Whenever my daughter and I take a trip up to London, she always asks if we can go to Pret a Manger so she can grab one of their Acai Breakfast Bowls. We don’t have anything vaguely similar in our home town so it’s a proper treat for her, and I don’t complain as I happen to think they make the best lattes by far (no doubt that’s down to their organic nut milks!). So as you can imagine, after weeks and weeks of lockdown, her desire to get one of these lusted for acai bowls was pretty much taking prime position on her wish list. And I thought “how hard can they be?”.
After a couple of seconds on my old friend, Google, I was on the Pret a Manger website and had tracked down their Acai Breakfast Bowl with its full list of ingredients. Pret use acai puree, which isn’t easy to buy at the best of times, let alone during lockdown. I figured there must be an alternative to this and after a bit more searching came up with the perfect compromise; freeze dried acai powder! If anything, the freeze dried powder alternative is an enhancement rather than a compromise on Pret’s recipe as the act of freeze drying the acai berry traps all the nutrients, whereas a puree is going to be packed with sugar to extend the shelf-life.
So what is the acai berry and what is all the fuss about? Pronounced ah-sigh-EE, these little berries which look rather like blueberries, grow on the acai palm tree which grows in Central and South America. Native Amazonians have been using acai berries for generations owing to their health benefits. Deemed a “superfood”, these little gems contain more antioxidants than either blueberries, strawberries or cranberries. They also contain essential fatty acids such as Omega-3, Omega-6 and monounsaturated oleic acid. So acai is an all-round powerhouse in preventing cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
If you fancy making your own version of Pret’s Acai Breakfast Bowl, here’s my recipe for the acai smoothie. Just add chopped bananas, a dollop of nut butter and a couple of spoonfuls of my gluten free granola (search in recipes) and away you go. Enjoy!
- 1 cup frozen berry mix
- 1 banana
- 2 tablespoons freeze dried acai berry powder
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon organic honey
In a blender, place the berries, banana, acai powder, almond milk and honey. Blend until smooth. Add a dash more milk if required.
Place in serving bowl and top with sliced banana, blueberries, a spoon of nut butter and some of my gluten free granola mix, which can be found under Recipes.