Food and Nutrition

A Smoothie Bowl Sommelier Shares the Smoothie Bowl Maker She Loves Most—And What To Do With It

Emily Laurence

Photo: Ninja; Art: W+G Creative
Creating the perfect smoothie bowl is truly an art. (Sometimes, it’s literally art.) There are so many factors to consider. You want it to be visually appealing; a bowl of brown mush isn’t exactly appetizing. It also has to have a good balance of nutrients, otherwise, you’ll find yourself hungry an hour after eating. And of course, it has to taste good.

Registered dietitian Gillean Barkyoumb, RDN, knows a thing or two about creating the perfect smoothie bowl. Barkyoumb was deemed an actual smoothie bowl sommelier by kitchen appliance company Ninja. She comes up with recipes for the brand that are as nutrient-rich as they are delicious.

Want to know her secret? It’s following a formula of protein plus fat plus fruit plus greens. “You can use this formula to create a delicious smoothie bowl that is a balanced meal packed with fruits, veggies, and protein like nuts and nut butters,” she says. (A similar formula works for regular smoothies, too.) Barkyoumb says to aim for 15 to 20 grams of protein, one to two tablespoons of healthy fats, one-fourth cup of fruit, and half a cup of veggies. “Then, add your go-to milk or water, any additional ingredients, plus a few ice cubes, and blend. Finally, top with your favorite foods like fresh or dried fruits, nuts and seeds.”

Lately, Barkyoumb has been experimenting with the Ninja Foodi Smoothie Bowl Maker and Nutrient Extractor ($100). “This blender brings the juice shop to your countertop, taking all the guesswork out of making the ultimate smoothie bowl so that everyone can join in on the smoothie bowl movement,” Barkyoumb says.

Ninja Foodi Smoothie Bowl Maker and Nutrient Extractor, $100

ninja foodi smoothie maker

Buy it now: Ninja Foodi Smoothie Bowl Maker and Nutrient Extractor, $100

The reason why she loves it so much is because it uses patented technology that blends through the thickest ingredients. That means there are even more ingredients you can experiment with than if you were to just use a blender. “It powers through the thickest ingredients at high speed without stalling or the need to stir or shake, making the creation,” Barkyoumb says. Barkyoumb adds that the Nina Foodi Smoothie Bowl Maker also has a built-in tamper, pushing ingredients towards the blades, which makes the texture consistent.

But this isn’t just a single-use device; this machine can also be used to make smoothies, nut butter, juice, and even ice cream and frozen yogurt. It comes with two portable cups so you can drink your smoothie straight out of the cup (no mess required), as well as a blending “bowl” which is designed for optimum smoothie bowl blending. And all of the detachable parts can be cleaned in the dishwasher to make your life super easy.

Convinced to pick one up for yourself? Here, Barkyoumb shares more ideas for how to use the Ninja Foodi Smoothie Bowl Maker, plus one smoothie bowl to try making at home.

Watch the video below to see an herbalist make her favorite smoothie bowl:

1. Use frozen veggies instead of fresh

“Frozen veggies work best for smoothie bowls,” Barkyoumb says. Some of her go-tos are frozen spinach or frozen riced cauliflower. Frozen veggies are harder to blend though, which is why it’s helpful to have a smoothie bowl maker that can really blend them well. “You can buy pre-packaged frozen vegetables to use or cut up fresh veggies into quarter-sized pieces and store in freezer bags or storage containers,” she adds.

2. Use toppings to add texture

Pro smoothie bowl tip: don’t blend all your ingredients. Barkyoumb says saving some, like cacao nibs, granola, nuts, or dried fruit, to add on top varies the texture, making the smoothie bowl experience more satisfying. “Crunchy, sweet, savory, fresh, dried, shaved, crumbles… go for all of them,” she says.

3. Sprinkle each topping in a vertical line

This is Barkyoumb’s insider smoothie sommelier tip for making the bowls she creates truly Instagram-worthy. For example: Add one vertical line of pumpkin seeds, one of chia seeds, one of dried cranberries, and one of shaved coconut. The end result is an edible masterpiece.

Try it at home: Cerealously  Fruity Smoothie Bowl

Barkyoumb says she came up with this smoothie bowl idea by thinking about how she could create a nutrient-rich version of a classic breakfast cereal—it tastes similar to Fruit Loops! Here’s what’s in it: coconut milk (or whatever milk you have in the fridge), frozen strawberries, frozen banana, frozen cauliflower rice, coconut cream, and vanilla protein powder. “For the toppings I use my favorite fruity cereal, fresh strawberries, bananas, and shredded coconut,” she says.

Barkyoumb encourages others to have fun in the kitchen experimenting with their own smoothie bowl creations. Just stick with her protein + fat + fruit + greens formula and you’ll have your nutrient bases covered. It will make your smoothie bowl a well-rounded meal in more ways than one.

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