Substitute for Olive Oil

Historically speaking, people used butter and lard when cooking fried foods. This added a lot of flavor and richness to the foods, but they contain saturated fats, which are not healthy for you. As people became more and more aware of their health, other healthy materials began to be used. Olive oil is now being used regularly for many recipes and replaces lard and butter. But sometimes you don't even have olive oil. What can you use as a substitute for olive oil?

8 Healthy Substitutes for Olive Oil

While olive oil is one of the best oils to cook with, there are other oils you can use to make the dishes taste about the same. These include the following:

1.   Avocado Oil

Like olive oil, this substitute for olive oil contains omega 3 fatty acids, which are considered good for the heart. It also contains plenty of monounsaturated fats that raise HDL cholesterol which is good and lower LDL cholesterol which is bad.

It can be used anywhere olive oil is used. It is especially good in vegetable dishes, soups, and salads, where it enhances the flavor with its buttery taste.

2.   Coconut Oil

This oil contains lauric acid, which is a type of saturated fatty acid that raises the HDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. It can be used for baking just about anything.

You use it like olive oil, in quantities equal to the olive oil used. It is completely vegan, ant tastes a bit like vanilla. It forms a solid at room temperature.

3.   Grapeseed Oil

This substitute for olive oil is made out of grapes and contains high levels of polyunsaturated fats, which are known to lessen the LDL cholesterol level in the bloodstream.

It is good to heat and can be used for sautéing and for fried foods. It doesn't have much taste on its own, so the flavor of the food really stands out. It doesn't lose any nutritional value when it is heated up.

4.   Palm Oil

This is oil that is high in vitamin E, which boosts our immune system. You should stick to pure palm oil and avoid the kind that is partially hydrogenated. Partially hydrogenated palm oil and trans fats are found in palm oils used to preserve processed foods.

You can use it in omelets, with noodles, in stews and with curries. It has a nice earthy aroma and is often used in African and Asian foods.

5.   Canola Oil

This is perhaps the most common substitute for olive oil. It is extracted from the rapeseed plant and can be used in all types of cooking and baking. Like olive oil, it has many benefits for your health. In some ways, canola oil is better than olive oil because it contains very little saturated fat.

It can be used especially for frying foods and is actually better for baking than using olive oil.

6.   Peanut Oil

You can use peanut oil. This is a good kind of all-around oil that contains a lot of mono unsaturated fat, which is good for your heart.

It has a high smoke point, which translates into foods that are able to be fried well before the oil smokes. Peanut oil also has a good shelf life, so it keeps a long time. Because it is made from peanuts, you have to be wary of serving it to someone who is allergic to peanuts.

7.   Sesame Oil

You will find a lot of sesame oil in Asian foods; it can be a substitute for olive oil. It contains a lot of polyunsaturated fats, so it is good for low fat dishes.

It has a very strong aroma, so you don't need to use a lot in order to make your meal flavorful. Dark sesame oil is good as a seasoning, while light sesame oil tends to be better for frying foods.

8.   Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil is very high in omega 3 fatty acids, which have many health properties, including heart protection, cancer protection, and brain protection.

The benefits of flaxseed oil are limited to cold flaxseed oil, so you need to keep it in the refrigerator and add it to foods that are cold or have cooled after cooking. Mix it with kale or peanut butter to mask its bitter flavor. You can also try a type of flaxseed oil that is already flavored, such as lemon-flavored flaxseed oil.

9.    Other Oils

Besides the above oils, there are other rarer oils that you can also use as a substitute for olive oil. These include hemp oil, almond oil, pumpkin seed oil, hazelnut oil, etc. Each has its own flavoring, so they may work for some recipes and not for others.

Tips of Using Cooking Oil

Each oil has its different properties, so you need to pay attention to the various properties of each oil. Here are some general tips:

  • The smoke point makes a difference. This is the time at which the oil starts to smoke when heating. When reaching the smoke point, the oil begins to break down and release substances which are harmful to your health. The good parts of the oil are lost in the process. In order to avoid reaching the smoke point, you need to heat the oil in the pan until it starts to shimmer.
  • Don't use too much oil. If you use too much oil in the recipe, it can easily become fattening. Limit your oil intake to about 2 tablespoons per day if you are an adult.
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