This new smoothie bowl and granola recipe was inspired by a recent trip to Lima, Peru where I was lucky enough to experience Lima’s amazing food and culture. I thought I would highlight some of my favourite Peruvian ingredients; cacao, quinoa, maca, and custard apple (cherimoya). If you don’t have access to custard apple you can use pineapple instead - it’s just as delicious!
Lima is Peru’s culinary ‘hotspot’, not only for its amazing and fascinating local cuisine, food markets and festivals, but it’s also home to some of the World's 50 Best Restaurants, with ‘Central’ ranked 4th best restaurant in the world.
A visit to Central, Virgilio Martínez and his wife Pía León’s restaurant, was definitely a highlight of the trip and had been on my restaurant bucket list for some time. It was divine!! The food, the staff, and the ceramics - so beautiful. We were also privileged to spend some time watching Virgilio and his team at work in the kitchen, then after lunch, he took us on a tour of their research area, edible garden, and a sneak peek into his future plans and new ventures in Peru. If you’re ever in Lima, Central restaurant is a must visit.
Another highlight was ‘Mistura’, a huge food festival in Lima which was celebrating its 10 year anniversary. There we explored countless food stalls with classic and authentic Peruvian food - including ceviche, quinoa milk ice-cream, fresh local produce, coffee, and locally made chocolate.
Peru’s ecosystem, agriculture and nutrient-rich soil make it the perfect location for growing food. Some of the ‘superfoods’ we hear a lot of these days are all local to Peru - Quinoa, Maca, Lucuma, Camu Camu, Cacao, as well as our beloved coffee beans and cacao/chocolate. Many of the worlds best coffee beans and cacao beans are grown and produced in Peru and also a vast variety of delicious fruit and vegetables - including my favourite, custard apple (cherimoya). There are over 4200 varieties of potatoes grown in Peru and more than 50 varieties of corn - crazy! At Central restaurant, they can use up to 400 varieties of potatoes a week, from the main feature of a dish, to thickeners, to crackers, to almost anything!
Speciality coffee is another exciting and growing scene in Lima with access to some of the finest beans produced right on their doorstep. The cafe scene is brewing some delicious coffee and single origin brews and their beans can be traced right back to the region and farmer where they were grown.
Thanks to PromPERU for having me, I had an amazing time! If you’re planning a visit to Lima here are a few of my favourite spots:
Enjoy the recipe!
- 2-3 large frozen bananas
- 1½ cups almond milk
- ½ cup custard apple (cherimoya) or pineapple
- 1 tsp vanilla powder
- 2 tbs cacao powder
- Fresh custard apple (cherimoya) or fresh pineapple
- Cacao nibs or chopped dark chocolate
- Toasted coconut flakes
Cacao Quinoa Granola
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 3 cups puffed quinoa or millet
- 2½ cups flaked coconut
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup cacao powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Pinch sea salt
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- To create the two-toned smoothie look - add 1 to 1½ frozen bananas, 1 cup almond milk, the custard apple/pineapple, and vanilla powder to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl or glass.
- In the same blender (no need to rinse) add the remaining frozen banana, almond milk, and the cacao powder, and blend until smooth. Add this mixture to the same bowl or glass and gently swirl together. *If you’re not worried about creating the two-toned look simply blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth then pour into a bowl or glass.
- Top the bowl with granola, fresh fruit, toasted coconut, and cacao nibs. Enjoy!
- Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.
- Combine all of the granola ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir well until combined.
- Spread the mixture onto two paper lined baking trays.
- Place the trays into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, stirring the granola halfway through its baking time.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Store in an airtight container or jar in the fridge.
- This granola also tastes delicious served with milk of your choice and fresh fruit.