How To: 5 Reasons to Always Have Coconut Flakes in the Kitchen

5 Reasons to Always Have Coconut Flakes in the Kitchen

For me, shredded coconut is something that is eaten several times a week in a variety of ways—and that includes in savory dishes. It can be added to just about anything, and this is a good thing if you enjoy having some variety in your diet. Because I get tired of eating the same foods all the time, over the last few weeks I've tried some pretty interesting and simple ways to use coconut flakes in order to keep my finicky palate satisfied.

1. Coconut Bacon

When I first heard about coconut bacon from The Simple Veganista, I was definitely curious—everything with the word "bacon" in it is automatically magical (or at least it is for me). Even though this recipe contains no actual bacon, the end result is an amazing substitute that can be used in a variety of ways: from pizza to salads to wraps and more!

Image by Julie/The Simple Veganista

2. Coconut Butter

Caution: this tasty treat is very addictive.

Thanks to The Kitchn, I've recently started to make coconut butter at home... and haven't looked back since. My favorite way to eat it is on some toasted Hawaiian bread or in my oatmeal. I personally like my coconut butter with some texture, so I chose to go light on the blending and the end result was still amazing. (However, feel free to blend until it reaches a more butter-like consistency, if that's what you prefer.)

Coconut butter spreads wonderfully, it's sweet, and it's healthy. I'd say that's a win-win!

3. Thengai (Coconut) Buns

If you haven't noticed already, I really love shredded coconut. Another thing I love almost as much as coconut is bread. Apparently I'm not the only one because Divya of Divya's Culinary Journey has shared a recipe for buns stuffed with coconut that I had never heard of called thengai, or coconut buns. In India, this popular treat is filled with coconut and other sweets such as tutti frutti. If you don't have tutti frutti, that's okay: you can substitute it with other ingredients, like raisins or dried cherries.

Here's my pro-tip that will save you time when making the dough for the buns: use equal parts self-rising flour and heavy whipping cream, then mix gently. With these two ingredients, you've got yourself some dough to make those buns!

4. Coconut Onion Rings

So... sometimes I'm a little fancy, and regular fries just won't do. Coconut onion rings are something I like to make at home when I have leftover onions that I need to use before they go bad.

Word to the wise: Be sure that you use unsweetened coconut flakes if you're looking for a more savory onion ring appetizer.

Image by Emma Chapman/A Beautiful Mess

5. Coconut Chicken

I have to admit that this is my new favorite way to eat baked chicken; not only is it easy to make, but it's delicious to boot—the coconut adds texture and a touch of sweetness that curbs my cravings for honey-smothered fried chicken. (You can even eat it with rice cooked with coconut oil, which may reduce the overall caloric content of the dish!)

If you are paleo-friendly, there are options for you as well that taste just as good.

Image by Tiffany/Le Creme de la Crumb

Do you have any favorite shredded coconut flakes pairings? If so, post them below in the comments.

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Photos by Jessica Rae/Food Hacks (unless otherwise stated)

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