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Chocolate substitute: Introducing carob

sustituto del chocolate

At Monouso we want our readers to know healthy alternatives to satisfy their sweet tooth. Reason that led us to write this post where we will talk about carob, the chocolate substitute.

Carob is a fruit with similar characteristics to cocoa. The difference is that its nutritional composition is superior. And therefore, many people who prefer to eat healthy choose it without thinking about it.

To find out more about carob chocolate, read on to the end. Here we go!

Carob – what is it?

We are aware that many people are not familiar with this cocoa substitute, which is why we have decided to start this post by explaining exactly what carob is.

It is a fruit belonging to the legume family. It comes in the form of pods that can reach up to 20 centimetres in length, and when they are fully ripe they acquire a dark colour and a sweet taste.

This fruit grows on a tree called carob, native to the Mediterranean basin. Today it is known as a substitute for chocolate because they have similar flavours and can even be added to many recipes that call for cocoa.

What are the nutritional properties of carob?

In a recent study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, it was established that carob contains various nutritional values that contribute to health care. It is therefore an outstanding fruit in healthy cuisine.

To give you a broader overview, we will explain below all the nutritional values of carob:

  • Natural sugars: Contains between 48 % and 56 % sucrose, glucose and fructose mainly.
  • Natural protein: Contains approximately 3 to 4 % protein to help maintain energy.
  • Vitamins: Contains mainly vitamin E, D, C, niacin, B6 and folic acid which nourish the body.
  • Micronutrients: It contains some essential ones such as calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, sodium, potassium and phosphorus.
  • Carob calories: Contains 220 kcal, as well as 0.65g of fat and 49g of carbohydrates in every 100g of carob powder.
  • Fibre: Contains dietary fibre which helps to improve the fermentative intestinal flora, thanks to its prebiotic effect.
  • Polyphenols: Contains mainly tannins, flavonoids and phenolic acids.
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It should be noted that carob is a fruit free of gluten, caffeine and other stimulants. Thanks to all these properties previously described, it can be included in pastry recipes, drinks, desserts and other recipes where chocolate is usually used.

How is carob powder obtained?

We think it’s great that you plan to include carob in your daily diet. However, in order to consume this fruit, you first need to take an easy step-by-step process that will allow you to grind it into flour.

In the following lines, we will give you the details of everything you need to do to easily obtain carob flour:

  1. The first thing you need is to have carob pods on hand.
  2. Put the carob pods to dehydrate for one to three days.
  3. Then roast the dehydrated carob pods over low heat.
  4. Finally, use a grinder to grind the roasted carob pods to a very fine powder.

As an important fact, keep in mind that you should always grind the carob pods when they are ripe and seedless. Otherwise, the final taste may be somewhat bitter, which will not be a satisfactory result for you.

Carob or chocolate, which is better?

There are millions of chocolate-lovers out there today, who would probably think twice about replacing it with another, albeit similar, food. However, it’s not about eliminating cocoa completely from your eating plan, but rather, daring to vary and try new ingredients.

Carob has become popular as a healthy replacement for chocolate thanks to its properties and similarity in taste. It is a sweet fruit that does not contain any unhealthy additives or chemicals.

Unlike cocoa, carob is a fruit free of theobromine and caffeine. And even an assessment of its properties revealed that it may contain more calcium than cocoa and is free of oxalic acid.

Now, this is not to say that cocoa is bad for your health. On the contrary, studies have shown that both dark chocolate and cocoa provide nutrients that are good for the body.

So, both carob and dark chocolate in its unsweetened version contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, among other bioactive compounds. Values that can improve the nutritional quality of your meal plan.

Top 5: Carob Benefits

There is no denying that the nutritional contribution of carob is superior to that of cocoa. This is why many health-conscious people prefer to include it in their diet, preparing delicious and healthy recipes.

Next, we will see exactly what other benefits carob has to offer:

1. Satiate hunger and maintain sugar levels

Carob powder has a low glycaemic index. This means that it helps to satisfy hunger quickly and keeps blood sugar levels stable. These attributes make it a good food for athletes, pregnant women, children and the elderly.

2. Improve intestinal flora

Carob serves as an anti-diarrhoeal agent because its fibres improve the fermentative intestinal flora. It is also a natural laxative, and some people have even used it to treat infections and gastrointestinal problems.

3. Avoid headaches or migraines

It is a fruit that does not contain tyramine, a substance present in cocoa that stimulates the onset of headaches and aggravates migraines. This is undoubtedly an attribute that makes it ideal for those who suffer from these ailments.

4. Preparing tasty and healthy desserts

We talked about a fruit that serves as a substitute for pure cocoa. So, you can make healthier recipes because it contains quality fats, such as linoleic acid and oleic acid. In addition, its taste is similar to chocolate but not quite the same.

5. Easy to obtain

Today, you can buy carob in supermarkets and health food shops. As its presentation has variations you will find it available in powder, syrup and snacks.

How to use carob in a healthy recipe

As we have already explained, carob is a chocolate substitute that you can use in many different baking recipes. To give you an example, we’ll give you our favourite recipe below. Take note!

Carob energy bar

Carob energy bars are a healthy, homemade alternative that you can make easily, without investing a lot of money. They are ideal for people who practice sports, although if you are not an athlete you will also love them.

Ingredients

  • Carob flour or powder: 3 teaspoons (30 g)
  • Melted butter: 5 teaspoons (75 g)
  • Honey: 1 teaspoon (25 g)
  • Grated coconut: 2 teaspoons (20 g)
  • Sultanas: 3 teaspoons (30 g)
  • Oat flour: 8 teaspoons (80 g)
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Preparation

  1. In a saucepan, add your carob flour and melted butter.
  2. Heat both ingredients over low heat.
  3. Gradually stir in the honey, grated coconut, sultanas and oats.
  4. As you add the ingredients, you should make light circular movements with a paddle to mix properly.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove the mixture from the heat.
  6. Then, place parchment paper in a baking tin and pour the mixture into it.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Finally, let it cool down and start cutting into small portions.
  9. Ready!

In closing, if you dare to try this chocolate substitute, remember that its consumption should also be moderate. Everything in excess ends up being harmful to our health.

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