Carob powder is a cocoa powder alternative made from the carob tree. It’s a natural sweetener often used to sweeten candies and cookies, but it has a slightly unique taste. It can be substituted 1-to-1 in recipes for cocoa powder. Carob powder is a bit healthier than cocoa powder, although they both taste very similar to chocolate (most chocolate is made from cocoa powder). The most significant benefit of the carob powder is that it is naturally sweet, so, when making your favorite recipes, you don’t need to add as much, or any, sugar.
Carob is typically less bitter than chocolate and may have a roasted, slightly nutty flavor. Carob is naturally high in fiber, and it is caffeine free. Plus, it’s safe for your dogs. Chocolate and the theobromine found in it are toxic to dogs and cats. Carob does not contain any of this, so your pets can have a carob powder treat. Even though it’s safe, many veterinarians recommend not feeding carob to your pets because it could cause them to develop a taste for chocolate. They can mistake real chocolate for the carob treats and that causes problems.
You can use carob in many of the same ways you would cocoa powder. It can be added to smoothies or mixed into delicious desserts. You can make a hot carob drink, similar to hot chocolate. It can be used for dusting fruit for a slightly nutty and chocolatey flavor (it’s awesome on strawberries). If you’re new to using carob, most chefs recommend mixing half and half carob and cocoa until you get used to the unique flavor. Carob is much healthier than cocoa, as it is:
Low fat & low carb
Low fat isn’t so much of a concern on the Hallelujah diet, but we want to keep our added sugars and carb intake low. Because there’s no added sugar to carob, it’s a great alternative when you want a slightly sweet flavor.
High in calcium
Carob contains 42 mg of calcium in 2 tablespoons of the powder. This isn’t much, and it isn’t going to make a huge difference for your intake, but it’s an incredibly high amount of calcium for the serving size. Plus, carob powder has no oxalates, so this calcium is readily absorbed.
Good for your cholesterol
A study on carob powder found that the antioxidant polyphenols found in the insoluble fibers of carob help lower LDL cholesterol in people. Plus, in those two tablespoons of carob powder we mentioned earlier, there’s also 0.35 mg of iron, 6 mg of magnesium (super important), 99 mg of potassium, and trace amounts of riboflavin and niacin.
A bowel movement stabilizer
Carob is rich in tannins, similar to wine tannins or the polyphenols used to protect plants, and tannins give an astringent feel to foods and wine. Research has found this tannin helps keep our bowels moving without harsh laxatives. It’s a natural remedy for diarrhea and may be safe for treating diarrhea in infants and toddlers.
High in antioxidants
There are over 24 antioxidant compounds found in carob. They consist primarily of gallic acid and flavonoids. This gallic acid is a potent free radical scavenger and is shown in some studies to kill cancer cells. Other research has demonstrated carob flavonoids have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective components.
When to Use Carob Powder
If you’re a fan of chocolate, and you are giving it up to be on the Hallelujah diet, carob powder is a great substitute. It can give you the satisfaction of the taste without any of the drawbacks of real cocoa or chocolate. We recommend using it mixed into your juices and to use it as a condiment on various fruits. If you have any recipes using carob powder, we welcome you to share them in the comments below. Since carob is naturally sweet, it can help reduce your need for sugar, too.
A word of warning: Pregnant women should avoid using carob powder in large quantities. Although generally considered safe, some pregnant women have had adverse reactions to using carob powder during pregnancy. We recommend being safe and keeping your use of carob powder low if you are pregnant.
Try this recipe:
- 1 piece ginger
- 3 tablespoons carob powder
- 2 cups milk alternative
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 pinch cardamom
Heat ginger and milk alternative in a pot at a low simmer for 5 minutes. Add carob powder and stir until incorporated.
Pour into individual mugs, adding honey, cinnamon, and cardamom. Let sit a few minutes to cool. Top with more carob or cinnamon powder before serving.