When you think coconut water, post-workout hydration and healthy smoothies come to mind, right? Jessica Alba and chef Anthony Sasso of Casa Mono set out to change coconut water’s limited image at a recent Institute of Culinary Education four-course luncheon in which the Hollywood starlet and classically-trained chef used Zico coconut water varieties in each and every healthy and satisfying dish, from a kale salad dressed with olive oil and coconut water and chicken kebobs topped with mangos, to a watermelon popsicle layered with frozen coconut water and a decadent flourless chocolate cake (baked with the Zico chocolate water, of course).
Chef Anthony Sasso had plenty of advice when it came to cooking with this slightly unusual ingredient. When making the kale salad for instance, he recommended using more coconut water than olive oil in the dressing to make the salad a little healthier. He also said that when cooking with coconut water, to remember that it is the juicier variety of coconut milk, and that the milk should be used to prepare things like thick smoothies.
Jessica Alba said she also loves to use coconut water as a dressing, but that cooking with Zico is just one component of the health-conscious and somewhat strict lifestyle that she’s passed down to her children.
“My kids have been drinking coconut water for years,” said Alba, who always keeps fresh fruits and vegetables in the house, and never any processed foods. “My attitude is that I at least want them to try it; they don’t have to like it, but I will not have them eating chicken nuggets. I’m like, you’re gonna starve and you’ll get time out.”
For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi