With spring on our doorstep, the season for green is upon us and I think that carries over into the foods we eat.
(Many of us tend to naturally gravitate toward eating more leafy green salads once the weather starts warming up, right?)
St. Paddy’s Day is less than a week away and green foods of all kinds are popping up. And with Easter just around the corner, you know we’ll be seeing cute sweet treats decked out with green coconut to simulate grass.
I’ve been wanting to make cute little coconut “grass”-topped cupcakes for a serious while now; in order to do so, I wanted to come up with a more natural way than chemicals synthesized in a lab to turn my coconut green. I decided to utilize chlorophyll found in gorgeously green kale.
The process I came up with is truly ridiculously easy. Kale is liquefied and mixed with shredded coconut, and then spends a little time in the oven drying out. It’s as easy as that, and it doesn’t really take any extra time or extra work if you want to double the batch (if you do, be sure to dry out the coconut on two large baking sheets though, so it isn’t overcrowded).
Now, I’ll admit, my shade of green is a bit moss-like, but I actually love that. I think it mimics something you’d actually find in nature, which makes sense because it came straight from something natural. If you want to go for an even earthier/woodsier shade of green with hints of brown, you can leave your coconut in the oven a bit longer so it toasts a little and starts to turn brown in spots (just keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t get too dark).
If you’re wondering about the flavor, kale is faintly detectable when the coconut is eaten alone (you can't taste it when it's on top of a cupcake though!), but it doesn't overpower the flavor of coconut. Also, I added a touch of stevia to balance out the bitterness that kale can sometimes have. So go ahead and get your green on...naturally!
How to Naturally Dye Shredded Coconut Green
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Yield: 1 cup 1x
A super easy and natural way to use kale to dye shredded coconut green; it's perfect for topping St. Patrick's Day or Easter-themed cakes and cupcakes!
- 1 large leaf of kale
- 1 cup (240 ml) cold water
- 1 cup (80 g) unsweetened, shredded coconut
- ¼ teaspoon powdered stevia, which is equivalent to about ½ packets (see Note)
- Preheat the oven to 275F; line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Process the kale and cold water in a blender until the kale is completely liquefied (about 30 seconds in a high-speed blender). Strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any larger bits of kale.
- Combine the kale juice, coconut, and stevia in a bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Strain the coconut through a fine-mesh sieve, gently pushing to extract all the liquid (or wring the coconut in cheesecloth). (You can discard the liquid or save it to add to a smoothie.)
- Spread the coconut out in as even a layer as you can get on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the coconut is mostly dry, but not yet browned, about 40 minutes, tossing the coconut every 10 minutes and breaking up any clumps that may have formed.
- Once the coconut is mostly dry, turn off the oven and leave the door ajar so the coconut can cool in the oven.
- Once the oven is cool (1 to 2 hours), the coconut should be dry and ready to use or store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Stevia: Here is a guideline on how sweet 1 packet of stevia is: the amount of stevia in 1 packet measures ½ teaspoon, which is about as sweet as 2 to 3 teaspoons of regular sugar.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
- Calories: 77
- Sugar: 0
- Sodium: 6
- Fat: 7
- Saturated Fat: 6
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 3
- Fiber: 1
- Protein: 1
- Cholesterol: 0
Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
Just plain brilliant!
Erin @ Texanerin Baking
This is such an amazing post! I've spent half the day messing with spinach and coconut and it's not working. I wonder if there's much of a difference (between spinach and kale). I simmered some fresh spinach in water for 20 minutes, pureed it, and the coconut just isn't taking on the color. Fresh kale is almost impossible to find around here and can only be found during a few weeks of the year it seems. Do you think frozen kale would work just as well? I guess I'll just have to try it and see! I don't have many options. ;)
Erin, You are so sweet, thank you so much! I honestly don't know how well this would work using frozen kale because I haven't tried it...but if you give it a try, please let me know how it turns out!
Erin @ Texanerin Baking
I was extremely lucky and found fresh kale! And it worked! I was SO happy. Thank you! You can see what I did with it in today's post. :)
I like the approach, which avoids artificial food coloring. But a recipe that requires sieves, blenders, ovens, and 3+ hours from start to finish is not "super easy". Mixing sweetened coconut with food dye takes about 2 minutes. That's super easy.
Robert, I called this easy because it's a technique that's suitable for beginner-level cooks or even supervised children. However, easy doesn't necessarily equate to fast. I think for those who are avoiding artificial things like food dyes, this is a great option.
Yes, for those of us that eat natural and try to avoid food dyes it’s totally worth going through the extra effort!!! Thank you so much for your post! My little guy asked me for a « green farm cake » for his birthday and I’m so happy to find your post! Thank you!!