banana, chopped cashews and kiwi.
- Rich nutty chocolate blender ice cream with a swirl of peanut butter and sliced banana on top, a hint of cinnamon.
..you get the idea, yes? Well then, lets dive deeper into the delicious world of smoothie bowls!
Smoothie! It starts with this..
Bowl! To this..
Toppings! Then you play with these..
Can Any Smoothie Be A "Smoothie Bowl" Blend? A few years ago when I wrote 365 Vegan Smoothies, I am sad to say that the "smoothie bowl" had not seeped into my soul enough for me to include one in my book. Though I did talk about adding toppings to smoothies and even included a few recipes with toppings built in, never once did I say "serve this smoothie in a bowl!" So via my blog I am able to reach all you fellow smoothie lovers and say that most smoothies can morph themselves into a smoothie bowl blend. The trick is to minimize the liquid, increase thickness and cool things down to frosty-ice-cream temperatures as much as possible.
That could easily be accomplished by reducing the liquid, adding more frozen ingredients or the usual smoothie bowl base secret ingredient frozen bananas.
Acai.. (recipe at bottom)
8 Smoothie Bowl Tips
1. Maximize Frozen Fruit
Want the frostiest, creamiest, thickest smoothie/blender ice cream bowl ever? You need to add as much frozen fruit as possible and as little liquid as possible in order to blend. Using a high speed blender like a Vitamix, or a food processor is a must for a very thick blend.
My usual go-to frozen fruit items for smoothie bowls:
- frozen bananas (frozen when they are black-speckled and ripe)
- frozen watermelon
- frozen acai
- frozen pitaya
- frozen blueberries
- frozen mango
....and on and on.
Important! Really pay attention to when you are freezing your bananas. A smoothie made using under-ripe bananas, or even perfectly ripe bananas will not be a sweet and delicious as one using slightly overripe bananas. You need those peels to have black specks on them before you open the peel and freeze the nanners.
Perfect bananas for freezing..
2. Prep Fresh Fruit Toppings Before You Blend.
A smoothie bowl is a delicate thing and will start to melt the minute you pour it into its serving bowl. So having your fresh fruit, nuts, seed toppings pre-prepped will have you diving your spoon into that frosty-deliciousness faster - allowing for more time eating a frosty cold smoothie bowl.
3. Making it Colorful.
As a general rule, I add at least three different toppings to my smoothie bowl, to serve. These can range from fresh banana slices to chopped Brazil nuts, sliced peaches, whole blueberries and on... Adding at least two fresh fruit ingredients with different colors will ensure your smoothie bowl is colorful upon serving. And more Instagrammable .. if you are into that sort of thing.
4. Serving Utensils.
Smoothie bowls are delicate creatures. They have character and charm. Whimsy and cheer. Personality! So whatever you use to devour your bowl should match up and have a little smoothie bowl personality of its own. I love wooden spoons, tiny silver spoons with etched designs on the spoon face or stem, or even tiny disposable wooden ice cream taster spoons can be fun if you are serving your bowls with friends or taking them outside. I love Etsy for finding super cute spoons with stamped in text.
5. The Perfect Serving Bowl.
Finding the perfect smoothie bowl can be a challenge and is a very important step in your smoothie bowl success process. Having a few go-to smoothie bowls will make your smoothie bowl making time a lot easier. Your bowl is an important step in your smoothie bowl delivery.
A bowl that is too thin may let the smoothie melt way too quickly. A bowl that is too shallow may have the same problem, exposing too much warm air at once. A bowl that is too narrow or deep may have too little space on top for adding all those goodies and toppings. A bowl that is too slick like glass or shiny porcelain can make your smoothie slosh around too much. A bowl that is too small will not hold enough smoothie AND toppings. And a bowl that is too large doesn't work either. You see we have a serious Goldilocks situation going on here.
I love using a thick wooden bowl for a smoothie bowl. I also love using a thickly rimmed large cereal bowl, that is not too deep, but deep enough. For taking photos, I like colors that compliment the smoothie, pastels or earthy tones, or just white. Something rustic and textured is very nice too. Charcoal, black, aqua or interesting blue colored bowls can also be pretty.
(Note: tips 4 and 5 may seem silly to you at first, but we eat with our eyes and bowl + spoon really do make an impact!) :)
6. Those Toppings.
Here are my favorite smoothie bowl toppings to add..
- Chopped nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans...)
- Seeds (hemp, pumpkin, flax, chia..)
- Sliced banana
- Cacao nibs or dark chocolate shavings
- Grated citrus zest (lemon, orange, lime..)
- Sliced tree fruit (peaches, apricots, plums..)
- Diced apple or pear
- Diced mango or papaya
- Dried coconut
- Sliced Medjool dates
- Drizzle of coconut milk
- Softened nut butter swirled over top
- Citrus slices
- Pinch of spices (cayenne, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg...)
7. Keep Things Cool
Frozen Fruit Surprise: If you have a serious melting problem or high heat temps, line your serving bowl with a layer of frozen fruit or even non-dairy milk or coconut water ice cubes if you get desperate. This will really help keep things frosty while you eat.
Freezer Bowl: If you are using a glass or "chillable" bowl, place it in the freezer for a few minutes, or longer, before you add your smoothie goodies. This will help keep everything chilled and frosty while you eat.
Serving cloth: I usually take a clean + pretty dish towel or large cloth napkin and wrap it under my smoothie bowl to serve. This helps because I am usually holding my bowl as I eat, so my warm hands don't melt things. And in general it helps insulate the bowl, no matter where you put the bowl when you eat - table etc. Plus, a towel can add more pretty color to accent the smoothie colors.
Some of my favorite superfood add-ins to blend into my smoothie include:
- maca powder
- vegan protein powder
- extracts (peppermint, vanilla..)
- cacao powder
- mushroom powders (flavorless!)
- matcha green tea
- hemp seeds or powder
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
- spices (cayenne, cinnamon, turmeric..)
Need smoothie recipes? Buy my cookbook 365 Vegan Smoothies
Kathy's Blueberry-Melon Acai Bowl
This super frosty-sweet smoothie bowl is a treat to try! Fresh fruit flavors and nutty toppings too.
- 1 1/2 frozen bananas
- 2 acai frozen smoothie packs
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup frozen watermelon
- 1/2 - 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/2 banana, sliced
- 1/2 peach, sliced
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 3 Brazil nuts, chopped
- Prep the toppings before starting the blending process. Set aside. Get your bowl, spoon and optional cloth ready too.
- Add the non-dairy milk to the blender like a Vitamix, starting with 1/2 cup. Add all the frozen fruit and start blending from high to low. Add more liquid in splashes as needed to blend. Blend until frosty, thick and smooth.
- Scoop the smoothie into the bowl and add the toppings over top.
- Serve right away!
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 03 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 03 mins.
Total time: 6 mins.
Tags: dessert,snack,lunch,breakfast,smoothie,shake,vegan,smoothie bowl,raw,fruit,bananas,
What do YOU love adding to your smoothie bowls?
*disclosure: This post contains a Vitamix affiliate link. Ready to buy the best blender ever? Get free shipping by using my link!