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Acai Isn’t Just for Smoothie Bowls, Try it in These Gluten-Free Roasted Vegetables

You’ve seen the brightly colored Brazilian berry in smoothie bowls, but we’re taking acai for a savory spin in this gorgeous root vegetable dinner bowl.

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Before acai bowls became popular in North America, they were trending in Brazil where this superfood berry originated. Known there as acai na tigela, meaning acai in the bowl, these thick, icy acai mixtures are typically sold in a cup or a bowl and eaten with a spoon. But despite the fact that acai is now widely known in North America, it’s still primarily used in smoothie bowls and smoothies. But like any flavorful berry, acai can be used for savory dishes too, such as in this Acai-Balsamic Glazed Roasted Vegetable Bowl.

Why acai?

Hailing from the Amazonian rainforest, this berry is rich in antioxidants, fiber and plant-based omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids. It contains a type of antioxidant called anthocyanins, plant pigments that have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. They are typically sold in packets in the freezer aisle of your grocery store.

A savory twist

Acai is ubiquitous in smoothie bowls, but it’s rarely used in savory contexts – until now. In this gorgeous vegetable bowl, we’ve combined sweet acai with balsamic vinegar for a bit of tang along with garlic, rosemary and other pantry staples for a delicious coating for roasted root vegetables. We’ve used a medley of sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets and turnips, but use any vegetables you have on hand. 

We serve these sweet and tangy acai vegetables over quinoa and with pine nuts over top for a nutty flavor. This acai vegetable bowl works well on its own, or you can amp up the protein with tempeh, shredded chicken or salmon. Also play around with toppings for more flavor and crunch like sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds or pistachios. 

Acai will always have a place in smoothie bowls, but you’re going to love taking it for a savory spin in this sweet-tart acai vegetable bowl.

Acai-Balsamic Glazed Roasted Root Vegetable & Quinoa Bowl

Servings
6

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup thawed frozen acai purée
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 6 large garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 2 tbsp finely minced rosemary leaves
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 large parsnips, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 golden beets, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 turnip, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup packed finely chopped baby spinach leaves
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (or chopped cashews or pumpkin seeds)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease two large, rimmed baking sheets.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine acai, vinegar, oil, honey, garlic and rosemary. Whisk to combine well. Add sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets, turnip and onion to bowl, and stir or toss to coat evenly.
  3. Spread vegetables in single layer on baking sheets. Roast 10 minutes. Stir vegetables and rotate pans for even cooking. Continue roasting 15 to 20 minutes more, until vegetables are just tender. Remove baking sheets from oven and stir in spinach.
  4. To serve, divide quinoa among bowls. Mound vegetables on top, and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Nutrition Information

  • Calories 390
  • Carbohydrate Content 55 g
  • Cholesterol Content 0 mg
  • Fat Content 16 g
  • Fiber Content 8 g
  • Protein Content 9 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 2 g
  • Sodium Content 80 mg
  • Sugar Content 15 g