Have you ever scrolled through you Instagram feed and spent hours looking at beautiful, absolutely gorgeous smoothie bowls? I know I have!
Every time I looked at these smoothie bowl pictures, I thought to myself "that looks too difficult, and "I'm not willing to buy all the ingredients to make something that might fail". The times I did attempt these, a fair share of my smoothies did not look pretty or appetizing. Instead, I was left with bowls of slush and a lot of effort gone to waste...BUT, what if I told you that the process is actually relatively easy and inexpensive? Finally, after lots of experimenting, I found a way to get these right.
Here are some hacks I picked up in my trial and error process of making the perfect, Instagram-able smoothie bowls! So that you don't have to go through the same trials I did!
Hack #1: How to not break the bank
The freezer is really your best friend in this whole process. You may think to yourself "wow, I have to buy boxes of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries to make one small smoothie", but in reality you can freeze your fruit over time! So as you do your grocery runs and regularly incorporate fruits in your grocery runs, you can set aside some berries to freeze in your fridge for later. This also goes hand in hand for fruits that may be going out of season - snach those mangoes, dragonfruit, peaches, cherries, etc. up quick and freeze some before prices start to get riduculous or they disappear from shelves altogether (I learned this the hard way when I was looking for peaches to top off a ricotta toast back in November). Also, understand that you do not need to buy an excessive quantity of fruits to make your smoothies. One kiwi, one pomegranate, one mango may be all you really need after you narrow down what fruits to top your smoothie off with. For example, I just recently bought one starfruit from my neighborhood grocery for $2, which you may think as kind of pricey for a small piece of fruit. However, I only need a few thin slices for my smoothie, and one startfuit can last me 2-3 smoothies, which really doesn't break the bank!Start with your vision on what you want your smoothie to look like/what fruits you want to top the smoothie off with, so that you are not aimlessly buying all available fruits at once during your grocery run.
Hack #2: Find the right size bowl
Smoothie bowls exist for a reason - they are just the right portion for you to eat. If you start with a deep soup bowl or noodle bowl for example, you will be extremely exasperated at how many bananas you will need to blend to fill up the bowl. A good rule of thumb is to look for a bowl that is less than 6 inches in diameter, and no more than 2 inches deep. The ideal bowl is one with a relatively large diameter (to showcase your fruit toppings!) but very shallow in depth so that you can make a relatively resonable portion for yourself. I have found some good sized bowls from Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie, and Pottery Barn.
Hack #3: Use frozen bananas as the base for your smoothies
There are so many videos on Instagram that feature smooth, creamy looking smoothies. The key ingredient behind these smoothies are (you guessed it) bananas! You'll want to start with 5-6 bananas in a food processor. Add as little liquid to the blend as possible, or maybe 1 tbsp of milk at a time as needed. This will give you the perfect consistency. For that creamy consistency, you may have to scape the sides of the food processor a couple of times for the bananas blend evenly. Adjust the number of frozen bananas based off the size of your bowl. This step may require some trial and error in determining how many frozen bananas you will need.
Hack #4: Freeze your berry toppings for that "frosted" look
Frozen fruit, especially frozen strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries give a beautiful frosted look as they melt slightly after you take them out of the freezer. Before you start making your smoothies, envision what kind of fruits you would like to top your smoothie with. For that frosted berry effect, place a handful of whatever berries you would like to use on a sheet of parchment paper/baking sheet in a frozen shelf overnight. Add the frozen berries last to your smoothie. Come picture time, they will have slightly defrosted for an amazing effect! Also remember that you are dealing with a frozen bananas in smoothie form. In order to retain that creamy consistency, it is best to act fast and add all your toppings as quickly as possible after you transfer the blended bananas to your smoothie bowl.
Hack #5: Instead of using food coloring, try using natural powders
I'm all about avoiding food coloring when I can, and natural powers like blue spirulina, pink pitaya, beet root powder, tumeric, ube powder, etc. are perfect additions to a smoothie! These powders not only look pretty, but also provide great sources of antioxidants, vitamin, protein, and may aid in weight loss! I recenly discovered blue spirulina, and it has been a game changer! I love all the hues you can make with these powders - you can even mix them or adjust the amount you mix in with the smoothie for that perfect shade you like. Some places you can purchase these powders are Rawnice, Unicorn Superfoods, and Rooted.
Hack #6: Freeze the final smoothie bowl for 5-10 min before serving
Last but not least, I recommend that you freeze the smoothie bowl for a couple minutes in the fridge before serving. This will help you avoid that "goopy" consistency and also keep your smoothie looking pretty as ever when you eat it!
I hope you found this helpful! Wishing all the luck and excitement as you try making one of these yourself! For some more smoothie inspiration, check out my Instagram @recipeswithrach.