When Ninja decided to hold auditions for the role of Smoothie Bowl Sommelier, the company’s first-ever smoothie bowl expert, Gillean Barkyoumb, MS, RDN, answered the call. As the Smoothie Bowl Sommelier, Barkyoumb crafts custom smoothie bowl recipes with the Ninja Foodi Smoothie Bowl Maker and Nutrient Extractor, helping consumers and fellow smoothie bowl enthusiasts rethink what a blender can do. The best part? Now you can create a professional açaí bowl in your kitchen.
“Over the past year, people have spent more time in the kitchen than ever before. With that came a newfound kitchen finesse and passion for creating indulgent smoothie bowls,” says Barkyoumb, whose food philosophy focuses on simplicity and convenience to build balanced meals. “From Instagram feeds to home kitchens, colorful smoothie bowls are becoming a breakfast staple in the U.S.and I am thrilled to be in this new role and help craft thick, drool-worthy smoothie bowls.”
Here are the best tips and tricks for creating the perfect smoothie bowl, straight from the Smoothie Bowl Sommelier herself. Happy blending!
Fresh or frozen?
Don’t fret if your favorite fruit isn’t in season yet. Barkyoumb likes to use both fresh and frozen ingredients, noting that frozen vegetables can add to the thick texture of your smoothie bowl while fresh fruit toppers provide a balance.
“It’s also a great opportunity to use up any overly ripe foods like bananas or avocado. Just cut them up, freeze them, and then pop them into your next smoothie bowl creation,” she adds.
Study the mechanics
For those of us who are just starting out in the kitchen Ninja’s Auto-iQ programs allow you to create one-touch bowls. Barkyoumb also recommends the Ninja Foodi Smoothie Bowl Maker and Nutrient Extractor for its smartTORQUE technology, which is designed to power through heavy ingredients at high speed without stalling, making the creation of a smoothie bowl quick and easy.
Let your tastebuds be your guide
“Stick with flavor combinations you already love–whether that’s chocolate peanut butter or strawberry banana. You can get really creative with the toppings, too,” notes Barkyoumb. When choosing toppings, she suggests using a variety of tastes and textures. “Crunchy, sweet, savory, fresh, dried, shaved, crumbles, or all of the above, just be sure to prep your toppings and non-frozen ingredients before taking out your frozen ingredients, so they don’t start thawing before you make your bowl. ”
Incorporate a protein
Protein powders like whey or a plant-based alternative are easy to add to your blend. For those who prefer something with more of an evident taste, Barkyoumb recommends drizzling a nut butter on top of the bowl. Aim for 15 to 20 grams of protein.
Practice makes perfect
“If you follow my Smoothie Bowl Formula of Protein + Fat + Fruit + Greens, you can create a delicious smoothie bowl that is a balanced meal packed with fruits, veggies, and protein,” says Barkyoumb, who loves adding frozen spinach or frozen riced cauliflower to her bowls. The combinations are endless.
For her inaugural smoothie bowl recipe, Barkyoumb channeled her inner child and was inspired by her favorite fruity cereal. (Get the recipe for her “Cerealously Fruity Smoothie Bowl” and a spice and everything nice “Cinnamon Swirl Smoothie Bowl,” below.)
Shake it up
Tired of the same old banana and berry mix? Think outside the blender and be a little more adventurous with your additions, like the below unique — and weird — ingredients:
- Citrus peels: Yes, the whole fruit stars as an ingredient. The peels of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit pack a punch of extra fiber and vitamin C into your morning smoothie. Just make sure most of the pith is removed to avoid unwanted bitterness.
- Avocado: One of the worst things in the world is missing the window of ripeness for an avocado. If you time it right, this healthy fat will give your smoothie a buttery and creamy milkshake consistency, without the taste that accompanies it.
- Cauliflower: Because it’s white, it won’t alter the color of your smoothie (that yucky purple mud color from mixing too many berries and greens), but it will create a creamy texture. Pre-cooking the cauliflower will add to the creaminess.
- Sweet potato: Ever stroll down the baby food aisle and pick up one of those little smoothie packs? Chances are it’s a healthy combo of fruits and veggies, with a star ingredient: sweet potatoes. Adding this vegetable will incorporate antioxidants and potassium without tasting like a Thanksgiving side dish.
- Rose petals: Switch up the fruity notes for floral with the addition of rose petals. The antioxidants in the flower petals have been shown to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. You can also substitute rose water or rose tea, which should work just as well.
- Ricotta: Looking to swap out your Greek yogurt? Try ricotta. You’ll get all the protein you’re looking for plus a milder taste, allowing you to get creative with your sweeteners, should you so choose.
- Bone broth: Perplexed? Us too, however, bone broth is renowned for its magical healing powers, so why not benefit from our morning beverage? Bursting with rich vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and collagen, bone broth can aid in digestion, bone, and joint health and can even help you lose weight. *Adds to blender.*
- Cayenne pepper: While cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, mint, and parsley frequent appearances in smoothies, the herbs and spices with a kick tend to be forgotten. Adding cayenne pepper to the blender is a solid choice for gut health, healing upset stomachs, and reducing gas pain. Try mixing it with cocoa for a Mexican Hot Chocolate smoothie.
Cerealously Fruity Smoothie Bowl
Prep: 5 minutes
Container: 14-ounce Smoothie Bowl Maker
Blend Time: 1 to 2 minutes
Makes: 1 serving
¼ cup frozen strawberries
1 frozen banana, cut in 1-inch pieces
¼ cup frozen cauliflower, riced
1 tablespoon coconut cream
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Favorite fruity cereal
Fresh strawberries, sliced
Fresh banana, sliced
- Pour coconut milk in the 14-ounce Smoothie Bowl Maker, filling to the liquid fill line.
- Add frozen strawberries, frozen banana, cauliflower rice, coconut cream, and vanilla protein powder, filling up to — but not exceeding— the max fill line.
- Install the blade assembly.
- Select bowl to begin blending. While blending, continuously twist the built-in tamper counterclockwise.
- After blending, remove blades from the bowl maker.
- Transfer smoothie to a bowl and top as desired with fruity cereal, fresh strawberry slices, fresh banana slices, and/or shredded coconut.
Cinnamon Swirl Smoothie Bowl
Prep: 5 minutes
Container: 14-ounce Smoothie Bowl Maker
Makes: 1 serving
1 frozen banana, quartered
1/2 cup frozen carrots
¼ cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons vanilla Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Vanilla Greek yogurt
- Pour almond milk into the 14-ounce Smoothie Bowl Maker, filling to the Liquid Fill line.
- Add frozen banana, frozen carrots, rolled oats, vanilla Greek yogurt, and cinnamon up to, but not exceeding, the Max Fill line. Install the blade assembly.
- Select “bowl,” then twist the Built-in Tamper counterclockwise continuously while blending until the program is complete.
- Remove blades from the bowl after blending.
- Transfer smoothie to a bowl and top with cinnamon, vanilla Greek yogurt, chia seeds, raisins, and sliced almonds.