TORONTO – People who crave more crunch and texture in a smoothie are swapping straws for spoons and eating the ingredients out of a bowl.
Colourful smoothie bowls — basically a concoction of a fruit and vegetable puree topped by an arrangement of fresh fruit, nuts and seeds — are artful creations being eagerly shared by their creators on social media.
“They’re beautiful to photograph and people are so into photographing their food these days, sharing it on Pinterest or Instagram, so something that doesn’t require a lot of effort, tastes good and is easy on the eyes, looks good in a photograph, you’ve got a win there,” says registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom.
They’re also a healthy way to eat, says Elaine Nessman, who shares her smoothie bowl creations — strawberry chia, tropical turmeric, carrot cake and mocha almond are some examples — on her blog Flavour and Savour.
“We’ve had it drilled in to us by nutritionists that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for years and years and I can hide healthy ingredients like kale in a smoothie bowl even though I wouldn’t normally have something like that for breakfast,” Nessman says from Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island.
They’re quick to whip up and interesting too.
“I can create a variety of flavour and texture combinations with whatever I have in the fridge or whatever’s in the garden or whatever I’m in the mood for that day,” Nessman adds.
“The other thing I really like is they keep me full for hours because I add a lot of protein-rich foods like hemp and chia into them.”
That satiation factor appeals to Rosenbloom.
“Some people find that when they drink their breakfast, just have a smoothie and they drink it, they don’t feel as full because we tend not to feel full from liquids the way we do from solids or from something that we chew,” says Rosenbloom, president at Toronto-based communications company Words to Eat By.
Rosenbloom often makes smoothie bowls with her children, who put their creativity to the test when it comes to the toppings.
“They’re such a great way to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables, not by hiding them but showing them what goes into a smoothie. You can throw some kale in there, you can throw some fun fruits and vegetables in there and it tastes like a bowl of ice cream with sprinkles.”
Rosenbloom notes smoothie bowls can also help home cooks reduce food waste.
“If you have bananas that are past what I call the bliss point — there’s a day where they’re too spotted and too sweet and they taste funny — those are perfect for putting in the freezer and throwing into smoothies.”
When making the smoothie base, put liquids in the blender first, advises Alison Lewis, author of “200 Best Smoothie Bowl Recipes” (Robert Rose Inc.), from Birmingham, Ala.
“If you just throw in some fruit and some kale and start blending, you’re probably going to hear your motor struggling. You really have to have that Greek yogurt or liquid on the bottom and build as you go up.”
Add protein or cocoa powder or flax or chia seeds with the liquid. Next add frozen fruit, then softer fresh fruit like strawberries or blueberries. Stop and start the appliance while adding ingredients to achieve smoothness.
For a thicker smoothie, add one ice cube at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
For garnishes, the sky’s the limit. Lewis decorates with dried fruit, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, granola or trail mix. She makes a smores smoothie bowl with vanilla frozen yogurt and cocoa syrup topped with mini marshmallows and crushed graham crackers.
WATCH: Smoothie recipes