Acai (pronounced “ah-sigh-ee”) is a tiny berry that grows on the acai palm tree and is native to Central and South America. The flavor is sometimes described as a combination of red wine and chocolate.
When used in a green smoothie, acai is best used as an accent flavor to other tropical base fruits like banana and papaya (base fruits give smoothies a creamy texture). It also blends well with non-tropical fruits like apples, pears, red grapes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries and pomegranates.
Add cacao (raw chocolate) for a decadent, rich indulgence. Try young coconut in an acai smoothie too.
Acai Nutrition and Health Benefits
Acai berries are praised for their super high antioxidant content and possible disease-fighting phytonutrients. However, the wild claims from supplement makers that acai juice and powders can reverse diabetes, cure cancer, and promote weight loss are unfounded and overhyped.
When it comes to the antioxidant load of acai juices and powders, they are well within the range of other local fruits. Studies have shown that the juice from concord grapes and black cherries, as well as red wine, contained more polyphenol antioxidant content than acai juice.
Acai berries are low in sugar in their whole form which is good news for those of you on a low glycemic diet.
Green Smoothie Recipes Using Acai
Chocolate-Acai Green Smoothie Recipe with Strawberries
I love blending raw cacao (chocolate) with frozen acai puree in a green smoothie. Acai has a slight chocolaty flavor so they pair nicely together.
The strawberries in this green smoothie recipe sweetens the chocolate and acai, while providing an extra dose of antioxidants. Of course, you can’t go wrong with strawberries and chocolate!
- 1 banana, peeled
- 1 pouch pure acai berry puree
- 1 scoop protein powder (I use NutriBiotic vegan rice protein)
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 6 medium strawberries
- 8 ounces homemade almond milk
Calories: 287 | Fat: 8g | Protein: 9g | Carbohydrates: 43g | Calcium: 13% | Iron: 3.6mg | Vitamin A: 93% | Vitamin C: 110%
Apple-Acai Smoothie Recipe
They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, if you blend that apple with some antioxidant-rich acai berries, you’ll have quite the potent doctor repellent.
If you want, you can add some mild-flavored greens to this recipe like romaine or green leaf lettuce or fresh baby spinach. Avoid blending with kale or dandelion as the bitter flavors won’t be effectively masked by the apple and acai.
- 1 apple, cored
- 1 pouch of pure acai berry puree
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 8 ounces almond milk
Calories: 239 | Fat: 6g | Protein: 4g | Carbohydrates: 36g | Calcium: 6% | Iron: 0.4mg | Vitamin A: 119% | Vitamin C: 23%
Cherry-Acai Green Smoothie Recipe
This deliciously simple smoothie recipe is loaded with antioxidants. Cherries and acai berries blend beautifully with banana to create a refreshing and nutritious indulgence.
Cherries are among a few foods that contain melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate your body’s sleep patterns, and studies show that it may also play a role in preventing memory loss.
- 2 small bananas, peeled
- 1 pouch pure acai berry puree
- 1 cup fresh of frozen cherries
- 4 ounces of filtered water
You can easily turn this recipe “green” (although it will come out brown) with the addition of your favorite leafy green. Boost the mineral content with a handful of fresh baby spinach, fresh baby kale or be adventurous with some bitter, cleansing dandelion greens.
Calories: 357 | Fat: 7g | Protein: 6g | Carbohydrates: 75g | Calcium: 7% | Iron: 1.1mg | Vitamin A: 42% | Vitamin C: 44%
How (and Where) To Find Acai Berries
Unfortunately, for those of us who live in North America and Europe, acai berries are not available in the produce section. Instead, we have to rely on juices, extracts and powders, often sold in the supplement section of health food stores.
Since juices are not a whole food and powders are highly processed, the nutrient content of acai has been significantly altered and reduced in these products. The lack of nutritional potency and flavor you get from these altered products does not justify the high price you pay.
Because of this, I only use frozen acai puree in green smoothies because it tastes better and has more nutrients. I love Amafruits acai puree. Their acai is high quality and comes in 3.5 ounce (100 gram) packets. Simply take one out of the freezer and add it to your green smoothie. You’ll get a real serving of acai and a chilled smoothie all at once!
I prefer the unsweetened Acai for green smoothies! They also have a slightly sweetened (naturally) version – Acai with Guarana – “Traditional Mix”.
Browse more green smoothie recipes.