Autumn Acai Bowls with Vanilla Bean Cashew Butter.
This one time… I wanted to faceplant into breakfast.
You might remember waaay back when, like um, earlier this year? I was a little crazy over making my own acai bowls. As a total hypocrite I must add – not that I’d ever eaten one from a café or anything – I just started making my own. So I posted a few on instagram and threw them into my monthly favorites but never did a recipe or anything. It started at the beginning of the year and continued up until I oddly decided I didn’t want to eat anything in the universe for an extended period of time – otherwise known in this body as being pregnant – and they never really grew on me again… until now.
At the time, I didn’t do the recipe because I didn’t really feel like it was even recipe worthy. I simply bought these acai puree packs at whole foods, blended the heck out of them (sometimes mixing with frozen coconut meat I can also find at whole foods… yes) and then topping them with berries and granola and crunchy things and bananas and chocolate chips, of course. Because what doesn’t need a few chocolate chips?
That’s the easiest base of the recipe. You can even find them on amazon in bulk and they have sweetened and unsweetened versions. The above is sweetened with evaporated cane juice and I’m a little in love. But the unsweetened is good too – I just may add a bit more fruit. Easiest thing ever.
Then I wanted nothing of extreme temperatures, certainly nothing smoothie-like or cool. Even when I’d see instagrammed photos of acai bowls (because hello – where else are you going to see them? Definitely not here in Pittsburgh.) they would look totally delicious but I couldn’t throw myself back in the game.
About a month ago I really started wanting these for breakfast again – or not even breakfast – more like second breakfast. You know, the most important breakfast. The one that really counts. First breakfast is whatever I can get my hands on quickly because I wake up ravenous these days. It can be cereal or a granola bar or even avocado toast because that takes seconds to prep. But SECOND breakfast gets more thought and therefor a tad more TLC since I don’t want to eat my arm off in the process. Well, at least not most times.
I started craving the tart and thick acai puree, which I sometimes blend with coconut milk and even an occasionally frozen banana – and especially was wanting all of the textured stuff on top.
I mean, if you know me, it’s allll about texture. And that’s what this mess is all about.
Deciding to throw every autumn-like ingredient I had on hand on top of the acai puree was easy enough – I had almost-perfect figs that were ready to eat, pomegranate seeds in the new fall season, toasted coconut because it’s clearly a staple in my life and toasted sliced almonds because, well… toasted sliced almonds.
And! I find that bananas are key in a bowl like this because they add the necessary creaminess that all the tart acai and pomegranate bring.
That’s where the cashew butter comes in too. I often see acai bowls done with peanut butter or almond butter but I wanted to switch it up if only because I find cashew butter to be so decadent and rich and then adding vanilla beans… it just couldn’t get any better. UGH. It is the PERFECT topping for this bowl. I actually refused to use it on anything else just so I could save it for one of these every day of the week.
So even though the weather is getting slightly chilly and most people are taking to hot breakfasts and and warm oats and doing away with iced coffee, I’m still basking in a few more days of this frozen breakfast while I can. And iced coffee. Ummm and ice cream?
I have a problem.
Autumn Acai Bowls with Vanilla Bean Cashew Butter
14 ounces frozen acai puree
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 bananas, sliced
1 cup sliced figs
1/2 cup flaked + unsweetened toasted coconut
1/3 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup toasted almonds
vanilla bean cashew butter
10 ounces raw, unsalted cashews
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
pinch of salt
In a blender, puree the frozen acai puree with the coconut milk and vanilla extract. If your puree defrosted a bit, you can add in an ice cube or two. Puree until smooth and thick and creamy. Serve immediately in two bowls, then cover with sliced bananas, figs, coconut, pom arils and almonds. Drizzle generously with cashew butter!
vanilla bean cashew butter
Add cashews to a high powered food processor and blend until smooth, about 6-8 minutes. Periodically scrape down the sides if needed. Once smooth and buttery, add in the coconut oil and vanilla bean paste, blending and scraping again until totally smooth. Add in salt and blend again, tasting to see if it needs more.
Store in a sealed container, preferably in the fridge. I go by the rule though... if I am going to eat it within 3-4 days, I do not refrigerate!