Cooking Oils — What’s the Difference?
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Cooking oils

One of the best decisions you can make in the kitchen is which cooking oil to use. I know it can be confusing with all of the ‘expert’ advice out there; however, in this post I will make it easy for you to choose healthy cooking oils. When it comes to incorporating the best cooking oil into your meal plan, it all comes down to heat. The cooking oil I recommend to use with heat is canola oil. It has a smoke point of 468°F. A high smoke point means the oil can be heated to a high temperature before it starts to smoke and loses its functional and nutritional properties.

Canola oil, rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), is a simple, heart-healthy cooking essential. I use it in baking, stir-fries, sautéing and the occasional deep fry. It also has a clean taste that allows the flavors of the other foods you’re cooking to shine through. The Mediterranean diet staple, regular olive oil (rich in MUFAs too) has a slightly lower smoke point than canola oil at 428°F, still making it another kitchen necessity.

You’ve probably heard of other heart-healthy oils including flaxseed, walnut, extra virgin olive oil and hemp. However, they may not hold up well under heat. To retain their healthy fat profile, taste and to avoid burning, these oils are best used in salad dressings, cold dips and as condiments.

 Here are two delicious recipe ideas using these healthy cooking oils:

  • This recipe is a must try for your fall menu. Both canola oil and canola mayonnaise are used to lighten the textures in the crab cake sliders with creamy apple coleslaw. Sautéing in the canola oil gives them a golden, crispy finish.
  • I recommend skipping the salt in this colorful, easy beet salad with almonds and chives made with extra virgin olive oil. It is used for its fresh, light flavor in this cold recipe. My favorite part is the feta cheese that tops the salad with a savory taste.

Bottom line? Canola oil and regular olive oil are heart- and budget-friendly essentials for your hot recipes. And extra virgin olive oil and walnut oil are healthy choices for your cold recipes. Visit the recipe section on the Good Fats 101 website for more delicious and healthy recipes!