THE GUIDE FOR COOKING WITH OILS

Think about what you use oil for most. Is it frying, Salad dressings or flavor? Maybe you want a more ethnic palette, or a few good meals in your arsenal? Each of the following oils have a great deal of benefits, so experiment with the ones you resonate with the most, based on your own needs,

1. COCONUT OIL

I’ll start with the most well-known oil alternative. Coconut oil is a hit in vegan and vegetarian communities because it can be a substitute in almost every scenario. It is the best to use in baking recipes and great to drop in to a smoothie in the morning and there are over 100 uses for it!

One advantage to coconut oil is that it is rich in lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that your body burns more efficiently than almost any other fat. This makes it great energy food. What’s more, the vitamins K and E in coconut oil help support healthy skin and hair.

“But how do I eat that pasty stuff?” you ask. This is where it gets fun. Coconut oil is one of the world’s great butter substitutes. It melts just like butter on hot toast or pancakes, and it has a uniquely nutty, creamy flavor that many people actually prefer to butter—no, really. It is equally effective subbing for butter, shortening, or lard in baking, which is why you’ll see it popping up all over “guilt-free” recipes.

2. WALNUT OIL

Walnut oil is not the best to use for frying, but it is absolutely divine when used in a salad dressing. I almost could consume walnut oil raw because it is so nutty and delicious. When used in baking, especially banana bread or anything nutty, it is the best substitute. Walnut oil is bit more on the pricey side, but it is worth it to have it on hand, so invest in a bottle or put it on your next birthday list. Look for some good deals online or in farmer’s markets.

When it comes to health, the walnut is king of the nut aisle. It’s high in antioxidants and phytonutrients and comparatively low in saturated fat. Just a tablespoon of walnut oil has as much omega fats as a salmon filet, making it a great fat to consider if you’re vegetarian or don’t eat a lot of fish. And unlike most oils, walnuts are high in omega-3 acids, not just omega-6 acids.

3. SESAME OIL

Sesame oil is a great investment because you only need a bit at a time. It can be very easy to over-season. The oil truly adds an ethnic flair to any dish, and to boot it is high in Vitamin E and healthy fats. It’s also used as an excellent massage oil in India.

It comes in both light and dark varieties, which are both healthy but taste very different. Light sesame oil is more subtle and can be used for frying, while dark oil is made from toasted sesames and is used more for its flavor. The darker one goes great with Korean, Chinese, and Indian foods and gives a unique nutty edge to boring chicken recipes.

4. GRAPESEED OIL

Grapeseed oil is cholesterol-free, so this is a great one to use when trying to eat more consciously. It is also very cheap and not hard to find.

Grapeseed oil has a higher smoke point than many other oils, so it’s good for frying and dishes that require high temperatures. Its light, neutral flavor makes it ideal for muffins, cakes, and other baked goods. It also absorbs other flavors effectively, making it a perfect candidate for infusion with garlic, herbs, or other flavors.

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