Coconut is a truly versatile ingredient that can be used as a vegan substitute in your vegan kitchen.
Coconut has a naturally nutty flavor that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Because this powerful protein has a plethora of health benefits, many innovative chefs and bakers have found unexpected ways to cook and bake with all parts of the coconut, from the shredded nutty flesh to its rich creamy milk. Let’s have a look at coconut’s health benefits and then explore different ways you can add coconut to your healthy vegan kitchen.A Brief Breakdown on Coconut’s Health Benefits
Coconut is considered a superfood because of the impressive amounts of vitamins and minerals it packs away under its hard shell. One coconut contains vitamin E, A, C, K, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, folates, potassium, riboflavin and more.
The Lauric acid found in coconut increases good-HDL cholesterol levels in the blood, while the water has an abundance of electrolytes and a plethora of enzymes that aid in healthy digestion, immunity and gut health. Plus, the cytokinins in coconut water have been found to have anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects on the body.
Coconut in all of its forms, from oil to shreds will boost your energy levels, immune system and overall health. It’s no wonder they call it a superfood.
Now onto the ways we can use coconut in our dairy-free cooking.Coconut as a Butter Alternative
You can either use coconut oil as a butter alternative and spread it on your morning toasts with a sprinkle of salt, or you can go all the way and opt for coconut butter. Coconut butter is made from the pulp of the coconut, and is a much healthier and weight-savvy ingredient for your healthy kitchen. It can be used in baking recipes, as a base to fry your vegetables, or added to smoothies for a protein and lauric acid boost.Vegan Cheese recipes
If you’re going to venture into the world of vegan cheeses, you’re going to need to befriend coconut.
In most vegan cheese recipes you’ll find any of the following ingredients:
- Coconut Oil, Coconut Milk, and Coconut Cream
- Nutritional Yeast
Because coconut has a high fat content (which is why the oil is firm at room temperature) it makes for a great base for coconut cheese. Once you’ve settled on the base, you can then start adding your favorite cheesy flavors like garlic powder, onion powder and nutritional yeast to steer away from the coconut flavor and towards a more savory h'orderve-like flavor.Coconut Milk and Coconut Yogurt
Coconut yogurt is a healthy and beneficial breakfast alternative for the entire family. When the milk, coconut meat and coconut water are blended together with vegan-yogurt cultures and probiotics, your entire digestive tract will benefit. Cow’s milk is an inflammatory that many of us are allergic to (lactose intolerant), and though cow’s milk is rich in calcium and protein, coconut is actually an anti-inflammatory which is a much healthier ingredient to start off your day. Especially if you’re going to work or school and need to focus, with clean energy ready to burn.
(In order to reap the most out of a coconut yogurt breakfast, we do recommend searching for a sugar-free option, to minimize that sugar intake and maximize the value of that nutritional breakfast bowl. If you need that sweet-tooth bowl, sweeten up your breakfast with agave, maple syrup, berries and fruit.)Coconut Ice Cream and Coconut flakes
That’s right, coconut is trending so hard, that we even have coconut ice-cream on the market. Coconut flakes make for a great topping on your vegan desserts, cakes, sorbets and vegan ice-creams. Our favorite coconut ice-cream is either coated with coconut flakes, or includes coconut flakes embedded into it’s frozen texture.
Have you been substituting coconut ingredients with dairy ingredients in your vegan kitchen? We’d love to hear what recipes you’ve come up with!