That’s a declarative statement, recently transformed from a question.
I found it hard to believe when I started reading about the health benefits of cooking with coconut oil. It was difficult to comprehend. Firstly, because I still have memories of slathering coconut oil on my body while suntanning in high school (speaking of difficult things to comprehend – did I really do that?), and secondly, isn’t it a highly processed/hydrogenated fat? Well, turns out I was wrong on both account. I doubt it was real coconut oil I was using back in the day – likely something scented with coconut oil – and coconut oil is really, really good for you. There are people who claim it does everything from reducing inflammation to reversing food allergies. I am not about to make any of those claims here, but I was excited to cook with it because it supposedly tastes great. Incidentally, if you do want to read more on the health benefits, check out Dr. Joseph Mercola’s thoughts on coconut oil’s health benefits from the Huffington Post and fellow food blogger Coconut Mama’s post.
I had read that coconut oil adds secondary flavors of sweetness and nuttiness when used in cooking. That’s what really intrigued me (more so than the health benefits), and it didn’t disappoint. I prepared a simple dish of roasted butternut squash and was super excited to crack open my jar of Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil. I was a little alarmed at first to see the coconut oil in a solid state, looking more like marshmallow fluff than a fat to roast my veggies with. But it scooped out easily and started softening within seconds, without any supplemental heating. And, oh, the scent. My kitchen and entire apartment smell heavenly – even luscious – while we await the snowstorm of the season. Here’s my simple recipe testing out the new wonder ingredient – coconut oil.
Butternut Squash Roasted in Coconut Oil1 medium butternut squash, peeled and roughly cubed into 1″ cubes (save the seeds for roasting, too)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 red onion, peeled, quartered, and cut into large chunks (optional)
large dash of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash and onion, if using, with coconut oil in 9X11 baking dish. Sprinkle salt and toss again. Place in oven and roast for 30 – 40 minutes, shaking pan every 10 minutes or so. Check for doneness – the squash should be tender and you should be able to easily spear it with a fork.
I used the onion because I actually had 1/2 an onion hanging around in my fridge. It is not essential, but added some nice color. Enjoy the tastes and aromas!