Over the past year, the beloved coconut has been popping up in surprising health food trends, with coconut oil and coconut flour especially enjoying the spotlight. However, coconut milk plays a key role in a lot of healthy recipes, and it *really* saves the day for those of us who rely on a dairy-free diet. (Heck, even Ben & Jerry’s have dropped some dairy-free flavors.) There are a ton of tasty coconut milk drinks you can make at home, not to mention aromatic curries and delicious creamy soups. Scroll on for some tantalizing recipes that will inspire you to bring more of the good stuff into your kitchen.

where is my spoon

1. Vegan Cauliflower Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Nothing in this world can compete with a thick and creamy bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese. The only way it can get better is if it becomes healthy — and with this recipe, it has! (via Where Is My Spoon?)

sweet little kitchen

2. Coconut Banana Oatmeal: Downing a hearty bowl of oatmeal is a great way to start the day. With the natural sweetness of the coconut and bananas, it’s basically dessert for breakfast. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet. (via Sweet Little Kitchen)

3 yummy tummies

3. Coconut Lime Shrimp and Grits: Shrimp and grits, a Southern fave, get a bright and tropical makeover with this dish. Basically, you put the lime in the coconut and… eat it all up, as they say. (via 3 Yummy Tummies)

the cake blog

4. Coconut Tres Leches Cake: Soft, spongy cake soaked in three kinds of milk — sounds like a dream! This recipe replaces the usual heavy cream for full-fat coconut milk. (via The Cake Blog)

minimalist baker

5. 3-Ingredient Mocha Milkshake: When you’re trying to drudge through the late afternoon and that four o’clock sweet tooth hits, reach for this vegan-friendly chocolate coffee shake to refresh and refuel. (via Minimalist Baker)

my sequined life

6. Creamy Lemon Spinach One-Pot Pasta: Quick, easy and requiring minimal clean-up, a one-pot pasta is a total life saver during the hectic work week. This one is wholesome, delicious and creamy — all while remaining dairy-free. (via My Sequined Life)

will frolic for food

7. Creamy Vegan Nettles Soup: If you walk through nettles in the bush, they will sting. A lot. But if you cultivate them and prepare them *properly*, they are nourishing AF. Packed with antioxidants and minerals, nettles are mild in flavor — similar to spinach and fresh cucumber. (via Will Frolic for Food)

hello wonderful

8. Coconut Milk Brownies: Just a tad healthier than your average brownies, these chocolatey bites made with coconut milk are hiding whole wheat flour and kale to boot. Excuse us while we get healthy on the sly… (via Hello, Wonderful)

with food and love

9. Red Curry Lentil Stew: We can’t possibly talk about coconut milk without including a flavorful and filling curry dish. With lentils, hearty greens and squash, a bowl of this tasty curry will keep you filled up and completely satisfied. (via With Food + Love)

wallflower kitchen

10. Coconut and Purple Sweet Potato Ice Cream: Ice cream that is healthy, say WHAT?! Purple sweet potatoes are considered a miracle food thanks to their high levels of anthocyanin, which can improve cognitive function and blood flow. So basically, you can eat this dairy-free ice cream as part of your get-healthy meal plan. (via Wallflower Kitchen)

purple avocado

11. Cashew Coconut Pancakes With Curd Topping: There’s a lot happening on this plate of pancakes — a lot of awesome, that is. As the poster breakfast for #TreatYoSelf, a stack of these will lead you into a sweet food coma for the rest of the day. Goodbye, priorities. (via Purple Avocado)

the nilsen pantry

12. Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing: Did America’s favorite terrible-for-you dressing just get a whole lot healthier? YUP. Gone are the days when you must opt for the oil and vinegar dressing in an effort to elude guilt. (via The Nilsen Pantry)

paleo running momma

13. Simple Cherry Vanilla Popsicles: A perfect way to beat the summer heat is to bite into a cool, creamy and fruity popsicle. These dairy-free treats are flavored with sweet vanilla and sour cherries. They’re also perfect for anyone with dietary restrictions, as they’re paleo, vegan and don’t include refined sugars. (via Paleo Running Momma)

green healthy cooking

14. Green Smoothie for Kids: Get your little ones keen on drinking nourishing smoothies with this “Hulk Super Drink.” Your kids will get a healthy dose of vitamins, fiber and iron — but they don’t have to know that. (via Green Healthy Cooking)

the crumby cupcake

15. Piña Colada Chicken Skewers: If you’ve never considered bringing one of your fave cocktails to the grill, now is the time. These unique chicken skewers are piña colada-inspired, with chunks of fresh pineapple and coconut-marinated chicken. (via The Crumby Cupcake)

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