These creamy hibiscus berry smoothie bowls taste like soft serve ice cream kissed with tart hibiscus and floral honey. They’re packed with nutrients from hempseed, chia seed, oats, and cashew butter to keep you going long after breakfast.
Happy Earth Day! Jay and I are headed to Washington DC next week to join the climate march, and we’ll be there in spirit with our Science Marching brethren today. Speaking of activism, I’m extra excited to share today’s post for two reasons. First, we’ve been eating these smoothie bowls for breakfast every day for the last month – that’s way longer than I like to withhold favorite recipes from you! And second, I’m sharing photos from my happy place: Marin County’s Mount Tamalpais, home to Muir Woods National Monument, where Jay and I have been hiking every other weekend this year. A bunch of Mother Earth-loving bloggers have banded together in celebration of our national parks and Earth Day thanks to Eva and Sasha; you’ll find links to loads of national park love at the end of this one. And what better way to fuel up for a day in nature than with a nutrient-packed hibiscus berry smoothie bowl?
Apparently, the theme of our hikes this year has been “hikes that are longer/harder/not on actual trails than they appear.” Our first was in January during a break from California’s wettest year on record. Craving some waterfall action, we headed down Cataract Trail on Mount Tam. We’d eaten a big breakfast, but we grabbed a few snacks just in case we became peckish on the trail. As we descended, the trail became more and more steep, but we were so dazzled by the falling water that we barely noticed our knees complaining. When we reached the base, though tired and ravenous, we realized we needed to make good time or else get caught in the dark. As the sun set, we booked it back up the hill – about 700 feet in elevation spanning several miles – and made it to the car at dusk.
Another hike saw us teetering along the face of a cliff, goat-like, as hang gliders soared above us. And another, in Redwood Regional Park, started as a tree-lined saunter but ended in steep switchbacks and extended a good 2 hours longer than planned.
I bought Jay a book on hiking trails for his birthday because clearly we need help.
Last weekend’s jaunt was also on Mount Tam, though the climate felt drastically different than the lush, tree-covered Cataract Trail. The terrain was dry and exposed. We had hoped for wildflowers, and we found a few. We also found the last leg to be more like a boulder-filled gorge than an actual trail. We ran out of water, wore the wrong shoes, but somehow we survived long enough to celebrate with a few beers on the porch of the Mountain Home Inn afterwards.
If all of this makes me sound outdoorsy and tough, don’t be fooled – it’s all just an elaborate excuse to load up on smoothie bowls. I used to think smoothie bowls were just thick smoothies, but Dana showed me the path to smoothie bowl perfection. The trick is to keep them super thick by adding very little liquid – just half a cup for over 2 cups of frozen fruit. Rather than adding the liquid to the blender first as with regular smoothies, you blend the frozen fruit on the lowest speed until, in her words, it resembles Dippin’ Dots. Then you add a touch of liquid and blend until smooth and thick, like soft serve.
Inspired by Renee’s magical ways with cashew butter, I added some to make the smoothie bowl extra creamy. Same with ground oats, hemp, and chia. And the magic ingredient is ground dried hibiscus blossoms, which are packed with vitamin C, vibrant magenta in color, and brimming with a sweet-tart flavor that pairs perfectly with the strawberries and raspberries that are just coming into season here in California. Sarah inspired me to grind the hibiscus in a coffee grinder to a fine powder to add to the smoothies, and I like to sprinkle a little on top for a pretty dusting. And the coup de grace of this overly thought out smoothie bowl is the drizzle of cashew cream, which Laura showed me how to make during a retreat in Cambria, CA earlier this year.
The result of all these lovely ingredients blended together is something akin to incredibly flavorful soft serve ice cream (or “nice cream”) that you can eat for breakfast because it’s healthy. In fact, I’ve even whipped these up for dessert in lieu of chocolate, which was previously unheard of around here. This particular combination of ingredients produces our ideal smoothie bowl, but the recipe is versatile, so feel free to change things up according to your tastes and what you have on hand. I’ve given some suggestions below.
Check out more national park love, gorgeous photos, and recipes to nom on the trail in the links below. If you want to take action to preserve our parks, you can call your representative (find yours here) and urge them to keep the parks out of state hands, where they could be destroyed for industrial uses such as fracking and logging. Let’s keep our parks safe havens for wildlife, endangered species, and endangered hikers who don’t bring proper snacks and footwear for generations to come.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Earth Day!
- ¼ cup (60 ml) cashew butter
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) mild honey
- pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) hot water, more as needed
- 1 ½ teaspoons hibiscus powder (or 2 tablespoons lightly crushed hibiscus blossoms, or 1 tablespoon hibiscus tea from about 3 tea bags)
- 2 tablespoons (10 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) hulled hemp seeds (a.k.a. hemp hearts)
- 1 cup (150 g) frozen chopped strawberries
- 1 cup (150 g) frozen raspberries
- 1 small sliced banana, frozen (1/2 cup)
- ½ cup (120 ml) almond milk or other plant milk, more as needed
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) mild honey
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cashew butter (or other nut butter)
- fresh berries
- bee pollen
- hibiscus powder
- Make the drizzle by stirring together the cashew butter, honey, and salt. Work in the hot water until the mixture is the consistency of thick, smooth cream.
- To make the smoothies, in a coffee grinder, grind the hibiscus, oats, chia and hempseeds until finely ground.
- Combine the frozen berries and banana in a blender and blend on low until broken down into tiny pieces, scraping down the blender bowl occasionally. Add the almond milk, honey, cashew butter, and ground hibiscus mixture and blend on low, scraping down the blender frequently, until it reaches the texture of soft serve, a few minutes. At first it will seem like the mixture needs more liquid, but resist the urge to add more than another ¼ cup or you’ll end up with a thin smoothie. As the fruit softens, it will begin to blend together better.
- Divide the smoothie mixture into two bowls and top with a good drizzle of cashew cream and your toppings of choice. Serve right away.
Check out more National Parks love at #OurWild:
- Tending the Table: Okanogan-Wentachee National Forest
- The Bojon Gourmet: Hibiscus Berry Smoothie Bowls
- Healthy Nibbles and Bits: Leek and Kohlrabi Fritters and Pinnacles National Park
- Husbands That Cook: Point Mugu State Park
- Brooklyn Supper: Shenandoah National Park
- Wholehearted Eats: Happy Trail Bars and Into the Universe
- The Broken Bread: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
- The Year in Food: A Church in the Wild
- Fresh Off the Grid: Weekend Escape: Planning an Impromptu Camping Trip
- Eat Your Beets: Cheney State Park
- Adventures in Cooking: Olympic National Park
- Vanilla and Bean: Lemon Tahini Cashew Granola and Ebey’s Landing National Historical Preserve
- Faring Well: Death Valley National Park
- Wu Haus: Joshua Tree
- Will Frolic For Food: Glacier National Park
- The Modern Proper: Trail Mix Pancakes
- With Food and Love: Roasted Sugar Snap Peas with Mint and Sea Salt and Scenes from Joshua Tree