Oil Free Cooking
I try to mainly eat whole foods which means that I don’t use much oil in my cooking. Oil is not a whole food: it no longer contains the fibre and water soluble parts of the seeds, nuts or fruit from which it was extracted, and so it is almost 100% fat. Here are some tips for cooking without oil..
- Firstly oil does change the flavour of food so oil free cooking may take a little getting used to. However, after a while your taste preferences will probably change so that you prefer oil free food
- Invest in non stick cookwear
- Vegetables sautéed in water alone can become rather sweet and slightly one dimensional flavour-wise. I prefer to sauté in a little diluted soy sauce as this results in a bit more of a rounded flavour (if you don’t tolerate soya you can use stock instead). This is now how I start when making bolognese-style sauces. You probably won’t need to add salt as the soy sauce is salty enough
- Caramalise onions by slowly sautéing in diluted soy sauce, then finish with balsamic vinegar
- Stir fry vegetables on a high heat and keep adding a little water to prevent sticking
- Creamy sauces are fine without oil because they contain some fat anyway. When making creamy sauces bear in mind that many plant milks are not whole foods because the pulp is filtered out. I use Plenish or Rude Health cashew milk for creamy sauces because these milks contain the whole nut. You can also buy whole bean soya milk. Coconut milk is very high in saturated fat and calories so use sparingly
- When making burgers and falafel you can replace the oil with nuts, seeds or nut / seed butters
- Bread is fine without oil: just replace the oil with extra water and include seeds to add fats. Shelled hemp seeds work well because they release their oils readily
- Replace the oil in hummus with unsweetened plant milk (I use Plenish or Rude Health cashew milk). You can use water but plant milk will make the hummus more creamy. You can also add a dollop of unsweetened soya yoghurt to make it extra creamy
- When in a rush, instead of serving pasta with a drizzle of oil, try stirring through a dollop of rustic passata, or some tahini paste mixed with lemon juice and water
- Top oil free meals with nuts, seeds or avocado to add some whole food fat and to enhance flavour. On it’s own your oil free bolognese might not be as flavourful as you are used to, but once you scatter a handful of walnuts or pecans on top it will become your favourite dish!
- If something is lacking in flavour try adding some whole food fats before reaching for more salt or sugar. Spices, vinegar and lemon juice are other ingredients that add flavour
- If you don’t want to use oil for roasted veg, choose varieties of vegetables such as sweet potato and squash that will caramelise all by themselves. I bake sweet potato in a covered pot so that the skin doesn’t go all dry
- Dont worry about using oil now and again. When I do use oil I go for cold pressed rapeseed oil because the fatty acid profile is pretty OK