Coconut has gotten a lot of publicity lately, whether it be from its oil form or water. This tropical food can be classified as a fruit, a nut, and a seed. Coconut is packed with options, as it can be eaten in various ways.
Coconut meat can be eaten raw or dried, and is a great source of dietary fiber, protein, fats, and other micronutrients.
Coconut water is excellent for hydration as its rich in potassium and other electrolytes. The water also contains beneficial antioxidants, enzymes, B vitamins, and minerals such as magnesium, manganese and zinc. And to top it all off, coconut water is a perfect low calorie and low sugar beverage!
And last but not least, is the controversial coconut oil. Coconut oil went from being highly promoted to now demonized for its saturated fat content. So what is really the truth? Coconut oil does contain a high percentage of saturated fats. But unlike many saturated fats from animals, coconut oil has mostly medium-chain fatty acids, which have the potential to raise your good cholesterol, otherwise known as your HDL. But remember, there is still saturated fat, which when eaten in excess can increase your bad cholesterol, your LDL. So like most foods, moderation is key! Another positive aspect of coconut oil is that it is considered a stable oil, which means it is a good fat to cook with because it can be heated to high temperatures without forming harmful by-products like animal fats and some vegetable oils can. Try to remember that fats are not bad, and in fact needed for absorption of fat soluble vitamins. It is the amount that you are eating and the kind that can be detrimental to your health.
To sum up the benefits, when you eat coconut you are getting:
Healthy fats needed for vitamin and mineral digestion & absorption
Benefits for skin, hair, and nails
Whole food, plant-based energy
HDL improvement potential when eaten in moderation
And not to mention…. We LOVE to use coconut in its various forms in our truffles, munches, and power bites!! Grab some today and enjoy yet another healing, plant-based ingredient!
This queso not only tastes amazing, but you will also be getting a much bigger bang for your buck in the nutrient department! This recipe, unlike its high fat dairy friend, is providing inflammation fighting antioxidants, fiber, and plant based protein. The butternut squash base adds a high amounts of Vitamin A, C, E, (all wonderful antioxidants) and B-6, as well as folate, pantothenic acid, and manganese. You will also be consuming a great source of potassium and calcium. The soaked cashews provide a rich creaminess that you will not be able to get enough of! As you can see this queso is guilt free, so whip up this recipe soon to enjoy!
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews
- 8-10 chopped garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- ½ - 1 chopped jalapeño
- 1 tsbp smoked paprika
- ¾ cup original, plain almond milk
- Sriracha to taste**
To begin, you want to soak your raw cashews for at least 1 hour. When you are ready to cook, begin with the squash. Peel and dice the squash, and add it with your garlic, and cashews in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and cook until the squash is very tender. I ladled off about 1-2 cups of the water and then added the remaining contents into a blender, plus the vinegar and the almond milk. Blend until smooth. Then add your other ingredients & spices to taste.
This is queso goes great as a dip for chips & veggies, on top of your favorite bean burrito, and also as the perfect addition to your plant-based chili!
Addie Dulaney Majnaric, RDN graduate of West Virginia University, where she received her dual Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology and Human Nutrition and Foods and minor in Strength & Conditioning. Addie recently finished her supervised practice rotations, and passed her licensure exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She is very excited to begin helping people reach their happiest and healthiest selves through a vegan diet!
Addie has been vegan for 6 years, and promotes her recipes, love for animals, and nutrition journey on her blog: https://beansandblessingsblog.wordpress.com. In her free time, Addie enjoys running, creating vegan meals and baking, spending time with her husband Nathan and her best friend and sidekick, Kimba the rescue German Shepherd!