This Sept. 2, in addition to commemorating the hard work of American laborers, we also get to celebrate something a little more tasty: world coconut day. Coconuts– along with being delicious– are highly nutritious, high in antioxidants, and surprisingly easy to incorporate into your diet.
From protein-packed “energy balls” to toasted granola to plain coconut water, there are many creative ways reap the benefits of this superfood. So, The Hurricane is bringing you some student-friendly recipes you’ll go (coco)nuts for!
1. Coconut Energy Balls
“Energy balls” are a great pick-me-up for long days or study hours. They are also incredibly easy to make if you have access to a food processor. Compared to some granola-bars found in grocery stores, these energy balls are minimally processed with whole ingredients. They’re also vegan! Here is a great recipe developed by the Minimalist Baker. Eat them in mounds or flatten into rectangles for a standard “granola bar” shape. In light of World Coconut Day, add a few sprinkles of shredded coconut to the mix for a sweeter treat.
TIP: For a kick of energy-boosting fat, add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the mixture.
2. Toasted Granola with Coconut
Yields: 6 cups/servings
While this granola recipe calls for an oven, it is still a great alternative to expensive options available in grocery stores. Coconut oil can be expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Plus, it has great shelf-life and stores well in most conditions. If you live in the University Village or a residence with access to a kitchen, this recipe is for you!
2 cups rolled oats (or substitute with gluten-free oats)
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup melted coconut oil (or substitute with olive oil for lower saturated fats)
¼ cup maple syrup or honey (if using agave nectar, reduce to 2 tablespoons)
¼ cup shredded coconut or coconut flakes
¼ cup of chopped nuts or seeds
¼ cup of dried cranberries, raisins or goji berries
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit / 177 Celsius. If using optional ingredients, set them aside to use as toppings later. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and spread evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until oats are golden. Let the granola mixture cool completely, and top with optional ingredients if using any. Finally, store in tightly sealed jar.
3. Coconut Milk Overnight Oats
This recipe is the most dorm-friendly item on the list, as it requires no appliances to prepare, except a fridge. Overnight oats are a great breakfast for busy mornings and can be made days in advance. Plus, it is dairy-free!
½ cup rolled oats (or substitute for gluten-free oats)
½ unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons nut / seed butter
Any sweetener, to taste
Toasted granola from recipe two
Agave or honey
Hemp/flaxseed powder or chia seeds
In a jar with a tight lid (such as a Mason Jar), add all ingredients and stir with a spoon. Replace lid tightly, and store in fridge for no more than three days. When ready to eat, add additional toppings if desired.
4. Easy Açaí Bowl
Let’s face it: açaí bowls will never go out of style. They’re incredibly tasty, healthy and Instagram-worthy, too. They are also very easy to make if you have a small blender. Save yourself from long lines at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market on campus, and make your own at home!
– 1 packet açaí frozen puree (“Sambazon” is a great brand)
– 1 cup fruit juice or coconut water
– 1 frozen banana
– Any assortment of berries, sliced bananas, agave/honey, nuts, seeds, coconut flakes or toasted granola (see Recipe #2)
Blend “Açaí Base” ingredients in a blender until smooth. Then, distribute puree into a bowl, and top with toppings. Enjoy!