While the COVID-19 pandemic has kept many of us in our homes and away from the intense summer heat, it hasn’t quelled my craving for my favorite refreshing hot-weather treats.
The last time I ate my go-to Warrior Bowl from South Block on Grace Street is a distant memory, but it’s one I keep recalling as I wish for its fresh and fruity sweetness. Although I am unable to travel anywhere near South Block to fulfill my craving, I have been able to make a similar at-home version of my treasured bowl.
The BBC described bowl food as “somewhere between a canapé and a main meal,” and it’s become mainstream enough that even Prince Harry and Meghan Markle jumped on the bowl food trend when catering their wedding reception in 2018. The appeal of bowl food is the idea of a super-charged, nutrient-dense meal in one bowl, but what initially started as a meal fad promising health benefits soon became the epitome of a youthful Instagram aesthetic, with its vibrant colors and dazzling toppings.
Across styles and palates, bowl food ranges from goddess bowls packed with greens and colorful vegetables to Japanese poke bowls featuring sushi rice and raw fish. However, acai — that’s “ah-sigh-EE” — bowls, in particular, seem to have found their way onto the mainstage, served by massive, popular chains such as Playa Bowls, Vitality Bowls and Pressed Cafe across the country.
Acai bowls all consist of an acai base. Acai is a berry of Brazilian origin in between the size of a blueberry and a grape. The berry is full of antioxidants, calcium and fiber and is thus dubbed a superfruit. Bowls are typically topped with various other fruits, granola, seeds and, occasionally, syrups.
Unfortunately, the freshest of acai bowls can be just as pricey as they are nourishing. South Block’s $11 bowl is not quite so cost-effective for something slightly larger than a canape. There are other ways, however, to enjoy the sweet and slightly tart tang of the acai base and plentiful toppings without guilt-tripping your wallet. The acai bowl I prepare for myself is a quick meal or snack I’ve made several times both in my common room kitchen and at home to brighten me up.
South Block’s master bowl-makers create the Warrior Bowl by blending organic acai, bananas, strawberries and pineapple juice — the base — and top it with strawberries, blueberries, bananas and homemade granola, consisting of rolled oats, sunflower, flax, pumpkin seeds and more. Not only is the bowl super filling for an anytime meal, but it’s also a perfect restorative snack following an intense exercise class.
This recipe is essentially my at-home Warrior Bowl, sans strawberries. Though, of course, getting a little creative with your toppings will make it all your own.
Ingredients for base:
· 1 cup acai puree, frozen
· 1 cup berries of your choice, frozen
· 1 banana, frozen and peeled
· 1 carton vanilla yogurt
· ¼ cup milk, can substitute almond milk or coconut milk
1) To make the acai base, blend frozen acai and berries on high until the frozen chunks are broken up.
2) Cut the banana in half, add to the blender and continue blending the mix on high until the banana chunks are broken up.
3) Slowly start spooning in vanilla yogurt while blending on medium-low as the mixture starts blending smoothly.
4) Pour in the milk and blend on low until the mixture is thoroughly blended.
5) Once the base is complete, pour a generous amount into a bowl.
6) Smooth out the base until it reaches the sides of the bowl.
7) Arrange toppings however you desire on the smoothed acai surface. I put on raspberries, sliced bananas and blueberries. I also use crushed Nature Valley Oats ’n Honey and Nature’s Path Pumpkin Seed and Flax as granola topping.
Isabella Xu is a rising junior in the McDonough School of Business. Homemade Gourmet appears online every other week.