Coconut milk isn’t actually milk, but it is one of the best milk alternatives for those living a plant-based lifestyle, or those intolerant to diary. So what is coconut milk, exactly? For one, it’s praised for being one of the healthiest drinks on earth, with coconut known as a delicious superfood. When you combine the white flesh of coconuts with water, the result is a rich, creamy “milk” that you can use in the place of dairy milk. You may be wondering what makes coconut milk so great, and if coconut milk recipes are all their cracked up to be. Read on for 30 coconut milk recipes you’re sure to love!
What is Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk is a plant-based, dairy milk alternative. It has a thick consistency and a rich, creamy texture, and is extracted from the flesh of mature brown coconuts. It can be used as you would any other milk – from baked goods to curries, soups, pancakes, ice pops, beverages, and so much more. There are countless ways to use coconut milk! And of course, you can use it in your coffee or drink it plain.
Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water. Coconut water is found naturally in unripe green coconuts. It’s 94% water and contains less fat and fewer nutrients than coconut milk. Coconut milk doesn’t occur naturally, but is combined with water to create the coconut milk. It tastes great and provides numerous health benefits.
What Are The Benefits of Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk is high in nutrients, and therefore very beneficial for your health. It contains protein, fibre, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, potassium, healthy fat, and more. It’s a high calorie food, and most of its calories come from fat, including saturated fats called medium-chained triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs have many health benefits, including weight loss, increased brain function, and lowering cholesterol levels and risk of diabetes.
2. Aids Weight Loss
As we touched on in the last point, MCTs found in coconut milk can lead to weight loss. MCTs stimulate energy through a process called thermogenesis or heat production. They’ve been found to reduce body weight and waist size and may also balance our unstable gut microbiota. MCTs help reduce hunger, making you feel full for longer.
3. Boosts Your Immune System
Coconut milk contains a lipid called lauric acid, which is believed to help support the immune system. Lauric acid is converted in the body into a beneficial compound called monolaurin. It has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties that destroy a wide variety of disease-causing organisms. Drinking coconut milk can boost your natural defences against sickness, warding off infections and viruses.
4. Prevents Heart Disease
Coconut milk has been found to increase the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the body and decrease levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol if consumed in low quantities. HDL cholesterol has anti-inflammatory properties that protects the blood vessel lining, while LDL cholesterol causes the formation of plaques in blood vessels, causing them to narrow. When blood vessels supplying the heart muscles are narrowed, heart attacks can occur.
How to Make Your Own Coconut Milk
1. Combine 1 (8-ounce) package of unsweetened shredded coconut and 4 cups of hot (nearly boiling) water in a blender. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes so the coconut can soften.
2. Blend the mixture on high for 1-2 minutes, until the coconut is pureed and the mixture looks milky. You will notice flecks of coconut in the mixture.
3. Open a nut milk bag and place it inside of a medium bowl. Pour the mixture into the nut milk bag.
4. Gather the milk bag at the top and cinch it shut. Squeeze it out over the bowl – the milk should easily pass through the bag. Wring out your bag until you’ve extracted as much milk as possible. You can either discard of the coconut milk or dry the pulp with a dehydrator to be used for coconut flour.
5. Place the coconut milk in a bottle, large mason jar, swing top jar, or other air-tight container. You can store it in the fridge for up to four days or freeze it for up to three months. Your coconut milk will separate after being refrigerated, so make sure to shake well before use.
30 Coconut Milk Recipes You’ll Love
1. Coconut Milk Chicken with Cilantro Lime | Little Broken
2. Vegetable Curry with Coconut Milk and Pineapple | Ela Vegan
3. Mushroom Coconut Milk Soup | Kaluhi’s Kitchen
4. 3-Ingredient Coconut Snowball Cookie | The Big Man’s World
5. Coconut Milk Cookies | The Monday Box
6. Golden Coconut Chicken Lentil Soup | Ambitious Kitchen
7. Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro | Skinny Taste
8. Brazilian Chicken with Coconut Milk | All Recipes
9. Butternut Squash and Coconut Apple Bisque | Meghan Telpner
10. Creamy Pineapple Coconut Smoothie | Minimalist Baker
11. Crunchy As Fried Tacos | Radiant Rachels
12. Coconut Custard | Sugar Geek Show
13. Vegan Tofu Satay in Coconut Sauce | The Spruce Eats
14. Superfood Chocolate Mint Smoothie | Delicious Obsessions
15. Thai Peanut Coconut Cauliflower Chickpea Curry | Ambitious Kitchen
16. Coconut Creamed Corn and Grains | Bon Apetit
17. Dairy Free Coconut Pudding | Self Proclaimed Foodie
18. Pineapple Cashew Cauliflower Rice | The Forked Spoon
19. Salmon Curry with Coconut Milk | Evolving Table
20. Chicken Tikka Masala | 40 Aprons
21. Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Soup | The Spruce Eats
22. Vegan Macadamia Coconut Tofu Bowls | Ambitious Kitchen
23. Coconut Milk Braised Chicken Legs | Bon Apetit
24. Coconut Kefir | Meghan Telpner
25. Curried Peanut Dip | Bon Apetit
26. Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie | Plain Chicken
27. Banana Cream Pie Smoothie | Get Inspired Everyday
28. Vegan Mashed Sweet Potatoes | The Spruce Eats
29. 5-Ingredient Almond Flour Pancakes | Ambitious Kitchen
30. Curried Tofu Wraps | Bon Apetit
Coconut milk is easy to make at home, and with so many awesome benefits, it’s time to add it to your daily regimen. Use it in these recipes for delicious and healthy meals you’ll love!