I think we can all agree that the beloved trend of beautiful smoothie bowls is here to stay. There’s nothing as refreshing as a nice cold smoothie bowl packed with nutritious fruits and veggies to put some pep in my step, not to mention all the fun you can have with toppings! The options are endless when it comes to these magical meals. From all textures and colors of the rainbow, eaten for any meal of the day, and modified for every different taste and diet, new and exciting smoothie bowls are popping up in the kitchens of first time chefs and gourmet food stylists alike.
Lately, I have been trying my hand at concocting some equally nutritious, delicious, and easy to look at smoothie bowls. Health nut that I am, I tend to be hyper aware of the nutritional value of my smoothie bowls, which brings me to their downfall. There is no question that smoothie bowls are chock full of the best foods for your body, but unfortunately too much of anything can be a bad thing. As a novice smoothie bowl creator trying to get the perfect color, consistency, and volume in a smoothie bowl can lead to packing in unnecessary amounts of banana, avocado, nut butters, sugary fruits, or whatever ingredient you use to beef up your bowl. This process has the potential to yield a highly deceptive final product containing tons of hidden calories, fats, and sugars. Luckily, mother nature has provided us with some nutritious and low calorie alternatives to give your bowl that extra oomph without negating the nutrition or taste of your beautiful bowl:
Drum roll please…….
Zucchini and Cauliflower! Before you dismiss these as the perfect fillers thinking that they will ruin the flavors of your smoothie bowl, let me assure you that you can’t taste either of them at all. Seriously, at all. Since neither of these vegetables have particularly loud flavors, they are ideal for bulking up your bowl without altering the flavors you work so hard to achieve. They both have different and wonderful qualities that can add the perfect body to your smoothie in a pinch, so I like to keep tons of chopped up frozen zucchini and cauliflower on hand at all times.
Frozen zucchini makes a perfect base for a light, fresh smoothie bowl that won’t weigh you down or absorb and mask other subtle flavors. Since they’re mostly just water, you can toss in basically unlimited amounts of zucchini to make a high volume, low calorie smoothie bowl. I particularly like to use them for green smoothie bowls, or bowls where I am already including avocado or other creamy ingredients so that the texture is well balanced. Cauliflower, on the other hand, is the perfect counterpart for zucchini in that it builds a smoothie bowl to a thicker consistency that will balance out overpowering flavors. For fruity smoothie bowls, cauliflower is my go-to base even over banana because of it’s low sugar content that allows me the freedom to include more berries or flavor building, characterizing fruit.
Considering the terrific qualities that both zucchini and cauliflower bring into the mix (literally), I rarely find it necessary to choose between the two. More often than not, my smoothie bowls will include varying proportions of both of them! Having both of them on hand is extremely convenient because it gives me the freedom to throw in a couple extra frozen zucchini slices or cauliflower florets if I want to alter or thicken my smoothie just slightly. Part of beauty of these two awesomely healthy smoothie bases is their accessibility, they are available at basically any supermarket year round! We all know that the proof is in the pudding (or the smoothie in this case), so go ahead and play around with these two magical ingredients and have fun testing out different combinations and consistencies! Keep it creamy or keep it icy, but whatever you do, keep it simple and keep it WHOLE 🙂