Food Word of the Week

Açaí [ah-sah-ee]:  The small, fleshy, deep purple berry-like fruit of a Central and South American palm tree.

Origin: Brazilian Portuguese

If you haven't heard of açaí by now, chances are you've been living under a rock — and not a rock anywhere near South America. The açaí berry is indigenous to Central and South America, where it is often found in the Amazon rainforest. This tropical fruit has been praised for its incredibly antioxidant rich properties that also make it improve skin health, help with weight loss and digestion, and even lower cholesterol levels in the blood, just like red wine. But beyond its health qualities, açaí has been celebrated for its beautiful deep purple color and rich taste that make it a stunning base for none other than the smoothie bowl — a phenomenon that is sweeping the world and more importantly, your Instagram feed. When blended, this fruit takes on a thick, creamy texture that is perfect for your morning energy boost. Top it with fruit, granola, coconut flakes, peanut butter and almost anything else for a sweet, healthy start to your day. In the U.S., açaí comes in a frozen puree and can be found in the freezer section of health food stores. Get started with this simple 2-step recipe for an açaí breakfast bowl courtesy of Food Network, which basically only requires a blender and your iPhone to capture your creation before you dive in.

Açaí Breakfast Bowl

Courtesy of Food Network

Ingredients:

Two 4-ounce packets unsweetened frozen açaí puree

1 medium banana

1/2 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons granola

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

Step 1:

Break the frozen açaí up a little by slapping the sealed packets on the countertop or hitting them with a meat mallet. Blend the berries with 1/2 the banana, 1/4 cup of the blueberries and the honey in the blender, stopping to stir and break up the mixture as needed, until it's the consistency of a thick smoothie; transfer to a cereal bowl.

Step 2:

Slice the remaining 1/2 banana. Arrange the slices, the remaining 1/4 cup blueberries, granola, pomegranate seeds and coconut flakes in neat piles or rows on top of the açaí. Then take a photo!