Forget that it’s trendy — coconut is one of most unique foods on the planet and one of the best for you too! It has a unique fatty acid and amino acid structure unlike no other food; it’s filled with electrolytes, B vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, and to beat all, there are multiple ways you can use all parts of the coconut. From the meat (pulp) to the oil to the milk and drying the meat of the coconut to make shreds or whip it into coconut butter, most no other food comes with so much versatility in raw form. Plus, coconut makes for a great dairy replacement if you’re looking to go dairy-free, are allergic, or just trying to add more plant-based foods into your diet.
Coconut milk is one of the most unique forms of coconut because it’s easy to make dairy-free whipped cream, use in place of typical coffee creamer, can be used anywhere dairy milk is called for, is easy to digest, full of good fats, and also easy to find in organic forms. You can even make it yourself in just a few minutes! If you buy store-bought coconut milk, look for organic and non-genetically modified sources to be sure you’re choosing the best. Then, opt for culinary style coconut milks (either in BPA-free cans or in Tetra-pak containers) versus highly processed coconut milks that have lots of additives and sugar. Not only is this better for you, but pure coconut milk also works better in recipes since it’s thicker and adds more viscosity wherever it’s added. Pure coconut milk is an excellent thick milk all on its own. If you decide to make your own coconut milk, you can however, flavor it with either vanilla bean, extracts, or add a pinch of sweetener of your choice.
Try these 15 recipes below using coconut milk as inspiration to experiment with more dairy-free options using the amazing coconut a little more often!
1. Raw Fruit Popsicles With Coconut
Summer is coming up, which means it’s time for popsicles and frozen delights. These popsicles aren’t just rich and indulgent tasting, but also incredibly good for you since they’re made of only the best whole food ingredients!
2. Lavender Coconut Ice Cream
If you haven’t ever tried using the relaxing, intoxicating herb lavender in your recipes, this ice cream dish is a great chance to try it out. It adds a sweet, mellow, and just purely delightful addition to sweet desserts. Coconut milk makes a great ice cream ingredient that eliminates the need for milk or cream since it’s rich in healthy fats. Try it out in this ice cream recipe, perfect for the warmer months coming up!
3. Raw Fruit and Coconut Ice Cream With a Brownie Crust
Surely an ice cream cake is enough to make anyone want to give coconut milk a try, right? This ice cream cake isn’t just an ice cream cake either — it’s a super delicious explosion of healthy ingredients and isn’t that hard to make, despite its beautiful nature. Filled with glorious fruits, real brownie flavors from raw cacao and natural sweeteners, and a creamy filling thanks to the coconut milk used, this cake is one to give a try. Give it a try for a celebration or a special dinner dessert!
4. Strawberry Shortcakes With a Coconut Whipped Cream Topping
Strawberry shortcakes are a favorite of many, and you can easily make your own whipped cream just using coconut milk. Try these cute little snack-like desserts out for your next cookout or when you just get a craving for a sweet, summery snack!
5. Vegan Bulletproof Coffee
We’re sure you’ve heard of the buzz around Bulletproof Coffee, which is typically made with grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and a high-quality coffee. Why not give it a try with coconut milk instead? You’ll still get the benefits from the fatty acids, which slows down the rush of caffeine in the body for a long stream of energy, which is the intention of the original recipe. The result? A creamy delight that benefits the brain and energy to last all day!
6. Khajur Gajar Halwa (Carrot and Date Pudding With Coconut and Cardamom)
Rice pudding is a great dessert to try in place of typical desserts you might normally make. It is sweet, rich, and can be flavored anyway you like. Using coconut milk in the recipe adds a special indulgence and also a bit of heartiness that makes this dessert more substantial without weighing you down. Try this ethnic-flavored rice pudding that features cardamom, a sweet and delightful spice that makes any dish better with just a dash!
7. Grilled Vegan Apple Pie With Vanilla Coconut Whipped Cream
Apple pie? Count is in! And, with vegan whipped cream? Even better! Coconut milk whipped cream is much better than buying processed whipped cream alternatives at the store, mainly because there is no additives and it only takes a few minutes to make. It’s also cheaper, if you want to know the truth! These mini apple pies are great to dip in coconut whipped cream and are hand-grilled to add more sweet, rich flavor. Forget baking yours in the oven; try this recipe instead!
8. No Bake Coconut Pumpkin Pie
Okay, so it might not be fall, but who cares? Pumpkin pie is so delicious, it should really be enjoyed more times of the year outside of the holiday season. Plus, this recipe is no-bake, so you don’t even have to cut on your oven in the hot temps. Using coconut milk in place of evaporated milk normally called for makes for a thicker dessert and a much richer tasting one without all the excess sugar from lactose in dairy milk. Yes, please, and thank you!
10. Coconut Vanilla Cake
Coconut cake is a nice replacement to chocolate (at least ONCE in awhile). It’s also perfect for warmer weather desserts since it’s a tropical fruit loved by many. This cake features coconut shreds and coconut milk, plus fresh raspberries to compliment the dish and add a nice fresh flavor. Perfect for those summer get-together celebrations coming up soon!
11. Mild Coconut Carrot Soup With Shitake, Cilantro, and Spring Onion
Sometimes you just a need a bowl of soup. Period. But everyone gets tired of veggie soup once in awhile, right? Making an easy, yet exotic soup is one of the best ways to get yourself out of a soup rut and learn to embrace new flavors. This soup features a wide variety of not only healthy ingredients, but also flavor-packed ones at that. From the mushrooms to the coconut milk to the ginger and the onion, this soup will warm you soul unlike any other!
12. Raspberry and Coconut Glazed Donuts
Donuts! Yes, life is sweet when you can enjoy delicious donuts without an ounce of animal products included. For those that want a fruity, rich and sweet donut, this recipe is for you. Just be warned — if you leave these around your house, you probably won’t have many left for yourself!
13. Mango, Coconut and Sultana Naans
Don’t these just look double dip worthy? Naan is a delightful bread that’s sweet, toasty, and slightly soft … basically, it’s the perfect dipping bread. Sultanas are like raisins and add a nice warming sweetness to this bread while coconut milk is used to add even more richness. You can dip these into vegan yogurt, spread vegan butter on them, or even dip them intohummus or cashew cream.
14. Gluten-Free Coconut Lime Loaf
Tired of plain old pound cake or looking to go without all that butter used in typical loaf cakes? Give this vegan and gluten-free dessert a try; you’ll never know it’s missing the traditional ingredients because it’s sweet and rich all on its own!
15. Vegan Creamy Ginger Coconut Kale Zucchini Spaghetti
One of our most popular savory entrees using coconut milk, this pasta dish is perfect for spring and summer! Featuring green peas, spicy ginger, and succulent coconut milk, it’s a complete package of flavor wrapped up into a secretly healthy recipe!
So tell us, how are you going to enjoy coconut milk in place of dairy milk next? Whatever you choose, be sure to snap a picture and tag it with our #EatForThePlanet hashtag for our special #EatForThePlanet campaign so your recipe can be featured on our site!