Açaí Bowls with Crispy Buckwheat Cocoa Clusters
5 from 5 votes

These açaí bowls with crispy buckwheat cocoa clusters are such a refreshing, colorful, and fun breakfast or snack! A creamy base of blended açaí, banana, coconut water, and nourishing chia and hemp seeds is topped with crispy granola that’s made with buckwheat groats. The bowls are fun to assemble and so crowd-pleasing.

An overhead image of a colorful açaí bowl, which is topped with dark cocoa dusted buckwheat clusters.

If you’ve ever tasted an açaí bowl at a smoothie-focused eatery or restaurant and wondered if you could make something equally refreshing, juicy sweet, and playful at home, the answer is yes.

These açaí bowls with crispy buckwheat cocoa clusters are proof that perfect açaí bowls are within your reach. All you need is a blender or a food processor and the right set of toppings.

While I love a smoothie for a refreshing snack, I’m not much of a smoothie person for breakfast. No matter what I put into the smoothie, I find myself hungry a little while later.

This may be a matter of needing more texture and variety than a sippable smoothie has to offer.

Açaí bowls, though? Those are a different story!

A good açaí bowl—one that’s loaded with nutritious toppings and made with a thick, creamy frozen base—hits the spot. It’s an ideal breakfast for warm weather.

This particular bowl, which features crispy, cocoa-scented buckwheat-and-seed granola clusters, is my personal favorite.

What are açaí bowls?

Simply put, an açaí bowl is made from a thick base of blended frozen fruit containing açaí and a set of toppings. Those toppings usually offer texture, crunch, and color.

In order to understand the concept of an açaí bowl, it’s helpful to first chat about the açaí berries that are its featured ingredient!

What is açaí?

Açaí is a purple berry that’s grown on the Açaí palm, which is native to South America. Açaí berries are often touted as a “superfood.” This is really just a way of saying that they contain an exceptionally concentrated, high amount of micronutrients.

Among those micronutrients are:

  • Anthocyanins: plant pigments that lend a purple/red hue to foods and may offer anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, and neurologically protective benefits
  • Omegas: Açaí is packed with Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, which are also associated with anti-inflammatory action and are a type of “heart healthy” fat
  • Fiber: beneficial for digestive regularity and for maintaining a healthy blood lipid profile
  • Vitamin C: an important part of maintaining healthy immune function over time

Blending açaí

A key feature of açaí bowls is that they have a thick, almost creamy base. It’s smoothie-like, but not as liquidy as a regular smoothie.

In order to create this texture, it’s first and foremost important to use a pretty good blender.

My Breville Super Q is my blending BFF. It can handle so many types of textures and is great at creating a thick base for the açaí bowl.

An overhead image of a food processor, which is filled with a creamy mixture of açaí and frozen bananas.
It’s important to blend your açaí smoothie base with minimal added liquid, so that it ends up smooth and creamy, rather than soupy. A food processor is a good tool for this job, and so is a high-speed blender.

It’s also important to use only as much liquid as you need to blend. Better to add liquid as you work than to use too much initially and then have to add more fruit.

A white bowl rests on a white surface. It contains a frozen purple smoothie.
Frozen banana slices help the açaí bowl base to be very creamy.

Finally, I find it helpful to add frozen banana to any açaí bowl frozen base. The banana will help to create a creamy, spoonable texture that’s perfect for this type of recipe.

An irresistable buckwheat topping

Açaí bowl toppings can be very simple. A few layers of fresh or dried fruit, some coconut flakes, or some nuts or seeds is enough to create texture and pleasant crunch.

However, I really like to top my açaí bowls with granola.

Granola allows me to harness the benefits of whole grain foods—fiber, B Vitamins, and more—into my açaí bowls.

In this case, the granola is actually a psuedograin, rather than a grain. It’s made from pyramid-shaped, crispy, nutritious buckwheat groats.

What are buckwheat groats?

Buckwheat is what’s called a “psuedograin”: an edible seed that behaves like a grain for culinary purposes. Other pseudograins are quinoa and amaranth.

You may have seen buckwheat sold in a toasted form, which is known as kasha. Kasha makes lovely grain pilafs and porridges.

It’s also possible to purchase buckwheat groats that are raw and untoasted. From there, you can toast or cook the buckwheat as desired.

Raw buckwheat can actually be soaked, then dehyrated for raw, vegan granolas or treats.

I like to mix the buckwheat with maple syrup and spices, just as I might mix rolled oats for making granola, then bake it in the oven.

The result is granola that’s full of plump and pleasantly crispy buckwheat groats and seeds. It’s crunchy and sweet, and it will clump together in parts to create irresistable little clusters.

The cocoa clusters I can’t get enough of

I don’t say no to chocolate at breakfast, and the buckwheat cocoa clusters that are part of this recipe are a prime example.

Cocoa powder gives the clusters flavor and character. I also think that it complements the deep flavor of açaí nicely.

Açaí is a little tart, but it’s also got an unmistakably “dark fruit” flavor—think dark, sweet cherries or very ripe blueberries. Cocoa works so nicely with these flavor notes.

I like my granola to have lots of clusters, and that was certainly my intention with the buckwheat granola here. You may find that you have a mix of clusters and looser granola, which is fine.

A baking sheet has been lined with parchment and is being used to bake cocoa-scented buckwheat granola clusters.
You ought to have a mixture of little buckwheat cocoa clusters and some looser pieces on your baking sheet.

You can increase how many clusters you have by not stirring the granola as it bakes and by allowing it to dry completely before breaking it up and storing it.

The Vegan Week

Embrace the joy of eating homemade food every day with the hearty and wholesome recipes in The Vegan Week.

Whether you have three, two, or even just one hour of time to spare, The Vegan Week will show you how to batch cook varied, colorful, and comforting dishes over the weekend.

Speaking of storage, you’ll end up with more buckwheat granola than you need to make two açaí bowls. This is a good thing! It means delicious, chocolatey granola for future you.

You can store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. The recipe makes about three scant cups. It’s also naturally gluten-free.

Can I substitute store-bought granola?

Absolutely. If you don’t feel like preparing granola from scratch, you can try a store-bought granola of choice.

Any flavor would be fine, but a chocolate flavor may be fun in order to preserve the spirit of the recipe. I love the One Degree Organic Foods sprouted cacao quinoa granola myself.

A hydrating liquid base

One of the challenges in warm weather is to stay hydrated. If these açaí bowls make it into your spring and summer breakfast rotation, you can rest assured that they can help with maintaining fluid balance.

I like to use coconut water as a base for the bowls and a natural source of hydrating electrolytes: magnesium and potassium.

In addition, coconut water is naturally sweet. It picks me up nicely when I’m fatigued, under-hydrated, or simply looking to recharge.

The naturally occurring sugar in coconut water, along with bananas, helps to sweeten these bowls. On its own, açaí is a quite modestly sweet fruit.

If you’re not a fan of coconut water, you can replace it in the recipe with your favorite non-dairy plant milk.

Topping your açaí bowls

There can be a fine line between açaí bowls that are too spare and those that have become to “busy” with tons of toppings.

I think three or so toppings is the sweet spot.

An overhead image of a colorful açaí bowl, which is topped with dark cocoa dusted buckwheat clusters.
I love to top these açaí bowls with the buckwheat cocoa clusters, as well as some fresh berries and additional hemp hearts.

Most of the time, my favorite trip of toppings for these açaí bowls are the buckwheat cocoa granola, some fresh berries, and some additional hemp seeds.

Shelled hemp seeds are a great source of plant protein, as well as additional healthful fatty acids.

Other fun toppings could be:

  • Dried blueberries, cranberries, or raisins
  • Coconut flakes
  • Banana slices
  • Mini dark chocolate chips
  • Cacao nibs
  • Chopped nuts or seeds of choice

With that said, it’s up to you to choose the toppings that seem most fun and appealing to you—or to the loved ones that you share these fun bowls with.

Here’s the recipe.

An overhead image of a colorful açaí bowl, which is topped with dark cocoa dusted buckwheat clusters.
5 from 5 votes

Açaí Bowls with Crispy Buckwheat Cocoa Clusters

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 2 servings


For the Crispy Buckwheat Cocoa Clusters:

  • 2 cups raw buckwheat groats (360g)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground flax or chia meal (10g)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (20g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup raw, shelled pumpkin or sunflower seeds (120g)
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds (60g)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or brown rice syrup (120ml)
  • 1/4 cup almond or sunflower seed butter (60g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the smoothies:

  • 2 medium sized bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen (substitute 2 cups / 300g frozen banana slices)
  • 2 packs frozen açaí (200g)
  • 1 cup coconut water (240ml)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds
  • Optional toppings: fresh berries, coconut flakes, additional shelled hemp seeds, dried fruits of choice


  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Use a nonstick rimmed baking sheet or line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • In a medium mixing bowl or a Pyrex liquid measuring cup, whisk together the syrup, almond or sunflower butter, and vanilla.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the buckwheat groats, flax or chia meal, cocoa powder, salt, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and almonds. Pour the syrup and nut butter mixture over these dry ingredients. Mix well to combine. The buckwheat granola will be moistened but not wet and forming some clusters.
  • Transfer the buckwheat mixture to your baking sheet. Spread it evenly, taking care to preserve some of the nice clusters and allowing it to clump together in some places on the sheet.
  • Bake the buckwheat for 25 minutes, or until the clusters and loose buckwheat groats are evenly toasted. Do not stir during baking—this will help clusters to form.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the cocoa buckwheat granola to cool completely before using. It can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.
  • To prepare the açaí bowls, blend the bananas, açaí, coconut water, chia seeds, and hemp seeds together till smooth. Divide the mixture (it should be nice and thick) into two serving bowls. Top each bowl with any toppings you like, as well as a nice, generous handful of the buckwheat cocoa clusters clusters. Serve right away.

Whether you make the bowls as written, prepare the granola for enjoyment in other ways, or choose a different set of toppings, I hope you’ll love this fruity, cooling, nutritious combination!


This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Visit my privacy policy to learn more.

Categories: Recipes, Granola, Smoothies
Method: Blender, Oven
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Vegan

Leave a Comment

Star ratings help other readers to find my recipes online. If you loved this recipe, would you please consider giving it a star rating with your comment?

Thank you for your feedback. I'm grateful for your presence in this space!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

  1. I absolutely love buckwheat in my granola and it’s even more fun in these little clusters! So perfect for smoothie bowls, and I’m also thinking would be such great lunchbox snacks. Thanks for filling me up with inspiration today. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I feel ya on this whole weather situation in September! I live in UK, and we’ve been having the hottest September everrrr! (despite the fact a whole of Summer was not that great, but hey, it’s UK, it meant to rain a lot! 😉 ) And your Acai bowls are looking awesome, you got me hungry!

  3. 5 stars
    The color of that acai puree is just way too pretty! I’ve never even tried acai berry before but that bright purple definitely has me intrigued 🙂

  4. Yeah the weather can be a bit tricky around those transitional times of the year. Our minds skip ahead to the next season before the current one is over. Acai bowls photograph so well – this one looks great!

    Harry Bowden

  5. I love this post, Gena–you had me smiling about the tendency to welcome Fall in September when for the most part it can still be pretty darn hot in a lot of places–such good writing about that! And a homemade acai bowl! I am very impressed. There’s a a place near where I am in Portland that makes great ones–they are the first I’ve ever tasted. And I do agree they fill you up like a smoothie just can’t. Your buckwheat cocoa clusters look great too! Thanks for an inspiring and unique breakfast! xoxo

  6. I really need to try my hand at acai bowls, I’ve still never had one! Also, I’m with you, this time of year has me wavering between baking for fall and embracing the most of summer!