By now, you’ve probably seen or tried every variation of the acai berry breakfast bowl, brimming with goji berries, banana slices, coconut flakes, hemp seeds and cacao nibs. But in Brazil and South America, people eat the purple superfruit in savory dishes like meat marinades and bean stews. Because the rest of the world hasn’t celebrated the acai berry outside of a bowl, we put together some healthy recipes to inspire you to use the violet gems in new ways.
Rich in anthocyanins — polyphenols that help reverse cognitive declines, battle inflammation and fight cancer-causing agents — acai adds health-boosting benefits to any dish. It can round out the flavors in a tangy, herby salad dressing, or tame the heat in a spicy sauce. Check out the mouthwatering and creative acai recipes below.
6 Savory Acai Recipes You Haven’t Seen Before
This colorful salad is a treasure trove of antioxidant-rich foods, including romaine lettuce, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries and nuts. Acai berry adds an extra punch of fruity flavor to the lemon and olive oil dressing and gives it a hint of natural sweetness. Photo and recipe: Organic Burst
Acai is the key ingredient in this Brazilian-inspired barbecue sauce, which also features sweet piquant peppers, red wine vinegar and chili powder. Tempeh soaks the barbecue sauce right up to make a meaty burger (without the actual meat, of course) that even beef lovers will want to keep eating. Serve with yellow squash, avocado and romaine lettuce for a well-balanced dish. Photo and recipe: Sambazon
You’ll feel like you’re eating a piece of pie in this berry-full chicken salad. Blueberries and strawberries make jewel-like toppings, and acai juice and raspberry jam form the base for the flavorful dressing. Health-boosting apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard balance out the sweetness by lending some tang. Photo and recipe: Tara Noland / Noshing With the Nolands
If you’re looking for an easy and comforting weeknight meal, the meal prep for this pork loin dish is super quick. Simply mix smoked paprika, mustard powder, garlic powder and oregano to prepare a robust spice rub. Then, using a food processor, pulse the chopped pecans until it forms into a flour that coats the pork loin. Pop the pork loin in the oven until it’s nicely golden on the outside. Photo and recipe: Marilyn Chudda and Ludmilla Ramos / Brazilian Flaire in the USA
This savory breakfast is a nice change of pace from the usual acai smoothie bowl. Pumpkin puree offers a thick, creamy finish, as well as fiber and beta-carotene, while persimmon provides lycopene and lutein. Top with some granola for a hearty crunch. Photo and recipe: Andrea Giang / Cooking With a Wallflower
Jalapeno, lime and hemp protein turn this magenta dream into a zesty smoothie. Acai, banana and pineapple sweeten things up and infuse this creamy drink with essential vitamins and fiber. Hemp protein also adds a dose of heart-healthy fat to make the smoothie extra filling. With this breakfast beverage, you won’t go hungry until lunch. Photo and recipe: Blender Advisor