Coconut is a versatile and popular ingredient, which comes in many forms and can be used in many ways. But, if you have an allergy or sensitivity to coconut, or simply just dislike it, it can be tricky to find a good, healthy alternative that will work the same way in your favourite recipes.
As I often get asked how you can replace coconut products in a healthy diet, I have compiled a list of a few tips and healthy alternatives you might like to try:
- DRIED COCONUT
If a recipe calls for coconut flakes or desiccated or shredded coconut, then it’s usually just for flavour or texture. Many nuts and seeds can give a somewhat similar texture – try chopping them slightly in a food processor to get them into small chunks. And, and as far as flavour goes, that’s really something that varies from person to person and from recipe to recipe. Experiment with whatever you fancy or whatever you have to hand!
- COCONUT BUTTER
Coconut butter is similar to nut butters. So, generally, the best replacement for coconut butter in a recipe is a nut butter like macadamia nut butter or almond butter. In a baked goods recipe, ghee or cacao butter might be possible as a substitute depending on the recipe too.
- COCONUT OIL
Coconut oil does not present a problem for most people, but if you feel that you cannot eat it, then there are plenty of other great alternative oils you can use: olive oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, avocado oil, tallow, lard or macadamia nut oil.
- COCONUT MILK
Almond milk or other nut milks are great substitutes for coconut milk if you tolerate nuts. Otherwise, hemp, homemade pepita or sunflower seed milk could make a good nut-free substitute. However, most nut and seed milks are not as creamy as coconut milk. An alternative if you tolerate dairy is to use full-fat organic and unpasteurised cream or milk.
- COCONUT FLOUR
With so many excellent gluten and grain-free flours out there, it’s not hard to find a substitute for coconut flour. For baking, try almond flour, hazelnut flour, or any other nut flour. For thickening sauces or gravies, try tapioca starch, gelatin or arrowroot powder. You can learn more about gluten-free flours in this blog here.
- COCONUT WATER
Simple, drink filtered water instead.
- COCONUT NECTAR OR SUGAR
If you need a sweetener, you can substitute the coconut nectar with raw honey, molasses or pure maple syrup. If you need an alternative to coconut sugar, you can try rapadura sugar which has a similar flavour, colour and texture.
I hope you find these useful! Please do let us know if you have come up with another alternative that is not listed here, or which of these you have tried that have worked for you.