Do you stop yourself from eating chocolate even though you love it? It’s a habit many of us practice to stay fit and dairy-free. It’s high time you switched to carob, a healthy and sweet substitute for chocolate.
Carob is an excellent dairy-free alternative if you are a vegan. Pure carob powder is vegan since it’s ground-up and dried carob pulp. No animal products are used to produce carob; however, some carob products may contain dairy.
We support your choice to become a vegan. To help you out, we have created a thorough guide that will answer all your questions about carob. The following sections will answer how carob is vegan, its health benefits, and much more.
What Is Carob?
With the rise of veganism, finding plant-based food might be challenging at times. Carob is a great option to satisfy your tastebuds similarly. It may not taste like chocolate, but it does have a different taste that makes it unique.
Carob trees are commonly found in the Mediterranean. Similar to cocoa being acquired from pods, carob is also obtained from their pods. They are mainly made into powder after extracting the sweet pulp.
Nonetheless, the beans are used by cocoa for powder, while carob mainly uses pulp only.
The pulp is dried before it is made into powder. Most of the time, this powder is used to make famous carob chips. The pulp and seeds that can be found in the pods are usually made into the gum.
However, the pod’s skin is used to make the carob chips after being processed into a powder. This powder is then later mixed with other vegan ingredients to make carob chips.
Carobs are either found in the form of powder or chips. The powdered carobs are similar to cocoa in smell and appearance. Moreover, the taste is almost identical, but the difference can be figured out if you consume cocoa too often.
Carob chips, on the other hand, are similar to chocolate chips. The powdered carob is mixed with some oil and sweetener while making the chips. For other chocolate chips, cocoa butter is added in the process. However, in the case of carob chips, the butter is replaced by carob powder.
Other than the powder, oil is also added while preparing carob chips. The oil used is mostly coconut or palm. These are the most ingredients used to make carob chips, which are entirely vegan and dairy-free.
Finding vegan chocolate chips isn’t difficult. However, carob chips are entirely plant-based.
The taste of carob is almost similar to cocoa but is much sweeter. It does not exactly taste like chocolate but has a rather vanilla-like flavor. However, the taste is not bitter at all. Due to this reason, sugar and other sweeteners are barely used in the carob.
As compared to dark chocolate, the bitterness is very light, and some people prefer carob because cocoa might be too bitter for them. However, the chocolate flavor lacks heavily on this food item.
Regardless of the flavor being slightly different, the chocolate carob can replace the same in numerous recipes. The only difference that can be found between carob and chocolate while preparing the vegan recipes is the amount of time required for them to melt.
Cocoa butter that makes up half of the chocolate melts faster than carob. The reason being, the ingredient used in the carob is oil. Hence, be it palm or coconut oil, the carob melts very slowly.
For some excellent plant-based desserts, swapping chocolate with carob is an ideal option, mainly because the taste is unique and might make the food item more enjoyable than usual.
However, sometimes, some carob powder does have dairy products included in their ingredients. Hence, it is integral to check whether the carob powder or chips is entirely dairy-free.
What Is The Difference Between Chocolate And Carob?
Beans are used to make the cocoa powder, while the carob generally uses the pulp. Caffeine is not found in the carob, while the main component of chocolate and cocoa is caffeine. Other than that, cocoa butter contains a lot of fibers and fat. Whereas the carob mostly has carbs and fibers.
As mentioned above, the taste of carob is very sweet as compared to cocoa. Moreover, it does not exactly taste like chocolate and has less sugar in its ingredients. Chocolate has a relatively luxurious taste, while carob has a more earthy flavor, making it completely different from the former.
The texture of both the food items might almost be the same, but there is a significant difference in appearance.
How Expensive Is Carob?
Carob is either available in the market in the form of powder or carob chips. The process of refining the powder and the time taken leads to the value of the food item. Hence, the carob’s price can’t be jotted down exactly since different brands might have various price ranges depending on the quality.
However, for the powder, the price range is generally between $5-$10. Another factor that might lead to the inconsistency of the price range is the demand. Carob is not as famous as chocolate or cocoa. Hence there might not be a large availability in the market, which could lead to a rise in the price.
How To Replace Chocolate With Carob
Since the carob taste is not exactly like chocolate, you might want to taste the carob first before deciding to add it as an integral ingredient in the majority of your desserts or other food items.
If you are trying to replace chocolate with carob for the first time, you might want to go slow first before getting used to the taste of it. You can add a mixture of chocolate and carob to see how the flavor is in the initial stages.
Other than that, the preparation techniques and the amount of time taken might differ compared to chocolate ingredients. It is essential to check the heating process time.
Carob can also be added to milkshakes, coffee, and the like. Moreover, instead of using cocoa butter or chocolate, carob can be used to make a cake.
This ingredient is ideal, especially for the ones who are trying to cut down on sugar. Due to the carob’s natural sweetness, there is no need to put in additional sugar, which might end up being a lot.
Health Benefits Of Carob
Switching to carob from chocolate carries many health benefits. This section will focus on listing out all the advantages of carob. Firstly, it has twice as much calcium as cocoa. Two tablespoons of carob contain about 42mg of calcium which will help strengthen your bones.
Oxalate is a compound that reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium. While cocoa contains oxalates, carob is oxalate-free. Carob is also high in fiber and will help keep your gut strengthened.
Carob contains virtually no fat, even though it has more carbs and sugar than cocoa powder. With low amounts of sodium, carob is also gluten-free. It is a rich source of polyphenol antioxidants. Carob bean juice is sometimes even used to treat diarrhea!
Side Effects Of Carob
Carob is as healthy as chocolate can get. As mentioned earlier, eating carob has many health benefits. Even though there aren’t many side effects attached, we will list any possible ones for your convenience.
In case you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s always advised to consult your doctor.
Even though people who are allergic to cocoa aren’t necessarily allergic to carob, you might want to take certain precautions. Contact your doctor for any possible advice before carob ingestion.
Can People With Diabetes Eat Carob?
Since carob is low on sugar and fat, it is an excellent choice for people with diabetes.
Are Carob Chips Chocolate?
Carob chips have an earthy and cocoa-like flavor that is more mellow than chocolate. Carob is healthier than chocolate.
Carob is a good substitute for chocolate, and it is vegan. Can it get any better? We hope we were able to explain carob to you. Happy vegan lifestyle!