Health Benefits of Carob

This legume Makes a Good Substitute for Cocoa in Chocolate Recipes

Carob powder is a good substitute for cocoa for people who suffer from chocolate allergies. It is tasty, nutritious, and easy to use in baking and cooking.

A member of the legume family, carob beans grow in pods on trees that originated in the Mediterranean region, but have since been grown in other parts of the world.

The powder is made by grinding up the pods with the seeds removed. Carob gum is produced from the seeds, then used as a stabilizer and thickening agent by food processors.

Carob is also called St. John’s bread or locust bean. Legend has it that this is the food he ate when he was in the desert. It’s probably a nicer thought than eating real locusts.
Health Benefits of Carob

There are many health benefits to using carob powder, whether an individual is allergic to chocolate or not. It also tastes good.

Carob is:

non dairy
low in fat, but high in sugar content
a source of calcium
not a source of cholesterol
a source of protein
low in sodium
a source of potassium
not a source of caffeine or theobromine
good for treating diarrhea

Note: Carob can be fatty when it is mixed with other ingredients and used as a candy, as chips, or as a coating. It is always a good idea to read labels.

Gluten-free Carob Chip Cookies

Oven is pre-heated to 350 degrees F and a baking sheet is lightly greased.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp guar gum (or xanthan gum)
3/4 cup carob chips

Steps:

The first 3 ingredients are mixed together.
The last 3 ingredients are mixed in with the first three.
The mixture is rolled into small balls about the size of golf balls, and placed on the baking sheet, then flattened slightly. (The mixture is easier to work with if it is chilled before handling.)
The cookies are baked in a 350 degree F oven for about 12 minutes.

This recipe makes about one dozen soft and chewy cookies.

Gluten-free Carob Smoothie

This is a great smoothie to give a boost of energy in the morning. However, it can be enjoyed at anytime of the day. It is a single serving for an adult or older child, but can be divided into two small glasses for younger children. It is a healthy treat for kids after a long school day.

The following ingredients are blended together until smooth:

1 medium-sized banana
3/4 cup rice milk (soy or skimmed will also work)
1 tbsp carob powder
1 tsp honey

Note: The thickness can be adjusted by changing the amount of rice milk.

This smoothie should be consumed right away.

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