I don’t know what the weather is like where you all are, but up here in central/northern BC, it’s like we’ve skipped over spring and moved right on in to summer. The snow is long gone, the flowers are in in full bloom, and today it’s 25 degrees Celsius! Hell, I already even have tan lines from wearing capri pants, and it’s only May 2nd. Needless to say, hot bowls of oatmeal are not what I’m craving for breakfast these days. Nope, it’s all about the cool and refreshing smoothies. Which is perfect, because I just so happen to have a smoothie bowl cookbook to review!
Smoothie bowls are something I’ve seen all over the interwebs for a few years. I’ve admired their beauty, as they allow you to decorate with an array of tasty toppings. I’ve never really tried them out though, since I’m usually blending up a smoothie so I can run out the door on my way to work. But when I was offered the opportunity to check out the new cookbook 200 Best Smoothie Bowl Recipes by Alison Lewis, I figured it was time to get over my need for portability, and get all trendy with the smoothie bowl. If nothing else, I figured it would give me some pretty Instagram photos (spoiler alert – it did).
I was impressed to see the book didn’t have a lot of jibber jab at the beginning, spewing a whole bunch of pseudo-nutrition information, or waxing poetically about superfoods that drain your wallet. Yes, there is a bit of nutrition talk, but no crazy health claims, and I did see the word superfood in their more, but I could deal with it. The intro is fairly concise, with tips on how to choose a blender, how to stock your smoothie pantry, how to choose your toppings, and even some troubleshooting if your smoothie bowl goes horribly wrong. Then you get to dive in to the wide world of smoothie bowls!
I’m not gonna lie, it can be a little overwhelming looking through 200 smoothie recipes, and deciding what you even want to try – there were lots of great sounding combinations (Frosty French Toast? Chilled Tiramisu? Yum!) There were recipes to suit everyone’s needs – dairy-free, nut-free, vegan, etc. So I tried to pick ones that I had most of the ingredients for, because clearly if I already buy those ingredients, I’m more likely to make those recipes. Plus I’m all about not wasting food. I figured to get a really good grasp on what makes a smoothie bowl so great compared to just a smoothie, I needed to try out a bunch.
My first attempt was the Peach Paradise (listed as a Kid-Friendly Smoothie). It combines peaches, banana, pineapple, and milk. This didn’t quite turn out as well as I hoped. I didn’t chop up my frozen fruits enough, which seemed to make my blender mad, so I ended up adding way more milk than the recipe called for, so my consistency was off, and well, it was just okay. As you can see, my strawberry and coconut topping quickly sunk into the bowl, leaving me with a less than picture perfect smoothie. At least it tasted good.
Next up I went with the Green Coconut Bowl (filed under Green Creations), since I love all things green and coconut. As you can see, I was a bit more successful in getting my toppings to stay afloat. I will let you in on a little secret – I froze the bowl for a bit before adding the toppings. To be fair, that is one of the author’s tips. I still had to add a little more liquid than the recipe said (1/4 of a cup is not really enough), but I was able to stay true to the recipe otherwise. And it was a mighty tasty bowl!
So then I decided to try the Complete Breakfast Smoothie Bowl, because for me, smoothies are almost always consumed as a meal. This one contained Greek yogurt, flax seed, banana, and peaches. Simple, tasty, but a complete breakfast it is not. Honestly, if I had eaten just the quantity of ingredients listed for 1 serving, I would have been starving an hour later. Even with my granola/almond butter/dried cherry topping.
My favourite of the bunch was the Pomegranate Berry Bowl (an Anytime Smoothie Bowl), because not only did it taste awesome, but look at that colour! So stunning! Again, this was not filling enough for a meal (just fruit and juice), but it was refreshing and bursting with sweet-tart flavour from the pomegranate juice and frozen berry mix.
I think my overall complaint with 200 Best Smoothie Bowl Recipes is that many of the smoothies aren’t complete enough for a meal replacement, either because they are too low calorie, or don’t have enough substance to them. When I build myself a smoothie, I like to include lots of produce, some protein, and some healthy fats so that I’m fuelled for my day. And while you have the opportunity to add some of those things via toppings, I’d rather they just be in the smoothie. Not to mention I really like the portability of a smoothie, and smoothie bowls don’t exactly have that going for them. That being said, I like the inspiration the book has given me for flavour combinations and other ingredients. And maybe one day I’ll try out some of the dessert smoothies bowls for a fun treat.
So while I’m not a smoothie bowl convert, it was fun to experiment with the concept. And because it was just so damn pretty, here’s the recipe for the Pomegranate Berry Bowl! Happy Blending!
Pomegranate Berry Bowl – from 200 Best Smoothie Bowl Recipes
makes 1 serving
- 1/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
- 1/2 frozen banana, cut into pieces if necessary
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup raspberries
- 4 ice cubes
- sliced banana
- pomegranate seeds
- dried mulberries
- chia seeds
1. In blender, combine pomegranate juice, banana, blueberries, raspberries and ice. Secure lid and blend (from low to high if using a variable-speed blender) until smooth.
2. Pour into bowl and top with any of the suggested toppings, as desired.
Note: Instead of using ice cubes, I used frozen berries. Because why water down the taste if you don’t have to!
Disclaimer – This cookbook was provided to me free of charge to review for the blog. All opinions and photos are my own. Recipe reprinted with permission.