Steps To A Perfect Smoothie Bowl
Guys, I have a problem. I’m obsessed with smoothie bowls.
I’ve been posting them on my Instagram (and subsequently my Facebook and Twitter as well) for somewhere over a month now and I’m constantly coming up with new combinations. I love the way they look, the way they taste, and how easy they are to prepare.
Easy? Yes. Although garnishes can make them look more complicated than they actually are, it really doesn’t take me much longer to prepare a bowl than it does to blend everything together for a smoothie that I’m going to gulp down as quickly as it took to make it.
I want to break down how I make my smoothie bowls and show you guys that it’s really very simple and a wonderfully creative process that anyone can do.
First, I think about what flavors I am craving that day. Depending on when I’m having the bowl, I also decide if I want there to be extra protein in it as well. If I’m making it immediately after a workout, then I like to add in some protein powder.
Most of my smoothies break down into two categories:
- Green smoothies
- Fruit smoothies
My green smoothie bowls also have fruit in them, but not the other way around. If I am making an all-fruit smoothie, I skip the greens.
I break my recipes down into three main categories: Main Ingredient(s), Liquids, and Thickeners.
The main ingredients are what flavors I want to stand out and what creates the base of the smoothie.
- Vegetables (yes, vegetables. Try throwing a zucchini into your next smoothie. You can’t even taste it.)
Spinach is obviously the mildest green and blends perfectly with other fruits and vegetables. Greens like kale need to be sweetened with fruits such as bananas or pineapple to help neutralize the taste (unless you like it). I buy giant bags of Power Greens from Costco that have a blend of spinach, chard, and baby kale.
These are the liquids that you add to your smoothie to get it to the desired consistency. Some smoothies require more than others and you’ll be able to figure out how much you want to add by taking into account the other ingredients.
- water (regular, coconut, etc)
- dairy or non-dairy milk
- sweeteners: maple syrup, vanilla
Keep in mind that some fruits have more water content than others. A smoothie bowl made with oranges, for example, will require less extra liquid than one with bananas or mangoes.
I like my bowls very thick, almost like pudding, so I usually add one or more of the following ingredients in order to get to the desired consistency:
- chia seeds (usually 2 Tbsp)
- powders (protein, powdered peanut butter, etc)
- ice (frozen fruits help kill two birds with one stone)
- oats (use sparingly or they will turn it into a solid mess)
- yogurt (greek helps with thickness, regular or coconut may act more like a liquid)
Order of Operations
In order to maximize blending and minimize mess, I follow this order of operations when adding things to my blender:
- main ingredients
Avoid putting things like powders on the top, especially on top of a pile of greens. As the blender starts, it will spray the powder around and you may have to stop to scrape or brush the entirety of it into the mixture. Heavier things like fruits and vegetables will blend just fine on top of greens and will help push them down into the blade.
NOTE: If you’re not sure how much liquid to add, remember that less is more. You can always add more liquid if your smoothie is too thick, but you won’t be able to take it out if it’s too watery. Try doing an initial blend and evaluate the consistency. If you need to thin it out, add a little liquid at a time. If worse comes to worse, you’ve made a smoothie and can just drink it instead of using a spoon.
This is where the real beauty of the bowl comes for me. If you want to take a million pictures like I do, then you can figure out which toppings you want to include and artfully display them on top of the bowl. If you’re just trying to scarf it down like I also tend to do, it doesn’t really matter what it looks like.
The possibilities are endless for what toppings you want to add. I started a running list of ingredients on my phone that is by no means exhaustive, it’s just what I could think of during a few minutes when I sat down to brainstorm.
My favorite topping is granola because I love the crunch that it adds. By far, my favorite granola is any flavor by Purely Elizabeth, which I usually get at Whole Foods, but can be found in a variety of stores.
If you’re looking for flavor inspiration, check out some of these places for ideas:
Also think about some of your favorite flavor combinations. I made a peanut butter and jelly smoothie bowl after craving a sandwich but not having any bread. I’ve also been thinking about desserts I like and how to make them into smoothies. I’m currently perfecting key lime pie (so close), and recently shared a carrot cake bowl recipe on Instagram.
Whatever you make, have fun with it. There are a million possibilities and pretty soon you will be making delicious bowls. Let me know what you come up with!
Also, if you’re interested in reading actual recipe posts for some of my bowls, let me know and I’ll work on getting some posted!
- What are some of your favorite flavor combinations?
- Have you made a smoothie bowl before?
- What are some ideas you’d like to see?