Acai, Blackberry and Cacao Smoothie

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Acai is perhaps the original superfood: This South American fruit gained popularity well before we had even heard of goji berries or chia seeds. The reddish-purple berry looks similar to a small grape and grows on palm trees in the Amazon rainforest. It is reported to contain more antioxidants than cranberries or any other berry and more grams of protein than eggs.

Although the blended fruit shares the same appearance as blueberries, it has a very different flavor. What is most striking about the way it tastes is the earthy, rich and almost cocoa-like tones. It was this hint of chocolate that inspired me to blend it with some raw cacao — another antioxidant-rich ingredient — making this smoothie perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up. If you want more of a chocolate boost, be sure to top it with cacao nibs.

Acai, Blackberry and Cacao Smoothie

*If you don’t have raw cacao powder, you can replace it with unsweetened cocoa powder. Because acai spoils fast, the pulp is only available frozen. Seek out unsweetened varieties so you can benefit from all the health-promoting qualities without the added sugar.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen blackberries

Two 3.5-ounce packs unsweetened frozen acai, broken into pieces

1 frozen banana, broken into pieces

2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups almond milk

1 tablespoon coconut butter or coconut oil, optional

1 tablespoon raw honey

Cacao nibs to garnish, optional

Directions:

Add all ingredients to an upright blender and puree until completely smooth. The mixture is extremely thick and you may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides to get it moving. Pour into glasses and garnish with cacao nibs.

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Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer based in New York City. She is the author of the award winning cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. See more of Amy’s recipes at amychaplin.com.