My relationship with coconut oil began with my grandmother. She would smooth the Indian beauty staple onto her hair almost every day, leaving the bathroom smelling like a tropical paradise. Since then, I’ve practiced my fair share of coconut oil beauty regimens — most recently = this coconut-brown sugar body scrub — but I needed to find a way to make a bigger dent in my big jar from Trader Joe’s.
Coconut oil has been so in vogue in food recipes these days, but I don’t love throwing it into just any dish. It has a distinct taste, and I don’t think it goes with everything. But I was on a mission to find (and share with you) three recipes that are totally awesome/totally delicious with the fragrant oil.
From breakfast to snack time to lunch, here are three coconut oil recipes you need to try right now:
Power bars sound like processed, artificially flavored slabs of tree bark. Not these! This raw version has just four ingredients: dates, walnuts, coconut oil and unsweetened cocoa powder (raw cacao powder is better nutritionally but also much more expensive). Blend in a food processor, press the mixture into a loaf pan and let chill. It’s stupid easy, and they make for a great afternoon snack.
For a savory recipe, you can try 101 Cookbooks’ avocado-coconut oil tartine. I subbed in pine nuts for macadamia — besides Hawaii folks, who actually has macadamia nuts on hand? — and basil for squash blossoms because my basil plant is dying a slow, painful death, and I wanted to honor its short lifespan. Word to the wise: I thought the suggested 1 tbsp portion of coconut oil was too strong for one tartine slice, but perhaps you like your bread with more tropical tang.
I also wanted to include a basic food item that could incorporate coconut oil. Enter: the banana muffin. These little guys — I used my mini cupcake tray — are moist, flavorful and easy to make. I didn’t have coconut sugar, so I used granulated, but I did cut it down to a smidge less than 1/4 cup. I rarely use the full amount of sugar a recipe suggests; it’s usually too much.
And if you’re curious, here’s a handy guide to decoding those “cleverly” worded coconut oil bottle labels. From my research, the Trader Joe’s brand is not only virgin and organic as the bottle indicates, but cold-pressed as well, which means a major thumbs up.
Any other recipes you’ve tried with coconut oil?