While living in Rio, one of my afternoon rituals was to grab an açai com banana from one of the juice stands right after a beach run. Sounds dreamy right? (I hate running but you add an ocean and some sand and I'll be there.) Now, sometimes I would have it an hour or two before my run. It makes you feel invincible! There's a ridiculous amount of energy that you get from açai (it's also usually prepared with guarana which packs on the caffeine.)
I've since tried açai outside of Brazil and it just isn't the same. Either it doesn't travel properly or the ingredients added to it just don't mesh well. I'm not sure why. So I've been exploring alternatives. How can I get that energy rush from açai without all the disappointment in flavour? The answer is...protein balls! Surprising, right?
This recipe is made with hemp protein (so it's vegan) and açai powder. It's not as sweet as a traditional cup of açai but it does the job. The cacao also brings out a chocolatey flavor in the açai that you wouldn't otherwise have. Most importantly? It travels well! So you can have these pre-workout or after anywhere, anytime.
INGREDIENTS - BALLS
INGREDIENTS - BALL COATING
If you want to soak your cashews, make sure to do that first. Soaking will give you a smoother textured ball but if you prefer crunchier (or you're short on time) don't worry about this step.
Combine all ball ingredients in a food processor until a doughy texture forms. Don't do it for too long or you get goo. Form small balls with the mixture.
Next, roll balls in each of the three types of coating - açai, followed by pistachios and topped off with coconut flakes. You can also choose to just do one coating per ball. Pop in fridge or enjoy immediately.
P.S. iI you have suggestions on places in London or New York that do açai well please let me know. I've been crazing this!