Hey, good looking! What do you have cooking? If you're looking to break out of a culinary rut, why not try some new cooking oils? Depending on the variety you choose, you can change the entire flavor profile of a dish. You might also reap health benefits.
Many people hear the word "cooking oil" and automatically think of the yellow vegetable variety lining grocery store shelves. However, there are a host of flavors to explore. The next time you write out your shopping list, add some of these varieties to it.
1. Avocado Oil
This oil will set you back a pretty penny, but the buttery richness paired with the health benefits make it a worthy investment. The good news is, once you break down and buy a bottle, it will last forever. The oleic acid in the substance makes it resist going rancid.
Avocado oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the kind that lower your cholesterol. These nutrients also reduce your cancer risk, specifically your risk of the colon and breast varieties of the disease. This oil cooks well at up to 400 degrees, but the intense flavor also lends itself to salad dressings.
2. MCT Oil
If you want an oil that is both odorless and tasteless at room temperature, reach for MCT oil. This highly purified version of coconut oil has a host of health benefits. It's recently gained the attention of the keto diet crowd, who enjoy adding a few drops to their favorite coffee. The reason? MCT oil can jumpstart your body's fat-burning processes, making weight loss a breeze.
MCT oil doesn't do well in high heat. However, you can spread it directly on your toast like butter, or add a dollop to your tea.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is all the rage for good reason — it benefits your health inside and out! You can rub coconut oil directly on your skin to ease winter dryness and ashiness, or blend it with brown sugar to make an exfoliating scrub. It's also a powerhouse in the kitchen.
The smoke point of coconut oil is 350 degrees, meaning it isn't the best choice for a stir-fry. However, you can make your popcorn healthier by popping it in coconut oil instead of vegetable. Coconut oil does have a high amount of saturated fat, so exercise moderation if you have a vascular condition.
4. Peanut Oil
Do you live for Chinese food? If so, you probably already have peanut oil on your pantry shelves. Peanut oil has a high smoke point at 450 degrees, so it's perfect for tossing in the wok. It doesn't have a nutty flavor — it's neutral in cooked dishes.
How do you fry your chicken? If you want the flakiest crust ever, try substituting peanut oil for the vegetable version. It works wonderfully for fish and seafood, too.
5. Sesame Oil
Sesame oil also appears in many Asian dishes, but don't toss it in the hot wok. This oil has a lower smoke point than its peanut cousin. However, toasted sesame oil is more abundant in flavor and makes a delightful addition to soups and salads.
The best way to use this oil in cooking is as a finishing touch. Drizzle it on completed dishes to round out the flavor. Try this toasted sesame oil and ginger bell pepper recipe for Meatless Monday this week.
6. Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil harnesses the healing power of phytosterols to benefit your heart health, so much so that some people take it as a supplement. Like sesame seed oil, it has a low smoke point. You're better off using it to finish dishes than to cook.
If you've noticed some thinning on top, reach for this oil. In one study, men who took the oil for 24 weeks showed a 40% increase in hair count. The oil may also help women navigate the physical changes associated with menopause.
7. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is one of the healthiest oils out there due to its high vitamin E content and lack of saturated fat. It has a high smoke point, which makes it the perfect substitute for vegetable oil in dishes that don't need added flavor. You can also blend it with balsamic vinegar for a salad dressing.
8. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is the purest version of the oil you can buy. However, it does have a lower smoke point than its refined cousin — so don't fry with it. It is chock-full of nutrients, though, so do use it to make dressings and marinades for dishes that cook at low temps. You can also use this oil in a classic vinaigrette for salads.
9. Macadamia Nut Oil
Like the nutmeats themselves, macadamia nut oil is on the pricey side. However, it has a high smoke point for cooking and a ton of health benefits. Its mild and nutty flavor makes it ideal for baking — it adds a whole new layer to your brownies.
Macadamia nut oil is heart-healthy and high in antioxidants. If you have dry skin, anecdotal evidence says it prevents wrinkles when applied to the surface. It can cause acne if you're breakout-prone, though.
Try These Nine Cooking Oils to Elevate Your Culinary Expertise!
Add some adventure to your cooking in 2020 by trying one of these oils. You'll benefit your health and impress your friends with your culinary expertise.