This week, I’m throwing it back to a couple favorites for breakfast and dinner. So many of you have tried the açai breakfast bowl either in person at a food demo or on your own at home. Lunch this week is a brand spanking new recipe! The sweet, crunchy, explosion of pomegranate juice from the seeds combined with the chewy texture of the pearl couscous in this dish make it the perfect light and filling lunch recipe. Hope you enjoy!
Açai Smoothie Bowl
As mentioned in the original post, açai is just in the beginning phases of research in terms of nutritional benefits. Currently, research is focusing on the antioxidant properties of the fruit (think: protection against cellular damage). According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), a division of the NIH, preliminary studies have shown this fruit to have blood sugar and cholesterol lowering effects in overweight individuals.
Adding fiber, protein, or a healthy fat source to this recipe will prevent your mid-morning slump after eating this naturally sweet recipe. Hemp seeds, coconut flakes, flax seeds, and nuts/nut butters such as almond and peanut butter are all great fat sources to add to your smoothie bowl. Fiber helps provide satiety as well. You can find this in the skin of fruit or in whole grains. Adding some whole grain bran flakes to your bowl is a great option for turning this into a well balanced breakfast.
- 1 pouch açai puree packet, thawed
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup frozen fruit
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- Sliced almonds
- 1/2 Peach, pitted and sliced
- Chia seeds
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 Banana, sliced
- Add the açai and frozen fruits to the blender. Blend. The mixture will be thick at this point. Add the almond milk in parts and blend slowly, making sure not to thin the mixture out too much. Blend on the lowest setting. I like mine really thick, like – too thick to drink through a straw – thick. If there are chunks of fruit still left, blend and smooth it out more.
- Pour mixture into a bowl.
- Top mixture with almonds, peach, chia seeds, coconut flake and banana slices.
- Sprinkle cinnamon and drizzle agave or honey on top, if desired. Serve immediately.
*Use whatever toppings you would like. The recipe lists the ingredients used in this particular picture. Go with your cravings but keep it nutrient dense.
Couscous Pomegranate Salad
Pomegranates add just the perfect little crunch to this recipe. They also add fiber and Vitamin K. Since they are mostly made up of water, it can be a hydrating little snack on its own. Chickpeas contain fiber and folate and are a low fat option for a vegan topping. Adding arugula adds calcium, magnesium, folate, vitamin A and potassium. Let’s get cooking because I guarantee you’ll love this dish!
- 1/2 cup pearl couscous, uncooked
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup chickpeas
- small amount of feta for topping (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- splash of balsamic vinegar
- salt, to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- handful of fresh arugula
- Cook couscous according to packaging instructions. Once cooked, transfer into large sized bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the arugula. Toss together until well mixed.
- Add arugula to well mixed couscous mixture. Serve in bowls because everything taste better in a bowl.
Maki Tuna Bowl
This bowl is packed with phytonutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, beta-carotene, vitamin C and plenty of other health-promoting nutrients.
Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that may help lower cholesterol levels and support heart health¹. Tuna and salmon are great sources of polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats also improve blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease¹. Avocados are great sources of monounsaturated fats.
The base of the bowl is quinoa. You can use any grain you want really. I just had quinoa already prepared. This dish might work better with brown rice or even a 50/50 mixture of brown and white rice. Whatever you have on hand is fine. If quinoa isn’t your thing, aim for a whole grain like brown rice. Whole grains contain all three parts of the grain (bran, germ, and endosperm), where are refined grains, like white rice, have been stripped off the bran and germ. Unfortunately, this is where all the nutrients are housed. Including whole grains as part of a healthy diet has been shown to help reduce cardiovascular disease, lower body weight and reduce incidence of diabetes².
- 1/3 pound sushi grade Tuna (if you want to make this completely vegan, swap this out for edamame)
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 mango, sliced
- 1 jalapeno, sliced and deseeded (unless you like it spicy)
- 1 red pepper, sliced or julienned
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced or julienned
- 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- Pickled ginger (optional)
- Wasabi (optional)
Literally layer all of these on top of the quinoa any way you want. Then eat it. All of it.
*That red sauce in the middle of my bowl is gochujang sauce. I’ve only ever had it on bibimbap, a Korean dish. It doesn’t typically go with this dish but I really wanted it so I added it. You can buy gochujang paste at your local Asian market. I’m not going to share the recipe quite yet because I haven’t mastered it and have not consulted with a Korean individual on how to properly prepare it.