9 healthy coconut oil recipes

October 11, 2016

Coconut oil comes from pressing coconut meat to extract the oil and it contains a unique composition of fatty acids. The majority of the fats in coconut oil are saturated but they are MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides, also called MCFAs) which are metabolized differently than longer chain fats and are easy for our body to use as energy and fuel. The three main fatty acids responsible for the benefits of coconut oil are:

Lauric Acid – This beneficial fat makes up 40% of the total fat composition. The body converts lauric acid to monolaurin, which is known for its antiviral, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

Caprylic Acid – Another healthy fat with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

Capric Acid – This converts to monocaprin in the body and has immune boosting properties.

In addition, coconut oil contains linoleic acid, oleic acid, phenolic acid, myristic acid, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and iron and unlike most other plant-based oils, coconut oil does not contain cholesterol. 

Health benefits aside, coconut has an amazing flavor and texture and is currently flavor of the year 2016 named so by a giant European flavor house. The judges praised coconut for its versatility of flavor: toasted, sweet, creamy, fatty, fresh; and how well coconut pairs with other great flavors, such as pineapple, lychee, vanilla and coffee. 

In celebration of the year of the coconut, I'm sharing 9 of my favorite coconut oil recipes.

spiced honey and coconut spread recipeSpiced Coconut Honey Butter

At the top of my best coconut oil recipe list is something I came across earlier this year at a Beekeepers Association Meeting. A local beekeeper makes this delectable spread and shared the recipe with me. Blend a cup of coconut oil, 1/2 cup honey (I use Tahi Manuka Blend but Tahi Forest Honey would also be delicious), 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of both salt and nutmeg and 1/4 tsp of both all spice and ground cloves. It takes about a minute to mix together. We spread it on toast but it would be amazing in hot cereal too.

coconut recipes coconut carrot soup with leeks virgin coconut oilCoconut Carrot Soup

Soup season is approaching quickly and I find creamy coconut soups are always a tummy warming hit with the whole family. As an extra bonus, soup always works well for lunch the next day too even the kids can take this one to school in their thermos. This delicious soup recipe is from Bon Appetit: Carrot Coconut Soup

coconut oil recipes coconut lime rice virginCoconut Lime Rice

Lime and coconut is another flavor combination that just works. In this recipe the rice is cooked on a low heat in a lime, coconut and chicken broth mix so the end result is a creamy risotto consistency. It would go great with a Thai chicken dish. I found this recipe at All Recipes: Coconut Lime Rice 

coconut oil receipes roasted coconut vanilla pearsRoasted Coconut Vanilla Pears

Simple but divine, pears roasted in coconut oil, honey, vanilla bean and orange zest - YUM! Free of refined sugars and gluten this is a super healthy dessert. I was about to say it was dairy free too, but doesn't it cry out for a small scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream? This recipe is from my friends at Heilala Vanilla: Roasted Coconut Vanilla Pears

coconut oil recipes spicy thai stir fried kale with coconut and riceSpicy Kale and Coconut Stir Fry

This is my kind of meal. A one pan weeknight vegetarian cook up with a good dose of kale and Thai flavors of lime, cilantro and hot sauce (I use Kaitaia Fire Chili Pepper Sauce). You could make this vegan if you left out the eggs and / or gluten free if you were careful with your soy sauce selection. I found this recipe at Cookie + Kate, a blog which celebrates eating whole foods: Spicy Kale and Coconut Stir Fry

coconut oil recipe toasted vanilla coconut cashew snacks5 Ingredient Toasted Vanilla Coconut Snack Mix

Healthy snacking can be a challenge but not when you have a mix like this on your desk! This healthy, paleo, simple snack mix can be whipped up in under half an hour and if you store it in an air tight jar there will be plenty there to last you all week. You can get this recipe from An Edible Mosaic: 5 Ingredient Vanilla-Scented Toasted Coconut Cashew Mix

coconut oil recipes coconut salmonCoconut Salmon

We have salmon at least once a week so finding interesting ways of cooking our favorite fish is always fun. This coconut salmon recipe is tropical and flavorful. The recipe is from the good people at Heilala: Coconut Salmon

coconut oil recipes no bake Pineapple Coconut Bars virgin coconut oilNo-bake Pineapple Coconut Bars

Skip the processed snack bars and whip up a batch of these instead. Not only are they healthy (gluten-free, paleo and vegan to boot!) but the pineapple-coconut combo is irrisistible. They are calorie dense so don't down the whole batch at once, but they're great for an after school snack for kids or energy bars for a weekend family hike. The full recipe is available at Savory Simple: Pineapple Coconut Bars

coconut recipes Brussels Sprout Chips virgin oilRoasted Coconut Brussels Sprout Chips

Brussels sprouts are one of those veggies that depending on the method of cooking them, they can be a zero or a hero. Roasting veggies with coconut oil can bring out the best in a veggie and that's certainly the case here. Embrace the coming brussels sprout season - these would make a great Thanksgiving side dish. Recipe from Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Roasted Coconut Brussels Sprout Chips

Handling and Storing Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is often seen in a solid state at the supermarket since the temperature inside is below 77 degrees F, however when the oil is sitting in a room of a higher temperature it will melt into a clear liquid. It may look a little creamy at the bottom which is fine, variation in natural products is normal. To store, keep your jar in a cool, dry place such as the pantry. If you are wanting your oil to be in a solid space and your pantry is warm, you can keep it in the refrigerator but an open jar has no need to be refrigerated.

Buying Coconut Oil

Refined coconut oils are mass-produced, typically through a chemical distillation process from copra (previously dried coconut). Part of the processing usually includes bleaching and deodorizing to make it look clean and bright white on the shelf. Not only do these refined oils typically have little flavor and lack the benefits of real virgin coconut oil but some are hydrogenated which turns this wonderfully healthy oil into a synthetic trans-fat. For this reason, avoid refined coconut oils as much as you possibly can.

To reap the many benefits of coconut oil, it is essential to choose an unrefined and chemical free product which is extracted from fresh coconut meat. 

virgin coconut oil5My recommendation is Heilala Virgin Coconut Oil. The entire production process for Heilala Virgin Coconut Oil takes just a few hours. Fresh, organically grown coconuts are husked and the coconut meat is removed using graters. The flesh is lightly dried above large wood-fired ovens for three hours, before it’s pressed hydraulically to extract the oil. Impurities are removed and buckets of oil are filtered to create crystal clear, virgin coconut oil. This cold pressed method results in a pure and natural, organic, unrefined and highly stable coconut oil.

Heilala Pure Virgin Coconut Oil is grown and processed in partnership with the Tonga National Youth Congress (TNYC) and Oxfam New Zealand empowering grower communities through the development of industry. The coconuts are grown by certified organic farmers. It's allergen free, gluten free, sugar free, kosher, vegan, suitable for Halal certification and True Pacific certified. 

You may also like this related link: My 41 favorite uses for virgin coconut oil


#honey #New Zealand #Manuka Honey #vanilla extract #natural ingredients #Heilala Vanilla #Baking with vanilla #sustainably sourced #organically grown #empowering growers #Kaitaia Fire #virgin coconut oil


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