What Do I Do With … Alternative Oils?

By Aurelia d'Andrea November 20, 2013 Categories: What Do I Do with...

walnut oil drizzled over fresh spinach ravioli

I haven’t received an official diagnosis yet, but there’s just no question that I’m OOD: Olive Oil Dependent. Whether sautéing veggies, rolling out pie crusts, or whipping up salad dressings, my go-to fat is—and has always been—the liquid elixir of the mythical Mediterranean fruit. Call it a culinary midlife crisis, but I’m ready for a change in my cooking routine, and I’ve decided to begin with an oil overhaul.

Friends who bake have been riding the coconut oil bandwagon for years, insisting it makes flaky pie crusts and decadent scones. It has a high heat threshold and lends a buttery richness to anything you pair it with—including slices of toasted bread. My first stab at baking with coconut oil will be this Chocolate Pecan Pudding Pie.

Walnut oil definitely deserves a place at the table, and not just because of its fragrant nuttiness; it’s loaded with phytonutrients that offer a panoply of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation. I’ve already enjoyed walnut oil over spinach ravioli (above) and made this simple Spinach Salad with Walnuts; I can’t wait to try drizzling it over steamed winter vegetables.

I’ve been a devotee of flax seeds for years, but have never fully acquainted myself with flax oil. Like walnut oil, this uber-healthy stuff isn’t intended for cooking, but rather as a garnish or an ingredient in cold preparations, like salad dressings and smoothies. I’ll add a splash to my next bowl of oatmeal, and might even dare to use it as a dip for my next baguette.

What’s your favorite “alternative” oil? How do you use it?

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