Ever since I was a child, I’ve had an obsession with coconut and have developed some insanely delicious coconut combinations over the years. I guess my love for coconut started with one of those Easter Bunny cakes made out of shredded coconut that my mom and I made every year when I was little. After that, I just couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Whether in Girl Scout Samoa cookies, coconut cake, Mounds bars or in a pina colada smoothie, I indulged any way possible in the flaky, white delight. Now, even though I don’t eat the processed, sweetened coconut, I still have some super tasty ways to use this wonder food. Not only are these coconut combinations satisfying and scrumptious, but they are also so healthy for you! Coconut’s fats are wonderful for your metabolism, skin, mood, hair and nails. If you’re not yet a fan of coconut, perhaps one of these recipes might just change your mind!
1. Coconut and Chocolate
Coconut and chocolate is one of the most popular pairs of coconut combinations to try. Maybe we have the Mounds bar to thank for that, as it was always my favorite candy bar! You can use this same delightful combination in anything without all the nasty junk food additives. One of my favorite ways to use coconut and chocolate is in homemade brownies, pictured above. To do this, process 1 cup soaked dates with ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut and ¼ cup cacao powder in a food processor and shape the dough into bars or truffles. You can also use coconut and chocolate together in a smoothie, which makes for a great way to enhance your mood and skin.
2. Coconut and Curry
Curry is a favorite spice among many people, and with good reason. Curry powder is loaded with feel-good spices that are strong, pungent and take any dish to a whole new level. Curry is a blend of spices, which often features ginger, black pepper, turmeric, coriander and cumin, among some others. Curry and coconut are both thought of as ethnic foods that are rich in flavor, so combining them really makes for a delicious dish. Try tossing some cooked basmati rice, brown rice or quinoa with some unsweetened coconut flakes and adding in some curry powder. You’ll have a truly satisfying, warming meal that also balances your adrenal glands and enhances your thyroid function. You could also make mashed sweet potatoes with coconut milk and curry powder, which is another excellent way to use this combination.
3. Coconut and Vanilla
This flavor combination is a simple favorite of mine. I enjoy this most in the form of a healthy, homemade shake. I take 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 inch of a real vanilla bean, and blend with ice and a frozen banana. Add in a dash of cinnamon if you like, too. Vanilla has aphrodisiac properties that enhance your mood, which enhances the mood benefits of coconut's healthy fats even further. You can also freeze this mixture and eat it like soft serve ice cream after 30 minutes of freeze time.
4. Coconut and Ginger
I love ginger almost as much as coconut. Ginger is great for your heart, digestion, blood pressure, weight and more. Pairing coconut and ginger together really make for a dynamic duo in the kitchen. How do you make the most of this combination? One of my go-to recipes for this combination is a nice, healthy muffin using coconut flour, shredded coconut, eggs and ginger powder plus some coconut nectar for sweetening. You can also try my chicken recipe using shredded coconut and ginger. I marinate organic chicken tenders in 1 cup coconut milk and dredge them in shredded, unsweetened coconut flakes. Then I place on a baking pan and sprinkle with ½ tsp. organic ginger powder, some black pepper and just a dash of sea salt. Bake for 30 minutes on 350 in the oven and you have a delicious, ethnic meal that is great for your digestion and your weight.
5. Coconut and Quinoa
This is a great breakfast combination to try if you haven’t already. Unsweetened coconut milk and 2 tbsp. unsweetened flaked coconut are excellent to add to cooked quinoa for breakfast. You can add in some fruit or some nuts, chia seeds or flax if you like too. This flavor combination is so satisfying, you’ll be energized and sustained for hours after this breakfast.
6. Coconut and Strawberries
Here’s a great spring and summer treat for you to try. Try making a smoothie with unsweetened coconut milk, unsweetened coconut flakes and 1 cup frozen strawberries. This makes for a delicious smoothie that really has a nice tropical taste to it. You can also use this combination in oatmeal, which is delicious by the way, by adding 2 tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut and some sliced strawberries into your oatmeal. It also makes a lovely dish as well!
7. Coconut and Cardamom
One of my favorite spices is cardamom, and if you’ve never heard of it or tried, it, I suggest you put it on your culinary to-do list this year. Cardamom is an incredibly sweet, yet warming spice. It differs significantly from any other spices and has a very exotic taste. It is a wonderful addition to dishes using cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, since cardamom is often used in chai flavors. When paired with coconut, cardamom is taken to a whole new level. Coconut’s rich, mildly sweet flavors enhance the mood-boosting properties that cardamom brings on its own. I suggest trying this combination either in a homemade truffle recipe using dates, coconut and cardamom, or using both shredded coconut and 1/8 tsp. cardamom in a breakfast dish like oatmeal, a smoothie, or quinoa. Cardamom can be a bit costly, but a little goes a long way, plus cardamom is great for fighting sugar cravings and enhances digestion, making it worth the splurge.
8. Coconut and Lime
No one can deny the wonderful flavor that coconut brings when paired with lime. Coconut and lime bring the ultimate tropical taste to the table. Make a refreshing beverage using coconut water, lime juice and a little touch of sweetener if you need it and pour this over ice. Coconut milk and lime juice also make a great smoothie, a great marinade for chicken or fish, or for just about anything else you can think of. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with this specific coconut combination when they weather is warm,so take advantage of it!
Coconut can be paired with many more delicious foods and I'm always looking for ideas. I enjoy it most anyway I can get it in its natural form and would love to hear how you all use this incredible food. Do you like coconut and if so, what combinations are your favorite?