I’m a sucker for a pretty plate of food. Whether I’m being served something delicious at a restaurant or taking extra time to make my dinner look fancy at home, the prettier my food is the more excited I am to dig in. This is the reason why I make smoothie bowls every weekend! They are such an easy breakfast or lunch to throw together with whatever fruits and toppings you have at home. You can sneak in veggies like cauliflower, or superfoods like chia seeds and spirulina and top it with your favorite fruits and nut butters.
Smoothies Vs. Smoothie Bowls
While both are amazing and easy meal options (particularly for Breakfast), there is a difference between a smoothie and a smoothie bowl. First things first, smoothies are typically served in a cup while smoothie bowls are served in – you guessed it, a bowl! The biggest difference between the two is the consistency. You can add whatever you want to a smoothie and end up with an array of textures from milky to icy and they conveniently fit in a cup for an on the go morning. With a smoothie bowl, however, the texture needs be thick and creamy and is best eaten out of a bowl. Creating a thick and creamy texture allows you to top your smoothie bowl with nuts, seeds, fruit, and granola. Ultimately it allows you to eat your smoothie the same way you would eat a bowl of oatmeal. This lets you enjoy a variety of textures from crunchy granola and seeds to fresh fruit and even some chunky nut butter… something smoothie’s just can’t accomplish.
There are tons of options when trying to make a thick and creamy base for your smoothie bowl. We will walk you through 3 varieties that make a thick and delicious base fit for any toppings.
Banana Base – the best and easiest way to make a smoothie bowl is by using frozen bananas. You don’t need much water or milk added to this base. The benefit of banana based bowls is that they are rich in potassium and fiber 1 and will help to naturally sweeten your smoothie bowl with only one ingredient. The downside is that for a nice big smoothie bowl you might need to use between 2 and 4 bananas which might make your bowl sweeter than you want. Check out the recipe for our Tropical Smoothie bowl below for a banana only base.
Yogurt & Fruit – If you don’t want to base your whole smoothie with bananas but still want a fruity flavor with a creamy texture then try using other frozen fruits such as peaches, strawberries or mangoes. By limiting the amount of added liquid and throwing in some yogurt (or plant based yogurt) the consistency will be perfect. Check out our Peach and Greek Yogurt base in the Fruit Nut & Seed Bowl recipe below.
Cauliflower & Zucchini – You can make a delicious smoothie bowl without any fruit at all in your base! This is a great low sugar option. By using mildly flavored vegetables such as riced cauliflower, avocado or zucchini you can start with a bland base and add in cocoa powder, peanut butter, vanilla or any flavor you’d like. We use cauliflower, zucchini and cocoa powder in our Chocolate Lover’s Smoothie bowl recipe at the end of the blog.
Truly the best consistency is made with bananas as a base – they are just the perfect smooth texture that almost resembles ice cream, but the other bases are definitely worth checking out. You can always add in just ½ of a frozen banana to any other base to kick up the creaminess.
The blender you use could have an impact on how smooth and thick your mixture turns out. Using a high-powered blender like a Blendtec or a Vitamix will usually yield the best results. In the recipes below we like to add in about half of the frozen fruit along with all of the liquid. Blend until smooth and slowly add the remaining frozen fruit or veggies. Pre-chop all your frozen fruit or veggies into small pieces to help your blender along the way. If you do end up adding too much liquid you can always toss in 1 tbsp of chia seeds or stick the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to thicken your smoothie base up a bit.
It’s the toppings that set apart smoothies from the smoothie bowls. Now that you’ve created a tasty base that will hold lots of toppings you can start choosing what you want to add. Some of my favorite toppings are: Peanut Butter Homestyle Granola, coconut flakes, fresh fruit, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, nuts and nut butters. You can pack a lot of nutrients into your breakfast this way, in the Fruit Nut & Seed Bowl below there is over 20 grams of protein thanks to those clusters of granola and hemp hearts. While a regular smoothie will usually leave you feeling hungry within an hour or two, these smoothie bowls are truly a meal that will nourish your body with fresh, real food. Even though it doesn’t take much prep time I usually save smoothie bowls for the weekend when I have time to relax and bask in the beauty of my breakfast. If you’re ready to make your very own smoothie bowl but you’re not sure where to get started check out these 3 recipes!
For all the recipes below follow these basic instructions:
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