Why We Love It

Even if you don’t like piña coladas (or getting caught in the rain), you’ve gotta hand it to the coconut. Yes, it’s mainly associated with dessert, but that’s not the only way this palm fruit rolls. Its creamy flesh also helps savory dishes like salads and stir-fries pop with texture, richness, and a subtly sweet equatorial vibe.

Illustration: Hennie Hayworth

Kitchen Tips

  • Master the satisfying art of cracking your own ’nut: Poke its three eyes to find the softest one, pierce it with a skewer, and drain any liquid. Put the coconut on a cutting board and whack its circumference with a mallet or the blunt edge of a knife until it splits open. Remove the skin with a peeler and feast on the remaining flesh.

  • Pure coconut (not the packaged stuff with added sugar) isn’t overly sweet. Toast shavings or hunks and use as a salad topping or in a homemade trail mix, or just sprinkle them with fresh lime juice for a crunchy snack.

  • Consider coco products a kitchen staple: You can spread your toast with coconut oil instead of butter for a dose of healthy fat or use coconut milk to up the flavor when cooking oatmeal, sautéing greens, or poaching fish.

  • Coconut water is a popular sports drink since it’s rich in vitamins and electrolytes like potassium, which may help replace fluids lost through perspiration.


    Photo: Emily Kate Roemer

    You can make this recipe even easier by using leftover takeout rice straight from the fridge or freezer. Another time saver: Substitute 1/4 tsp. dried chili flakes for the fresh jalapeños.
    Get the recipe: Coconut Crab Fried Rice

    Photo: Emily Kate Roemer

    Enjoy a light, cool and crunchy lunch on a hot day with this easy-to-make dish.
    Get the recipe: Rice Noodle Salad with Snow Peas and Toasted Coconut

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