Using ube (purple sweet potato) as a base for this nice cream bowl proves to be delicious, vibrant, and extremely nutritious!
What the heck is an ube? It’s pronounced OO-BAE, and it’s a purple sweet potato commonly found in Filipino cuisine, usually in dessert. I’ve read that people liken the flavor to hazelnut/vanilla/chocolate. I’m not really sure about that description, but it does have that nutty element to it. It’s starchy like a normal sweet potato, and the texture is pretty similar. Apparently the vibrant color is indicative of extra antioxidants, and this magical root vegetable also has tons of additional vitamins that make it nutritious and healthy. What I’m getting at is that this smoothie bowl is basically a superfood!
I guess it’s officially fall now, although in Texas it’s still been in the high 80s, so it hardly feels like it at all. While everyone gets excited for pumpkin spice lattes (or PSL, apparently), I get excited about squash, sweet potatoes, gourds, etc. This bowl is the perfect transitional treat utilizing a fall ingredient, but enjoyed in ice cream form (although I’m never one to deny ice cream even in freezing weather – and neither should you).
The first step is to peel, cube and cook your ube- you can do this however you’d like. Steaming, roasting, boiling, or microwaving are all great options. I chose to steam mine in a large pan, but you can use a legit steamer, rice cooker, etc. The end product just needs to be cooked and cubed ube. Once your ube is cooked, you need to freeze it. You can throw it all in a ziplock back and put it in the freezer, but they will get stuck to each other, and you might struggle to break it apart. I recommend laying all your ube cubes on a piece of wax paper or parchment paper on a baking sheet, covering it with some plastic wrap, and then freezing it. This extra step will make the next part much easier.
Once they’re frozen solid, blend your ube, milk, and sweetener in a blender or food processor. Depending on the strength of your blender/food processor and how liquid-y you want your end product, you may need more or less milk. I would recommend starting with 1/2 a cup of milk and adding 1/4 cup at a time until your desired consistency is reached. The same goes for the sweetener start with a tablespoon and add more as you need. Once you get it to where you like it, pour it in a bowl, and top with whatever you’d like. I topped mine with bananas, chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds.
You’ve probably all heard of the “nice cream” movement, right? If you haven’t, here’s the general gist – if you blend up frozen bananas, the texture is very similar to ice cream or soft serve. People went crazy over this because who doesn’t want to indulge themselves in guilt-free ice cream? This ube concoction is kind of like that- when frozen and blended, the texture is almost like a soft serve. Just a heads up, this smoothie bowl is entirely made up of potato, so yes, it’s going to taste somewhat potato-y. Please don’t expect any differently. That being said, if you’ve never had ube, although it resembles a regular sweet potato in appearance, texture and taste, it is slightly sweeter, nuttier, and has its own unique taste. It’s one of those “you just have to try it” things.
Just in case you’re wondering, yes, I realize that in some photos it looks bluer, some purple, and some pink-er. Because I took these photos on different days/at different times with different lighting, the colors came out very differently. If you care at all, the photo with it in the blender probably most closely resembles its true color.
If you’ve been following along with me so far, you know that some of the things I suggest are really weird – this is one of those things, but I’m asking you to trust me on this one. Be adventurous and try something new and exciting! This is a great place to start! Enjoy! (:
- 1.5 lb ube (purple sweet potato) (about 3 medium sized potatoes)
- 1 cup milk*
- 2-4 tbsp sweetener of choice (sugar, honey, agave, etc)
- Toppings of choice (suggestions: banana, chia seeds, hemp seeds, chocolate chips)
- Peel and chop ube into 1/2" x 1/2" cubes.
- Cook until fork tender (bake, boil, or steam). I steamed mine and it took 10-12 minutes.
- Spread cooked ube cubes onto lined baking sheet and place in freezer for several hours or overnight.
- Once completely frozen, place ube cubes, sweetener and 1/2 cup milk in blender or food processor. Blend. Add additional 1/4 cup milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. Blend until smooth.
- Serve immediately for a soft serve texture with toppings of choice.
- Any milk you'd like; use non-dairy for vegan option