07/11/2014 09:46 pm ET Updated Mar 12, 2015

5 Surprisingly Delicious Uses For Coconut Oil

This healthy fat can transform popcorn, garlic bread and even fried chicken, as these creative recipes from Sasha Seymour's new book Coconut Every Day show.

By Lynn Andriani

  • The Snack With An Amazing, "What Is That?!" Topping
    © Kathleen Finlay
    Many movie theaters use coconut oil to pop their corn, and while that may taste wonderful, it isn't the healthiest method (especially given the size of those buckets). Instead, air-pop your corn and then make a topping from melted coconut oil. It adds a subtle, wonderfully addictive flavor that many people can't quite put their finger on -- and you can use way less oil than they do in theaters. Along with sugar, cayenne and sea salt, it's one of the tastiest iterations of the snack we've ever had. Get the recipe: Sweet-and-Spicy Popcorn
  • Your New Favorite Dinner Side
    © Kathleen Finlay
    Warm, savory, with a familiar flavor that everyone seems to love, garlic bread's not-so-secret ingredient is usually a significant amount of butter. Swapping in coconut oil gives the toast a faintly honey-like flavor and keeps it from feeling too heavy. A smattering of chili flakes adds just a touch of heat. Get the recipe: Garlic Bread
  • The A.M. Treat That Tastes Like Dessert
    © Kathleen Finlay
    If you've been looking for an excuse to eat cake for breakfast (and who hasn't?), this loaf is a must. Its mellow coconut flavor is amped up with pops of blueberry and a zippy lemon undertone. Plus, it includes dried coconut and a grated apple, which lend a lovely texture (plus fiber, too). It's not overly sweet, so you can feel good about having it first thing in the morning, but you'll still get that light and bright coconut taste. Get the recipe: Blueberry Lemon Loaf
  • The Unexpected Way To Lighten Up A Classic Fried Food
    © Kathleen Finlay
    Even if you consider the crispy skin to be the tastiest part of fried chicken, you'll want to give this skinless recipe a try. It sounds unorthodox to pull off the chicken skin before cooking, but a coating of cornstarch, thyme and sea salt gives the drumsticks and thighs delicious crunch, especially when they're dropped into hot coconut oil. The oil can withstand very high temperatures, which means the chicken will develop a crisp exterior quickly without the need for a long frying time. Get the recipe: Crispy Fried Chicken
  • A Lighter Veggie Tart You'll Devour
    © Kathleen Finlay
    If you're making a savory tart, flaky phyllo dough is a brilliant alternative to a traditional pie crust. The only catch is, most recipes have you brush each layer with melted butter. Using melted coconut oil works just as well; and, in this case, tastes even better. That's because it beautifully complements this tart's toppings, which are much lighter than your typical bacon, ham or cheese. The first layer is a caramelized onion cream made with onions, garlic and coconut milk; then you arrange shaved zucchini, thinly sliced green onions and sliced mushrooms on top. After baking, you scatter arugula over everything and you've got a pizza-like dish that tastes fresh and not at all weighed down. Get the recipe: Mushroom Tart with Caramelized Onion Cream

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