Olive oil is one of the most beloved and versatile ingredients in the kitchen. It is incredibly healthy, and can also be used in many ways to enhance the flavor of a dish. Whether sautéing vegetables, baking cakes, or making salad dressings, cooking with olive oil adds unique flavor and a healthy dose of nutrients to your meals.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of cooking with olive oil and helpful tips for how to use it in your recipes.
Health Benefits of Cooking with Olive Oil
Olive oil is a heart–healthy fat that is packed with antioxidants and anti–inflammatory benefits. It contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been linked to lower levels of bad cholesterol and improved blood sugar levels. Rich in vitamin E, it could help protect your cells from damage and may even help reduce the risk of certain diseases.
How to Use Olive Oil in Cooking
Olive oil is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways during the cooking process. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate it into your recipes:
• Use it as a base for salad dressings. Olive oil can be combined with vinegar and other seasonings to create a flavorful and healthy salad dressing.
• Drizzle it over roasted vegetables or grains for an extra boost of flavor.
• Sautee vegetables or proteins in olive oil for a delicious meal.
• Use as an alternative to butter when baking.
• A touch of olive oil in soups or stews to adds a subtle flavor to them.
• Make your own flavored olive oil by infusing it with herbs and spices.
According to the BBC, light or delicate dishes require a mild oil, while robust ones can take a fruity, stronger oil . When it comes to cooking with olive oil, normal use is unlikely to cause significant damage to the oil. However, high heat can degrade some of the antioxidants and vitamin E, which are sensitive to heat .
It is important to note that the smoke point of olive oil is between 374 and 405 degrees F (190 to 207 degrees C), as per The Mediterranean Dish . Smoke point refers to the temperature at which the oil begins to break down and smoke. This can release harmful chemicals into the air. While the smoke point of olive oil is lower compared to some other cooking oils, such as peanut and refined coconut oil, it is still safe for most types of cooking. This includes sautéing and frying, as long as it is not overheated.
As you can see, there are many ways to incorporate olive oil into your cooking. Not only does it add flavor and nutrients to your meals, but it can also help you reduce your intake of unhealthy fats. So next time you’re in the kitchen, reach for the olive oil and get creative with your recipes!