These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes

Chocolate chip cookies are the quintessential dessert. Homemade cookies can brighten anyone’s day, whether it’s a gift or a plate of cookies left on the work break table with a handwritten sign signaling “Help yourself.”

Like most baked goods, cookies are traditionally made with eggs, milk, and butter — but none of it is necessary. Baking vegan cookies is easy once you know the tips, tricks, and proper substitutions.

Vegan Baking 101

Eggs, milk, butter — as well as honey and white sugar (In the U.S., brands often filter white sugar with animal bone car. Look for organic cane sugar or a “vegan” label.) — are out in vegan baking. But these days, there are plenty of substitutes.

Animal ingredients can be replaced with a vegan alternative (and there are even vegan baking mixes that make life easier).

These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
Flax seeds are one of several kinds of vegan egg substitutes.

Alternatives to Eggs

Eggs are critical to baking, providing moisture, fat, and structure or acting as a leavening agent. A lot of ingredients can stand in for eggs. But not every vegan egg substitute is right for every task.

Flax or chia seeds — ground up and mixed with water at a ratio of 1:3 tablespoons and left to sit for about 15 minutes — work in cakes and brownies. A quarter cup of pumpkin (or sweet potato!) or fruit puree replaces one egg in breads, muffins, and cake-y cookies. Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) can be whipped up like egg whites to make meringues, macarons, and pavlovas or lend a fluffier texture to baked goods.

For cookies, go for a flax or chia egg, fruit puree, or a commercial egg replacer. Brands you can use for baking cookies include Ener-G, Follow Your Heart, The Vegg, Bob’s Red Mill, and The Neat Egg.

Outside of baking, there are other options like Orgran and the JUST Egg.

Vegan Butter

To replace butter, look for Earth Balance (Buttery Sticks or Spread), Miyoko’s, Nutiva, Flora, Melt, Naturli’, or WayFair. Dairy brands are also now offering vegan options: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and Country Crock. Unrefined coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, also works in cookies.

There are also an emerging number of smaller brands. Brooklyn-based startup Fora Foods makes FabaButter, a vegan butter made from aquafaba, was tested by vegan chef and best-selling cookbook author Terry Hope Romero. New Jersey-based vegan bakery Om Sweet Om, makes BKLN BUTTAH, a palm oil-free vegan butter used by several local bakers.

Vegan Cookie Ingredients

For chocolate chip cookies, you’ll need flour, vegan sugar, your egg substitute of choice (different uses are shown in the recipes below), dairy-free milk vanilla extract, and add-ins (chopped nuts, dried fruit, candied ginger, peanut butter, fancy sea salt, vegan marshmallows, etc) — oh, and chocolate chips.

These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
Look out for dairy ingredients like milkfat in chocolate chips.

Vegan Chocolate Chips

Good chocolate chips don’t need dairy. Look for Enjoy Life, Lily’s Dark Chocolate Premium Baking Chips, Pascha, Equal Exchange Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, or Trader Joe’s (Chips, the Chunks have dairy). For some recipes, you can chop up high-quality chocolate bars instead of using chips. King David makes vegan white chocolate chips.

The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes


1. Soft, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
These buttery vegan cookies are soft and chewy. | Loving It Vegan

These perfectly sweet vegan chocolate chip cookies are packed with chocolate chunks. This beginner recipe uses vegan butter in place of traditional and corn starch instead of an egg. Pro-tip: press more dairy-free chocolate chunks into the cookies right before you pop them into the oven.

Get the recipe here.

2. Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
These gluten-free vegan cookies use oat and almond flour. | Making Thyme for Health

This one-bowl cookie recipe is ready-to-bake in just 10 minutes — no dough refrigeration necessary. A blend of rice and oat flour stands in for wheat flour, providing a slightly chewy texture that’s perfectly browned around the edges. Grab a glass of dairy-free milk for dunking.

Get the recipe here.

3. ‘The Most Genius’ Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
Refrigerating the dough is a must. | Food52

This chocolate chip cookie recipe comes from the founders of award-winning New York City bakery Ovenly. Food52 writer Kristen Milgore describes the flavor as: “soft-bellied, chewy, caramelly-crisp-edged, rippled and ringed and puddled with melty chocolate, well-salted.”

These cookies use dark chocolate chips (60 percent or higher), canola oil replaces the egg, a mix of brown and regular vegan sugar, and is garnished with flaky sea salt.

Get the recipe here.

4. Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
Wholesome, sweet, and vegan. | Feasting on Fruit

Crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, these oat-some chocolate chunk cookies are wholesome, delicious, and perfect for dunking into a glass of non-dairy milk. This can be made one of two ways. For a crispier cookie, use peanut or almond butter. For a cakey cookie, go for applesauce.

Get the recipe here.

5. Paleo Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
These thick, chewy cookies are grain-free and vegan. | Paleo Running Mama

You’d never guess that these vegan chocolate chip cookies are paleo. Thick and chewy, these cookies are made with blanched almond flour and tapioca flour. Cashew butter and coconut oil gives it a great texture without adding flavor and for chocolate, you can either go for chips or chop up a dark chocolate bar.

Get the recipe here.

6. Serious Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
Cookie perfection: crisp around the edges and chewy in the middle. | Vicky Wasik

These vegan chocolate chip cookies are next level. A touch of dry malt extract gives them a brown butter-like aroma and flavor while nutmeg adds warm, nutty notes. Dark chocolate is roughly chopped and folded in, giving the dough a thicker texture. A unique homemade oat slurry adds water, protein, and emulsification replaces eggs.

Get the recipe here.

7. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
Like a peanut butter cup in cookie form. | Bakerita

Peanut butter cup, but make it a cookie — these vegan chocolate chip delights are also gluten-free, thanks to blanched almond flour. Flax or chia seeds replace eggs. Top with extra dark chocolate chunks, sea salt, and maybe mini vegan peanut butter cups if you’re feeling fancy.

Get the recipe here.

8. Healthier Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
A healthier take on vegan chocolate chip cookies. | Beaming Baker

The classic chocolate chip cookie, made healthier. A blend of whole wheat white and oat replaces all-purpose flour, flax stands in for eggs, coconut oil for butter, and organic coconut sugar instead of white granulated. They’re soft and chewy with a perfectly crisp bottom.

Get the recipe here.

9. ‘The Best’ Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
All the classic flavor, none of the gluten. | The Vegan 8

Vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free, this vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe checks off a lot of the boxes. Brown rice flour and almond butter gives them a soft and chewy texture with a fudgy center. These come together using only eight ingredients in 20 minutes.

Get the recipe here.


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These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes

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These Are the 9 Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes

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From alternatives to eggs, replacing butter, and vegan chocolate chips, here’s what you need to know about baking vegan chocolate chip cookies.

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A Guide to Healthy Oils – Whole30, Paleo

In our second instalment of “Wellness Wednesdays”, Thrive Market and I have partnered to answer two very frequently asked questions: “What are some healthy oils or fats to cook with and how do I know when to use them?”

In this article, I highlight the different healthy oils and fats for cooking that I use most often and provide some information to help you make the most of each ingredient. Each healthy oil listed here is Paleo and Whole30 friendly, making it perfectly suitable whether you’re crushing a round or discovering your Food Freedom.

Thrive Market Virgin Coconut Oil Paleo Primal Gourmet Whole30

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If you’re new to Thrive Market, it’s an online marketplace that offers thousands of the best-selling organic foods and natural products for 25-50% below traditional retail prices. Not only do they carry a fantastic variety of healthy cooking fats, but they also stock their own Thrive Market Private Label ones, which are high-quality and more affordable than most of the competition.

If you missed our first Wellness Wednesday instalment, you can find the informative article about Paleo and Whole30 Alternative Flours here.

New to Thrive Market? Click here to receive 25%-OFF your first purchase and a FREE 30-Day Trial.

A General Rule of Thumb for Healthy Oils…

When it comes to deciding which healthy oil or fat to cook with, I tend to think about things in the same way that I think about ingredients and flavour combinations. First and foremost, I look to the type of cuisine and try to learn more about the oils or fats that are commonly used in that culture or geographic location.

I also try to think about what would enhance or pair with the flavours of what it is I’m cooking. As with most things in cooking, this comes through trial and error so I encourage you to experiment in the kitchen! Another consideration is the cost of the oil itself. I always try to look for the highest quality at the best possible price, which is one of the reasons I love the Thrive Market Private Label products. Lastly, I try to consider whether or not the oil is suitable to the type of cooking I’m doing.

If you think about it, there’s a reason Greek, Italian, Spanish and other Mediterranean cultures cook with extra-virgin olive oil more than any other type of fat. Olives grow in these climates so it’s a local, available and, oftentimes, sustainable ingredient. And, equally important, certain foods in these cuisines just taste better when paired with certain fats. For example, you could probably use coconut oil to make Ragu Bolognese, but it won’t taste as good if you did.

There are, however, times where I choose to break the unwritten rules for health or budget considerations. For example, I like to make Tostones with coconut oil or avocado oil because I find the flavours to pair well with one another. I often buy these oils in larger sizes so it’s budget-friendly and I prefer them because they’re healthier alternatives to the more traditional canola or refined vegetable oils commonly used to deep-fry plantains in Latin American countries.

Thrive Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil Paleo Primal Gourmet Whole30

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Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Extra-virgin olive oil is one of my go-to cooking fats. It’s great for homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes or fresh sauces like salsa verde or chimichurri. I also use it to marinate grilled veggies like these onions. Every now and then, I will use extra-virgin olive oil when cooking foods at lower temperatures. For example, when sautéing seafood or vegetables or if roasting meats below or around 400F. I do this when I want to impart some flavour or colour into a dish.

Perhaps like you, I’ve read some conflicting studies when it comes to extra-virgin olive oil’s smoking point. Whereas some studies indicate instability and deterioration at low heat, others, like this 2007 study, report that it is suitable for cooking, insofar as it is truly extra-virgin and rich in antioxidants. Clearly, I’ll have to do some more research before siding with one conclusion over the other and I encourage you to do the same!

Thrive Market Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Paleo Primal Gourmet Whole30

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Refined Avocado Oil

Next to extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil is an essential part of my day-to-day cooking. It’s incredibly versatile, neutral in flavor, light in color, and has a high-smoking point, making it suitable for cooking at high temperatures. Use it for everything from stir-fries to pan-seared steaks.

It’s extremely popular with the Paleo and Whole30 crowd because it’s not only a healthy source of fat, but it’s also neutral in flavour and light in colour, making it perfect for homemade mayonnaise.

Do not try to make homemade mayonnaise with extra-virgin olive oil. It is too bitter and will impart an undesirable flavour. Also, I advise against using “light” tasting olive oils because they are highly processed and devoid of nutrition.

Thrive Market Virgin Coconut Healthy Oils Paleo Primal Gourmet Whole30

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Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a healthy fat with a high-smoking point, making it suitable for cooking at hot temperatures. The trade off is that it imparts some flavor. Try using it in recipes that have complimentary flavors, such as Thai curries, Asian stir-fries, or anywhere else you want to add coconut flavor. I’m told it’s also a great conditioner for your hair. I wouldn’t know because I’m bald.

Thrive Market Organic Ghee Paleo Primal Gourmet Whole30

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Ghee

Unlike regular clarified butter, which involves skimming dairy solids as they foam on the surface, ghee is made by slowly heating butter to the point at which the dairy solidifies, browns and descends to the bottom of the pot. As a result, it is virtually dairy-free. It’s more intensely flavoured than butter with rich, nutty notes. Use it to make everything from fried eggs, to roasted potatoes, to basting chicken and steaks, to compound “butters”. Since it’s dairy-free, it has a high-smoking point and is suitable for cooking at hot temperatures.

This post is sponsored by Thrive Market. All thoughts and opinions are the author’s alone. Thank you for supporting the brands that support me.

All images courtesy of Thrive Market and may not be reproduced without prior written permission.

 

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Allergy-Safe School Lunch & Snack Ideas

allergy-friendly school lunch & snack ideas

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Allergy-friendly eating is now a fact of life, so we rounded up our favorite allergy-safe snack recipes for back-to-school (and any other time).

Making a packed school lunch used to be as easy as schmearing peanut butter and jelly on bread, but the rising incidence and severity of food allergies means it’s no longer so simple, and many schools are now completely nut-free. Even once you remove nuts from the equation, there are still other food sensitivities and allergies to contend with—but there are plenty of snacks that are safe for pretty much anyone, and that kids (and grown-ups) will actually want to eat.

What to Watch Out For

According to Healthline, the eight most common allergens are: dairy (cow’s milk), eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, wheat, and soy. There are other less common food allergens to be aware of too, including allergies to avocado, banana, sesame seeds, and kiwi (just to name a few), but we’re focusing on eliminating the top eight.

Here are a few allergy-safe school lunch and snack ideas that anyone would be happy to find in their lunchbox.

Cinnamon and Pear Fruit Leather

Chowhound

Hummus and Dips

Hummus is traditionally made with tahini, which is sesame paste, and some people are allergic to that. Thankfully, hummus is also flexible, and you can switch up the ingredients as needed. Simply replace the tahini with sunflower seed butter for an allergy-friendly version, but feel free to go farther and forgo chickpeas too. You can find hummus based on lentils, cauliflower, black beans, or cannellini beans instead, just to name a few alternatives. If the thicker texture of these dips is likely to be off-putting to your offspring, try an egg- and dairy-free ranch dressing instead. Or if your kids are fans of guacamole but won’t eat it once it browns, try this salt water avocado-soaking trick to keep it green even in a packed lunch.

easy hummus recipe

Chowhound

Pair any of the above with a rainbow of crunchy raw vegetables for dipping. If you have pickier eaters, try making homemade vegetable chips (you can also buy them, of course, but always check the labels for hidden allergens). You don’t need a dehydrator, either; your oven will do just fine. Pretzels also work.

Seeds and Seed Butters

Ex-Seedingly GoodEverything You Need To Know About Seed ButtersLike nuts, most seeds are great brain food, and when turned into a spread, they have a similar consistency and flavor to nut butters. Sun butter, made from sunflower seeds, is perhaps the most common (and easy to make at home), but you can find other versions too, or make them yourself. Use them anywhere you would use peanut butter or other nut butters—in sandwiches, as a dip for apples, or in baked goods, for instance. You can also send pumpkin seeds as a snack; coat them with nacho cheese powder and no kid can resist, yet they’re still way healthier than Doritos. See our Guide to Seed Butters for more info on the various types available.

Popcorn

It’s crunchy, it’s healthy (at least if you start with plain, unbuttered and unsalted kernels), relatively few people are allergic to it, and it’s wildly adaptable to any seasonings you want to add, whether sweet or savory. It’s a good alternative to greasy potato chips for sure. Even better, if you buy kernels in bulk and pop them in paper bags, they’re just as easy as the microwaveable stuff sold in stores, but way cheaper (and again, far better for you).

cheesy popcorn recipe

Chowhound

Related Reading: The Most Interesting Healthy Snacks on the Market

Fresh and Dried Fruit

If your kids are old enough to safely handle skewers but still young enough to be especially enticed by food on sticks, spear some grapes and cubes of melon and pineapple instead of just dumping them into cups. Or pack whole berries, bananas, or sliced apples and pears with small containers of seed butter, vegan chocolate dip, or cinnamon yogurt dip (or a coconut-based dip if dairy is out); even if your kids don’t need to be cajoled into eating their fruit, it still helps make it more exciting.

Dried fruit is great too, from raisins to apple chips to chewy mango slices, but if you doubt they’ll eat it on its own, try mixing it into no-bake cookies, or stir it into homemade granola that’s nut- and grain-free. If you’re up for a bit of a project, you can make homemade fruit leather. And applesauce is always a safe (and easy) bet.

Non-Dairy Pudding or Mousse

Pudding is a fairly universally beloved snack, but the foil-lidded cups from the store are usually filled with preservatives, and often not allergy-safe either. Luckily, making a safer, healthier version at home is easy, and it’s definitely one of those double-duty dishes that’s great to pack for work and school lunches. Look around and you’ll find recipes based on different ingredients (avocados, silken tofu, and coconut cream are all popular dairy alternatives), and in lots of flavors beyond traditional chocolate and vanilla, so you’re sure to find one that fits your needs and that your kids will like. Encourage them to top it off with fruit or granola.

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse with Coconut Cream

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Gluten-Free (and Egg-Free) Baked Goods

It’s always nice to include a sweet treat in a packed lunch, but ideally, it’ll be healthier than, say, Oreos or Dunkaroos (RIP). And homemade means you can be sure it’s allergy-safe.

vegan chocolate chip cookies

Chowhound

Happily, the internet abounds with paleo, vegan, and nut-free desserts of all kinds, as well as tips for substituting ingredients in standard recipes, like using flax eggs or replacing butter with coconut oil. Just be on the lookout for hidden allergens in other common baking ingredients—for example, many brands of baking powder contain gluten, and some chocolate (not just milk chocolate) contains dairy, so always check the label. And check out our Guide to Gluten-Free Food if you’re just starting out in that scene.

Allergy-Safe Recipes for Back-to-School

Here are some specific allergy-friendly recipes to kick-start back-to-school season.

White Bean and Edamame Hummus

White Bean and Edamame Hummus

Chowhound

Put an Asian-inspired spin on the usual hummus with edamame, and use white beans to better let their flavor shine. The sesame oil adds a nice nutty depth, but you can skip it if allergies necessitate. Get our White Bean and Edamame Hummus recipe.

Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

homemade ranch recipe for national ranch dressing day

Shutterstock

This vegan ranch dressing relies on soaked cashews for creaminess, but if tree nuts are an issue, try a version based on vegan mayo and dairy-free milk instead. Either way, plenty of dill, onion powder, garlic, and parsley factor in. If you want more tang, add a little apple cider vinegar to taste. Get the Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing recipe.

Vegan Cheez Its

allergy-friendly school lunch & snack ideas

Westend61 / Getty Images

You can buy healthier plant-based snacks these days, but in most cases, it’s always best to make your own for the truly tastiest and least-bad-for-you option. These homemade crackers’ cheesy taste comes from nutritional yeast, and they get a color and texture boost from a little cornmeal. They’re egg-free, use vegan butter, and you can substitute a gluten-free flour for the wheat and oat flours if need be—plus, they’re truly easy to make! Get the Vegan Cheez Its recipe.

Dairy Free Fruit Dip

Increase the chances of your kids finishing all their fruit by adding a fairly healthy dip to sweeten the deal. This one’s made from coconut cream, powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla, but you can also find naturally sweetened versions if you prefer. Get the Dairy Free Fruit Dip recipe.

Apple Cinnamon Cookie Energy Bites

These no-bake cookie bites are packed with fresh shredded apples and cinnamon. You can substitute a few different things for the oats if you need these to be gluten-free, and can also use sunflower seed butter in place of the almond butter. Get the Apple Cinnamon Cookie Energy Bites recipe.

Dairy Free Paleo Chocolate Pudding

chocolate pudding recipe

Chowhound

This silky chocolate pudding will give Super Snack Packs a run for their money. They’re free of dairy, soy, and refined sugar, and easy to whip up. Get the Dairy Free Paleo Chocolate Pudding recipe.

Nut-Free Paleo Granola

Crunchy clusters of allergy-friendly granola are great on their own, or sprinkled on top of yogurt. Instead of oats and nuts, it’s made from sunflower, pumpkin, and chia seeds, plus coconut, sun butter, and honey or maple syrup. Add in whatever dried fruits your family favors, and you’ll have a winning combination. Get the Nut-Free Paleo Granola recipe.

Gluten-Free, Vegan, Allergy-Friendly Brownies

If you’re looking for a truly fudgy brownie that’s free of eggs, dairy, and wheat, give these a shot. You’ll need to get xantham gum unless you buy a gluten-free flour blend that already contains it. Coconut oil and flax eggs make these delightfully ooey-goey (but you can bake them longer if you like things a little firmer). Get the Gluten-Free, Vegan, Allergy-Friendly Brownies recipe.

Visit our Back-to-School Headquarters for everything else you need to know.

Related Video: What’s In Your Lunch Box?

Header image courtesy of Westend61 / Getty Images

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10 healthful turmeric recipes for arthritis

This article looks at 10 ways to use turmeric in tasty, healthful recipes. … Many recipes suggest that adding extra fat, such as coconut or almond oil to the … cauliflower rice for a meal that's both anti-inflammatory and paleo-friendly.

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Tasty paleo

You have to try my paleo coconut shrimp recipe, in fact, I have several … So, coconut oil instead of the butter – and if you enjoy ghee in your diet, …

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How to Throw a Hollywood Dinner Party to Please All Guests

Kayne created a menu with chef Lori Stern, who incorporated edible flowers like bachelor button from her Santa Barbara garden.

Kayne created a menu with chef Lori Stern, who incorporated edible flowers like bachelor button from her Santa Barbara garden.

Photographed by Julia Stotz

The menu is one Kayne created with chef Lori Stern, who incorporated edible flowers like bachelor button from her Santa Barbara garden. Not only do they add color, “they also have medicinal benefits,” says Stern. (Bachelor button, aka cornflower, can be made into a tea to help with fever, among other uses.)

Guests like gluten- and dairy-free Kelly Sawyer Patricof, co-president of the nonprofit baby2baby, and pescatarian Molly Sims and her carnivorous husband, Netflix’s original films head Scott Stuber, mingle over eggplant “meatballs” spiced with flowering-plant sumac in a sauce made from cashews and saag, or spinach. The sauteed, baked and deep-fried “meatballs” get their full-bodied texture from ground flaxseeds, while the saag sauce derives richness from a cream that starts with soaked and blended cashews. To plate, Kayne spreads the saag sauce onto a large platter, drizzling cilantro cashew sauce and placing the fried eggplant meatballs on top, then garnishing with nasturtium flowers. Samosas filled with pink beets, peas, purple cauliflower and potatoes seasoned with turmeric are also served.

The menu is ideal for Sims, who stopped eating red meat, dairy and gluten in January. “It’s changed my life,” says the actress. “I can eat more and have more energy than ever before.” Cutting out red meat except for once or twice a year also has been a game-changer for Jesse Ehrman, Warner Bros. executive vp production, whose wife, makeup artist Katie Fine, is gluten-free. “I became a pescatarian four years ago,” Ehrman says. “I noticed that I was having an animal protein with almost every meal.”

To satisfy current and former meat eaters, Kayne tries “to make sure there is something more substantial like cauliflower steak or mushrooms — or in this case, the jackfruit tikka masala” as a main course. The designer relies on meat-mimicking jackfruit, flavored with tomatoes and a garam masala spice blend cooked in a large pot on the stove, to add an element of heartiness to the meal. “I think if you have lots of different veggies with delicious flavors and a starch or carb, everyone leaves satisfied, even if you’re used to eating meat,” she says. “People always leave feeling lighter but like they indulged.”

JACKFRUIT TIKKA MASALA

Ingredients

1 can jackfruit, drained, rinsed and strained; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 1 teaspoon kosher salt; 1 large onion, finely chopped; 2 garlic cloves, minced; 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced; 2 tablespoons garam masala spice blend; 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder; 1 teaspoon organic coconut sugar; 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper; 1 teaspoon organic tomato paste; 1 28-ounce can organic whole plum tomatoes. Optional garnish: lots of fresh cilantro leaves, flowers and 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

Instructions

In a large enameled dutch oven or pot, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until simmering. Add the onion, salt, garlic and ginger and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chili powder, tomato paste and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the coconut sugar and tomatoes with their juices, breaking up the whole tomatoes as your pour into the pot. Season with salt and pepper.

Lower the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Break up the jackfruit into shreds and put into the pot of simmering sauce, keeping the pot partially covered, for an additional 10-20 minutes or until the jackfruit is completely combined and the sauce starts to thicken. If at any point the sauce looks too thick, add several tablespoons of filtered water. When the sauce has reduced and thickened just slightly, it is ready to serve. Pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle on the toasted sliced almonds, cilantro leaves and flowers.

EGGPLANT “MEATBALLS” IN SPINACH CASHEW SAAG SAUCE

“MEATBALLS”

Ingredients

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds; 1/4 cup warm water; 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided; 1 medium onion, diced; 3 garlic cloves, minced; 1 medium Italian eggplant (about 1 lb.), peeled and very finely diced; 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped; 1/4 cup nutritional yeast; 1 cup almond flour; 1 teaspoon cumin; 1 teaspoon coriander; 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; 3 cups grapeseed oil for frying

Instructions

First make the flax egg by whisking the flax seeds and warm water together in a small bowl, allowing the mixture to sit for at least 10 minutes until thick. While the flax egg is thickening, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in skillet. Add the onion and salt and saute on medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and coriander and continue to saute until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the eggplant and continue to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, flipping occasionally, or until the eggplant is soft and browned in spots. Allow to cool completely.

Place the eggplant mixture into a large mixing bowl, along with the flax mixture, and stir in all remaining ingredients. Mix well (hands work great here), and then shape the mixture into 1-inch balls (about 20 of them).

Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

When the meatballs are cold, pour your oil into a large pan with higher than 4-inch sides, so that the oil is about 2 inches high. Heat the oil on high until it is almost smoking. Turn down the heat to medium to keep that temperature constant. Carefully put the meatballs into the oil, do not overcrowd. Move them around in the hot oil until they are slightly brown on all sides. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to fry the meatballs in batches. Once the meatballs are all fried, set aside.

SAAG SAUCE

Ingredients

 

1.5 cups raw cashew pieces; 2 cups filtered boiling water; 6 cups fresh spinach, washed; 2 cups dinosaur kale, washed and thinly sliced; 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, leaves removed from stems; 1 small onion, chopped; 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced; 3 garlic cloves, minced; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 1/2 cup vegetable broth or filtered water; 1 tablespoon lemon juice; 1 teaspoon cumin; 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Instructions

 

First make the cashew cream. Put the 1.5 cups cashews in a large, wide-mouth mason jar and pour in the 2 cups boiling water. Let sit for at least 1 hour or overnight. Once the cashews are soaked and soft, pour off 1 cup of the liquid and blend until the cashew cream is the same thickness as yogurt, adding more water if necessary, and set aside.

 

Pour the olive oil into a deep saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and saute for several minutes, adding the ginger, garlic and cumin, sauteing until fragrant. Put the spinach, kale and vegetable broth or water into the pan and turn down the heat to medium low, cover and let the greens steam, checking every couple of minutes until the greens are sufficiently wilted. Set aside and let cool completely. 

 

Take your cashew mixture and reserve 1/4 cup in a separate mason jar. Using a handheld blender, blend the reserved 1/4 cup cashew cream with 1/3 cup cilantro and a pinch of salt, adding a few tablespoons of water so the consistency is that of a loose smoothie. This lighter green sauce will be used to drip onto the plated eggplant meatballs in saag.  

 

Combine the remaining cashew cream with the spinach, kale and onion mixture and add the lemon juice. Using a handheld blender, blend completely until the consistency is like a sauce, adding tablespoons of water as necessary.

 

Spread the saag sauce onto a large platter and drizzle the light green cilantro cashew sauce in an artful way. Place the fried eggplant meatballs spaced apart onto the saag sauce and decorate with nasturtium flowers.

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5 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Coconut

Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera).

It’s used for its water, milk, oil, and tasty meat.

Coconuts have been grown in tropical regions for more than 4,500 years but recently increased in popularity for their flavor, culinary uses, and potential health benefits (1).

Here are 5 health and nutrition benefits of coconut.

Coconut NutritionShare on Pinterest

The raw white meat inside a coconut is referred to as the kernel. It has a firm texture and delicious, slightly sweet flavor (2).

If you have a whole coconut, you can scrape the raw meat out of the shell and eat it. In its processed form, you’ll usually find it sliced, shaved, or grated (2, 3).

Coconut milk and cream are made by pressing the raw, grated meat (2, 3).

Dried coconut meat is usually grated or shaved and used in cooking or baking. It can be further processed and ground into flour (2, 3).

Coconut oil is also extracted from the meat (2, 3, 4).

Summary Coconut meat is tasty and slightly sweet, and you can enjoy it raw or dried. Many related products are produced from it, including coconut milk, cream, and oil.

Unlike many other fruits that are high in carbs, coconuts provide mostly fat (5, 6, 7).

They also contain protein, several important minerals, and small amounts of B vitamins. However, they’re not a significant source of most other vitamins (5, 6).

The minerals in coconut are involved in many functions in your body. Coconuts are especially high in manganese, which is essential for bone health and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol (8).

They’re also rich in copper and iron, which help form red blood cells, as well as selenium, an important antioxidant that protects your cells.

Here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup (100 grams) of raw and dried coconut meat (5, 6):

Much of the fat in coconut is in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) (9, 10, 11).

Your body metabolizes MCTs differently than other types of fats, absorbing them directly from your small intestine and rapidly using them for energy (12, 13, 14).

One review on the benefits of MCTs in people with obesity found these fats may promote body fat loss when eaten in place of long-chain saturated fats from animal foods (14).

Summary Although coconut meat is high in fat, the MCTs it contains may help you lose excess body fat. The meat also provides carbs and protein along with many essential minerals, such as manganese, copper, iron, and selenium.

Studies have found that people who live on Polynesian islands and frequently eat coconut meat have lower rates of heart disease than those who follow a Western diet (10).

However, native Polynesians also eat more fish and less processed foods, so it’s unclear if these lower rates are due to eating coconut or other aspects of their diet (10).

Another study in 1,837 Filipino women found that those who ate more coconut oil not only had higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol but also higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides (10).

Overall, it concluded that coconut oil has a neutral effect on cholesterol levels (10).

Consuming virgin coconut oil, which is extracted from dried coconut meat, may reduce belly fat. This is especially beneficial because excess belly fat increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes (14, 15).

A study in 20 people with obesity found the waist size of male participants decreased by an average of about 1 inch (about 3 cm) after they consumed 1 ounce (30 ml) of virgin coconut oil daily for 4 weeks. The female participants did not experience a significant reduction (16).

However, in one longer study, women who consumed 1 ounce (30 ml) of refined coconut oil daily for 12 weeks experienced a reduction of 0.5 inches (1.4 cm) from their waist measurement, on average (17).

Summary Eating coconut may improve cholesterol levels and help decrease belly fat, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Coconut is low in carbs and high in fiber and fat, so it may help stabilize your blood sugar.

One rat study found that coconut had antidiabetic effects, possibly due to its arginine content. Arginine is an amino acid that’s important for the functioning of pancreatic cells, which release the hormone insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels (18).

When rats with diabetes were fed protein made from coconut meat, their blood sugar, insulin levels, and other glucose metabolism markers were much better than those that didn’t eat coconut protein (18).

In addition, beta cells in their pancreas started making more insulin — a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. Researchers suspected the improved beta-cell function was also due to the high amounts of arginine found in coconut (18).

The high fiber content of coconut meat can also help slow digestion and improve insulin resistance, which can help regulate blood sugar levels as well (19).

Summary Coconut is low in carbs and rich in amino acids, healthy fats, and fiber, making it a great choice for blood sugar control.

Coconut meat contains phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants that may help protect cells from oxidative damage. The main phenolic compounds identified include (20):

  • gallic acid
  • caffeic acid
  • salicylic acid
  • p-coumaric acid

Lab tests on coconut meat have shown that it has antioxidant and free-radical-scavenging activity (20).

The polyphenols found in it can prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, making it less likely to form plaques in arteries that can increase the risk of heart disease (4).

Some test-tube and animal studies have also shown that antioxidants found in coconut oil may help protect cells from damage and death caused by oxidative stress and chemotherapy (21, 22).

Summary Coconuts contain polyphenol antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage, which may reduce your disease risk.

Flaked or shaved, coconut adds a nice flavor to savory dishes. Its meaty texture and flavor work well in curries, fish stews, rice dishes, or even on breaded shrimp.

Be aware that some brands contain added sugar, which you may not want for savory dishes. Be sure to check the ingredient label.

Shredded coconut is great for baking and adds a touch of natural sweetness and moisture to cookies, muffins, and quick breads.

A sprinkle of raw coconut adds some texture and tropical flavor to oatmeal. Stirred into pudding or yogurt, it’s also a delicious calorie booster for someone who wants to gain weight.

Coconut flour is used in baking as a substitute for wheat flour. It’s gluten-free, nut-free, and a popular option for anyone who’s counting carbs.

Because it’s grain-free, the flour is also good for those on the paleo diet, which does not allow grain products like regular wheat flour.

However, coconut flour is best used in recipes that have been tested, as it won’t rise like wheat flour and absorbs more liquid than other types of flour.

Additionally, coconut oil is a delicious heat-stable fat that can be used in baking, sautéing, or roasting.

Summary Coconut is versatile in the kitchen and works well in both sweet and savory foods. It’s a great choice for those on low-carb, paleo, gluten-free, or nut-free diets.

Because they’re so high in fat, coconuts are also high in calories.

Depending on your calorie needs and intake, they might promote weight gain if you don’t account for the extra calories elsewhere in your diet.

There still isn’t much good-quality research on coconut, cholesterol, and heart disease. Thus, while eating coconut in moderation is probably fine, you should ask your healthcare provider about it if you are at risk of developing heart disease.

Additionally, some people are allergic to coconuts, though this is rare. If you have this allergy, you should avoid consuming all coconut-derived products.

Summary Coconut is high in calories, so if you’re watching your weight, keep your portions small. Check with your healthcare provider about eating it if you have very high cholesterol or are at risk of heart disease.

Coconut is a high-fat fruit that has a wide range of health benefits.

These include providing you with disease-fighting antioxidants, promoting blood sugar regulation, and reducing certain risk factors for heart disease.

However, coconut is very high in fat and calories, so watch your portion sizes if you are trying to lose weight or need to follow a low-fat diet.

Whether you eat it raw, dried, or as flour, coconut meat is delicious and easy to incorporate into both sweet and savory dishes.

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The best Paleo Instant Pot recipes you’ll want to make again and again

soft-pillowy-paleo-cinnamon-rolls-instant-pot

These cinnamon rolls are 100% delicious and 100% paleo.


Paleo Hacks

Who said cavemen can’t eat braised short ribs and chocolate cake? Well, OK, they couldn’t — but you can, even if you follow a paleo diet. And you can make those wellness-friendly recipes and more all with one handy kitchen appliance: the Instant Pot

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A beloved all-in-one pressure cooker, the Instant Pot can help you whip up delectable recipes in a fraction of the time they’d take to make on a stovetop or in the oven. Here are 21 paleo-friendly Instant Pot recipes you’ll want to make over and over again. 

Read more: Does the Instant Pot kill nutrients in your food? | What’s the best Instant Pot to buy? | 15 more healthy Instant Pot recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Paleo Instant Pot breakfast recipes

You can’t eat toast, oatmeal, Greek yogurt and other breakfast favorites on paleo, so you might feel like you have eggs, bacon and bananas on repeat. Expand your paleo breakfast options with these Instant Pot recipes. 

1. Soft and Pillowy Instant Pot Cinnamon Rolls

Cue nostalgia! Made with ghee and pasture-raised eggs, these fluffy cinnamon rolls will transport you back to cozy Sunday mornings with cartoons, sans white sugar and flour. 

2. Instant Pot Breakfast Casserole

Spice up your usual scrambled eggs by making a paleo egg casserole with nitrate-free bacon, coconut milk and nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor. Top it off with a green onion garnish to feel extra fancy. 

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Paleo Instant Pot breakfast casserole.


Wholesomlicious

3. Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs

Sometimes, simple is best. Hard-boiled eggs are an easy grab-and-go breakfast for rushed mornings, and with an Instant Pot, you can make big batches without worrying about the water boiling over. 

4. Instant Pot Crustless Quiche

You won’t miss the pastry crust in this paleo Instant Pot quiche: This recipe bakes in small ramekins to mimic the crispy outside and fluffy inside of traditional quiches. 

5. Instant Pot Coconut Yogurt

Replicate the creaminess of Greek yogurt with this coconut milk yogurt. It does take a while to make due to the cooling period, but it’s worth it if you miss dairy while on a paleo diet. Bonus: This recipe uses live bacterial cultures to support gut health. 

Paleo Instant Pot recipes for lunch and dinner

Protein and veggies are staples of the paleo diet, and luckily you can speed-cook just about any protein and vegetable dish in your Instant Pot. Whatever your palate, at least one of these paleo lunch and dinner recipes will make it onto your list.

6. Tender Instant Pot Short Ribs

Rubbed in salt, pepper and garlic, these short ribs fall apart at the touch as if you baked them for hours in the oven. But these only take 40 minutes, thanks to your Instant Pot. 

short-ribs-in-the-instant-pot-paleo

Fall-apart short ribs could be an everyday thing with an Instant Pot.


Raia’s Recipes

7. Instant Pot Stuffed Cabbage Roll Bowls

There’s nothing fancy or revolutionary about this paleo dish, but you’ll probably feel you’re both when you dig into it. Ground beef or turkey, avocado oil, cauliflower rice and chopped cabbage come together to make these “unstuffed” cabbage rolls. 

8. Instant Pot Whole Chicken

Pretty much everything in an Instant Pot is quick and easy, but this easy whole chicken might take first place for both awards. Baking an entire chicken takes hours, but this Instant Pot paleo chicken takes just 40 minutes. You can shred the chicken and add it to virtually any recipe, or eat it on its own. 

9. Instant Pot Pork Chops

You only need six ingredients for these thick, bone-in Instant Pot pork chops, and you probably already have most of them at home. With a 25-minute total time, this recipe is great for a quick weeknight paleo dinner. 

10. Instant Pot Coconut Chicken

Another half-hour meal with minimal ingredients (only five!), this paleo coconut chicken from Clean Eating Kitchen will have you donning a hula skirt to celebrate its Hawaiian flavors. 

11. Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Salmon

If you always forget to defrost your protein before dinnertime, this is the recipe for you. You can toss frozen salmon filets into your Instant Pot and have a steaming-hot paleo dinner ready in 20 minutes. 

paleo-lemon-garlic-salmon-instant-pot

Cook fish from frozen for a quick paleo Instant Pot meal.


The Natural Nurturer

12. Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a popular pasta alternative, but it’s notorious for taking ages to cook. You don’t even need to slice your squash in half: Simply pierce it with a knife and stick the whole thing in your Instant Pot to cook for 7 minutes. 

13. Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts With Bacon

Did someone say bacon? These Brussels sprouts did. Flaky, crispy and slightly sweet with honey, these Instant Pot bacon Brussels sprouts make the perfect side dish for dinner or potluck offering. 

14. Instant Pot Chicken Zoodle Soup

You can’t have noodles on a paleo diet, but you can have zoodles. This paleo version uses avocado oil and plenty of chopped veggies that make it as soul-warming as traditional chicken noodle soup. 

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Use zucchini noodles or “zoodles” for paleo chicken noodle soup. 


The Bettered Blondie

15. Instant Pot Honey Mustard Chicken

If you’re tired of eating chicken, you probably haven’t tried this honey mustard chicken from Paleo Running Mama. In her words, this recipe is: “A) out of this world delicious, B) a breeze to make, plus C) kid- and husband-approved.”

16. Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

Craving takeout? Try this sweet-and-sour chicken recipe that uses coconut oil, pineapple chunks, apple cider vinegar and toasted sesame seeds for a praiseworthy fusion of flavors. 

17. Instant Pot Jamaican Jerk Pork Roast

Eat this pork roast on its own; shred it and serve over a salad; slice and wrap in lettuce; or stuff it into a roasted poblano pepper… The possibilities are endless, but whatever option you choose, you’ll be sad when there’s no more of this paleo pork roast. 

Paleo Instant Pot dessert recipes

Paleo doesn’t have to equal restrictive. In fact, a paleo diet can force you to get even more creative with food and make recipes you’d never think to try if you could eat a Little Debbie snack instead. These paleo dessert recipes for Instant Pot will satisfy any sweet tooth.

18. Instant Pot Lemon Pudding Cups

Lemon juice, raw maple syrup or honey, coconut milk and eggs converge in your Instant Pot to make a deceptively healthy pudding. Garnish with berries, toasted coconut or another paleo topping. 

19. Instant Pot Paleo Chocolate Cake

It’s decadent, it’s sweet and it’s oh-so-chocolatey — It’s Instant Pot paleo chocolate cake, which gives regular chocolate cake a run for its money. You’ll need a 6-inch aluminum cake pan, a steam rack and a sealing ring in addition to the nine paleo ingredients this cake takes.  

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Who new paleo Instant Pot chocolate cake could look so good?


Thriving on Paleo

20. Instant Pot Paleo Lemon Cake

I don’t like the word moist, but I truly see no other accurate way to describe this paleo Instant Pot lemon cake. Dense, maybe, but definitely moist. And lemony and zesty. In other words, all the things you want a lemon cake to be. 

21. Instant Pot Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This soft, chewy and chocolatey paleo banana bread packs more protein than regular banana bread thanks to collagen peptides. It also uses stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, honey, avocado oil, cassava flour and pasture-raised eggs for a very paleo take on a traditional favorite. 

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Healthy Banana and Coconut Bread Recipe (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free)

A deliciously moist and tender banana and coconut bread recipe, made in one bowl and without eggs! Made with almond flour and naturally sweetened, it’s perfect to snack on, breakfast or even dessert! Secretly low carb, paleo, vegan and gluten-free.

Healthy Banana and Coconut Bread Recipe without eggs or sugar!

Healthy Banana Coconut Bread Recipe

When it comes to banana bread, we are HUGE fans here. We’ve had the original BEST healthy banana bread, zucchini banana bread, and even raspberry banana bread.

After making some toasted coconut flakes from my second cookbook, I thought they’d be perfect to add to a fresh loaf!

I am incredibly picky when it comes to my banana bread recipes. They have to be moist on the inside, and tender and golden on the outside. I also prefer my sweetbreads to be healthy, as I secretly love having a slice or two for breakfast.

Made without butter, without dairy, and without sugar, this coconut banana bread recipe ticks ALL the boxes. It’s paleo, vegan, gluten-free and grain-free, but you’d never tell! 

Moist and Tender Banana and Coconut Bread Recipe

How to make healthy banana and coconut bread

  • Prepare your flax eggs by combining 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 6 tablespoons of water. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes until a gel is formed.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients and mix well. In a seperate small bowl, combine your melted coconut oil, prepared flax eggs, and mashed bananas. Mix very well.
  • Combine your wet and dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in your coconut flakes and optional chocolate chips, using a rubber spatula. 
  • Transfer the coconut banana bread into the lined loaf pan. Top with extra chocolate chips and coconut flakes and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the center.
  • Allow the banana and coconut bread to cool in the pan completely, before slicing into pieces. 

Can I use coconut flour for banana bread?

Substituting the almond flour for coconut flour will NOT work.

Coconut flour has a considerably different texture and soaks up liquids like a sponge. A fantastic coconut flour recipe is these pancakes or these cookies. 

Easy banana and coconut bread recipe that is healthy

Can you replace butter with coconut oil in the recipe? 

This coconut and banana bread recipe has been tested using butter instead of coconut oil. It will work well, but be sure the vegan butter is completely melted before adding to the mixture. 

Can I use eggs if I am not vegan? 

To replace the flax eggs with real eggs, you can use two large eggs. Be sure that they are at room temperature. 

Storing banana coconut bread

If you intend on enjoying the banana coconut bread within 2-3 days, you can store it at room temperature. Ensure they are stored in a sealed container or covered completely.

It is best to refrigerate banana bread, as it is super moist. Place the loaf on a plate and cover completely. Refrigerated banana coconut bread will keep fresh for up to 7 days. 

Vegan and paleo toasted coconut banana bread recipe

Can you freeze banana coconut bread?

Healthy Banana and coconut bread is freezer friendly and perfect to store in the freezer, to enjoy later.

Simply slice banana coconut bread and wrap each slice in parchment paper. Place each slice in a ziplock bag and place in the freezer.

Frozen banana and coconut bread will keep for up to 6 months. 

To enjoy a slice from the freezer, thaw at room temperature. 

More healthy sweet bread and cakes recipes

Easy Healthy Moist and Tender Banana and Toasted Coconut Bread Recipe made without butter and without eggs!

Toasted Coconut Banana Bread Recipe that is healthy, easy, moist and tender!
  • Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

  • Prepare your flax egg by combining your ground flaxseed with water. Let sit for 10 minutes to form a gel.

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl, melt your coconut oil. Add your mashed bananas and flax eggs/eggs and whisk together. 

  • Using a rubber spatula, fold through your shredded coconut and chocolate chips.

  • Transfer your coconut banana bread batter into the greased pan. Top with extra chocolate chips and coconut and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan completely, before slicing.

Healthy Coconut Banana Bread (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free) should be stored in the fridge, in a sealed container or covered in plastic wrap. Coconut Banana bread is freezer friendly and will keep well frozen for up to 6 months. 

Serving: 1Slice | Calories: 145kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 8g | Fiber: 4g | Vitamin A: 2% | Vitamin C: 3% | Calcium: 4% | Iron: 4%

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