Oil Free Cooking

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
  • Sauté vegetables in water, stock or a little diluted soy sauce
  • Caramalise onions by slowly sautéing in diluted soy sauce, then finish with balsamic vinegar
  • Stir fry vegetables on a high heat in a non stick pan, moving them around constantly. Keep adding a little water to prevent sticking
  • You can roast vegetables without oil: I find that the result is best when the veg is covered at the start of cooking. Remove the lid once the veg has started to sweat. Alternatively chargrill veg. Courgette, asparagus and pepper all chargrill well. All you need to do is cook under the grill until the veg begins to soften and char. Turn half way through cooking.
  • When making burgers and falafel you can leave out the oil altogether or replace 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
  • You can leave the oil out of hummus and make a thick, rustic style of hummus that is great on toast, or alternatively replace the oil with water to loosen
  • 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! Adding some fat will also help in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins
  • If something is lacking in flavour try adding some whole food fats before reaching for more salt or sugar. Spices, vinegar, nutritional yeast and lemon juice are other healthy ingredients that add flavour
  • Dont worry about using oil sparingly. When I do use oil I go for cold pressed rapeseed oil because the fatty acid profile is pretty OK: it doesn’t contain whopping amounts of omega 6 like sunflower oil does, and is low in saturated fat. Also it’s smoke point is quite high which means that it tolerates reasonably high temperatures without burning


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