Hey everyone! It’s Luna here. The açai papaya boat was a serious staple in my plant-based journey at one time. This is a snippet of my story, and inspiration for a delicious, revitalizing, healthy açai papaya boat!
Why you will love this recipe
This recipe is so refreshing. It’s all about the fruit! Perfect for the mornings or as a snack. The best part is no bowl needed! The papaya acts as a container for the acai mix. We also had the funnest time plating aka decorating the acai papaya boat with fruit and seeds. The color contrast is so vibrant just looking at it makes you feel healthy.
Many of you probably don’t know this, but during my early 20’s I packed up what little I had, and bought a one way ticket to the big island of Hawaii. When I arrived in Hilo, I was already plant-based. The bountiful fruits of the big island provided me with the opportunity to experiment eating a fully raw, plant based diet.
For those who aren’t familiar, raw vegan means consuming foods in their live, raw form. So essentially no cooked foods at all.
I got a job at the cutest cafe in Hilo called Sweet Cane Cafe. This was my first time working, and collaborating with an all girl staff! A diverse inter-generational group from 15 to over 65 years old. All women!
The owner was an elderly woman, very thin, but she could carry what looked like double her weight in boxes of fruit. Her husband had a large farm that supplied most of the produce in the cafe. They had a large sugar cane field as well, thus the name Sweet Cane Cafe.
While working at Sweet Cane Cafe, I worked roles as a dishwasher, line cook, and exceptional smoothie maker. My duties also included processing pounds and pounds of fresh, local fruit! Here is where I really found my love for açai bowls.
I processed different varieties of bananas, super fat mangos, and avocados as big as my head! I also was fortunate to work intimately with more exotic fruits like:
- Hawaiian durian: Fun fact, durian is illegal in some asian cities! According to some, it produces the worst smell imaginable. Thankfully, I can’t smell it, and find it to be utterly divine.
- Lilikoi: Also known as passion fruit on the mainland.
- Ulu: Also known as breadfruit. It is such a versatile fruit! Ulu is used to make anything from breads and puddings, to hummus and desserts. At the cafe, we used Ulu to make a vegan version of poke.
After processing so much fruit, and spending my days making countless smoothies, literally that’s all I ate. Fresh, local Fruit and Veg! It only made sense!
Hilo Farmers Markets
Although the Big island could be self-sustainable in food production. As the United States and modern economics would have it, a decent amount of food products on the island are imported. This makes much of the food seriously expensive. I’m talking $7 for a loaf of bread.
I knew my savings and paychecks would deplete if I routinely bought imported food products/merchandise.
So, I’m in Hawaii, and trying to save and eat as well as possible. I didn’t want to go shopping at the grocery store. I found myself at the local Hilo farmers market twice a week! It was here that I was able to buy at least 10-15 pounds of food for around $10/$20. SOLD! My reusable bags were filled with mostly bananas, and papayas.
I ate so many papayas on the island! At one farmers market in Pahoa, there was a stand selling açai bowls. Having worked at the cafe, my daily staff meal was a large açai bowl, with fresh fruits and granola. This particular açai bowl at the market came in a papaya! This açai papaya bowl was 100% edible and a total plastic-free purchase. I always had plenty of papayas at home and I ate raw anyway! From then on I made açai papaya boats a weekly staple.
I had an amazing experience on the island. I ate so many raw fruits and veggies. My body and mind thanked me for it. For this reason I wanted to share this recipe. If anyone is looking to add more more fruits into their diet, this açai papaya boat is definitely an easy meal to implement.
Big Island Inspired Açai Papaya Boats
Lots of the açai papaya boats come with different toppings. For this recipe we used:
We love to add seeds into our meals whenever we can. For this boat, we also used:
This recipe is simple enough to make, and even easier to eat! We love to eat this in the morning or as an early snack. So many fruits in one sitting, and so many nutrients! Honestly, you’ll get a natural blissful feeling from eating this!
If you tried one of our recipes or found our articles helpful, lettuce know in the comments below how it turned out!
Follow us on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Take a picture of your creations and tag us using #lettuceliveinpeas.
Luna & Nate