Does using grease leave you feeling a little guilty?

I get it.

Foods cooked in grease can taste great at first, but at what cost?

For me, greasy foods left me feeling crappy with a side of bubble guts.

The struggle was real.

Luckily, I gave alternative cooking oils a try and it literally changed my way of thinking.

While using alternative cooking oils is a healthier option, it requires a bit of research.

It helps to not only know an oil's nutritional value but also how it's processed.

That can come in handy when separating the good oils from the bad oils.

History of Cooking Oils

As far back as 2000 B.C., people from all over have been processing their own version on cooking oil.

They would use whatever plant was prominent in that region.

It makes sense:

The Chinese and Japanese produced soy oil while southern Europeans produced olive oil.

Mexico and North America used peanuts and sunflower seeds while Africans derived oils from palm kernels and coconut meat.

Not only did the plants differ, but also the process in which the oils were derived.

Don't worry, we'll make like heat and break it down for you.

Get it? Heat breaks down oil...no?

It's a process

Early vegetable oil production took a lot of patience. They relied upon the sun, fire or an oven to either heat the plant itself or the water it boiled in.

Seriously, I can barely wait for my oven to preheat...

This helped the plants exude oils and made it easier to grind, squeeze or skim the oil from the top of the boiling water.

Luckily, new processing techniques allow not only a wider variety of plants to be used, but at a faster rate.

Steps of Oil Production

Below are the steps of oil production.

Check them out:

1. Clean and grind

  • First, they use magnets to remove trace metals.
  • The seeds are ready for skinning and hulling (corn kernels need the germ separated through milling and cotton seeds require lint removal) when that's done.
  • Then they grind the seeds into course meal for better pressing.
Illustration of a magnet with red action lines.

CC0 Creative Commons by arte_ram Image via freeimages.com

That's not all:

Before it's edible, the impurities have to come out.

And, depending on production size, one might choose to do a heated press or a cold press.


2. Heated press

  • First, the meal is heated and continuously fed through a screw press where the pressure increases and oil is extracted then collected.
  • Then the remaining plant is collected and called an oil cake.
  • Finally, the oil cake is processed by solvent extraction.
Machine for extracting oil

CC bY-SA 3.0 LeRoc Image via Wikimedia.com

The solvent most commonly used is hexane. This is a volatile hydrocarbon used to dissolve oil from the oil cake.

Hmmm...ingesting volatile hydrocarbon doesn't sound so safe.

Fortunately, 90 percent of the solvent remaining in the extracted oil evaporates.

Retrieving the remaining oil in the heated press
  • First, a  stripping column is used.
  • Then, steam is used to allow the lighter hexane to float to the top and once it is condensed, it can be collected

Now the oil needs to go through a refining stage.

Refining is a process used for non-cold pressed oils in order to purify it. Chemicals like acids, alkalis, bleaches are used to remove odors, improve filtration and neutralize. During the refining process, fatty acids are converted to long chain fatty acids.

In fact:

Heating it changes it to trans-fat.

You know...the stuff your doctors are always telling you to avoid.

Heated press and cold press

3. Cold press

  • First, the seeds or nuts are ground into a paste.
  • Keep the paste or meal below 120° Fahrenheit.
  • Then the paste is mixed to help the oils coagulate.
  • Finally, pressure is applied to the paste and oil is released.

Small scale pressing results with 8 percent to 15 percent of the oil left in the meal. That seems like a lot of waste, but there's a reason behind the madness. Using the cold press method may not produce high quantity, but it does produce high quality

Cold pressed oils to retain their flavor, aroma and nutritional value. This makes the oil good for not only cooking but also skin care.

Ground nut seed paste

CC by-SA 4.0 Bukulu Stephen Image via Wikimedia.com

Did I mention this type of oil contains zero grams of trans fatty acids and is naturally cholesterol free?


New Oils on the Block

More and more people are using alternative cooking oils.

It may seem like these alternative oils just appeared out of nowhere, but that's not the case.

Many of these oils have been around for seems like...

Thanks to research, more alternative cooking oils are making their way into our pantries.

Top trending oils best for cooking

Overwhelmed by the variety of alternative oils on the market?

Don't worry, we've got you covered.

Here's what you need to know:


Olive oil is still your friend

Olive oil poured into a bowl, with green olives

CC0 Creative Commons by stevepb Image via Pixabay

There several types of olive oils, but we want to focus on virgin olive oils.

That's because virgin olive oils are cold pressed and retain the health benefits and natural delicious flavor.

Fun facts about olive oil

1

Greece is one of the world’s largest producers of olive oil. It's also the world’s largest exporter of extra virgin olive oil. It's so good, that countries such as Italy and Spain even export their oil from there.

2

Many people believe that olive oil is has a protective effect against different cancers such as prostate, breast and endometrium.

3

Greek people consume roughly 26 liters of olive oil each year.

Though we hear a lot of talk about extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) it's best enjoyed uncooked to really enjoy the flavor.

Did you know that virgin oil is not only your best choice for cooking but can also be enjoyed uncooked?

When cooking with any olive oils, it's best to consider its smoking point.

Olive oil has a low smoking point.

Too high of heat and the oil breaks down leaving it less than appetizing.

That's why it should be avoided when searing sauteing and stir-frying.

This is one reason it's hard to swap with vegetable oils without considering cooking method.

Check out the recipe below:

Pressure Cooker Chicken

Pressured Cooker Chicken

CC0 Creative commons by The Digital Marketing Collaboration Image via Unsplash.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp, olive oil, or as needed
  • Medium yellow onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • Whole chicken (about 3.5 pounds)
  • Salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 head garlic

The rub:

  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 2 tsp brown mustard
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

Directions:

  • 1
    Use 2 teaspoons olive oil to coat the bottom of the pressure cooker.
  • 2
    Place onion rings, lemon slices and carrots in the bottom of the pressure cooker.
  • 3
    Take the vegetable stock and pour over onions, lemons and carrots.
  • 4
    You'll want to season all of the chicken with salt and pepper. Make sure to take your hands and pat the seasoning into the skin.
  • 5
    Stick the garlic and thyme sprigs directly into the chicken's cavity.
  • 6
    Combine the Marsala wine, mustard, minced garlic, fresh thyme, celery seed and dried parsley in a bowl and stir.
  • 7
    Carefully whisk 1/4 cup olive oil into the Marsala wine mixture. Continue whisking the mixture until is nice and emulsified.
  • 8
    Use your hands to spread 3/4 of the mixture onto the chicken. Make sure to spread evenly.
  • 9
    Put the chicken in the pressure cooker.
  • 10
    Remaining mixture can be poured over the chicken.
  • 11
    Cover the pressure cooker with lid. Make sure the lid is sealed before cooking under high pressure for 16 to 20 minutes.
  • 12
    Use the manufacturer's instructions for a quick-release. Place an instant-read thermometer into the thickest area of the thigh. When it reads 165 degrees F, it's ready for the next step.
  • 13
    Place oven rack roughly 6 inches from the top and preheat the oven on broil.
  • 14
    Take chicken and place inside a roasting pan. Using a ladle, place 1/2 of the liquid remaining in pressure cooker over the top of the chicken.
  • 15
    Broil the chicken for about 5 minutes or until skin is a nice golden brown color.
  • 16
    Remove garlic from the cavity and squeeze so the garlic cloves out and into a bowl for mashing.
  • 17
    Skim the fat from the remaining liquid in the pressure cooker. Then, discard onion, carrot, and lemon.
  • 18
    Put pressure cooker on medium heat; while cooking, stir the liquid until it is nice and browned, between 2 and 4 minutes.
  • 19
    Place mashed garlic in the sauce and whisk; season to taste using salt and pepper.
  • 20
    Serve the sauce along with the chicken.

Avocado oil is delicious

green avocados

​​​​CC0 Creative Commons by Hermes Rivera Image via Unsplash.com

Avocado oil is a great addition to food. Not only is it healthy, but it also has a great flavor.

It can be used in place of other cooking oils, butter, and margarine.

Avocado oil contains oleic acid, which is highly resistant to oxidation. That means it won’t go bad as quickly as other oils sitting in your cupboard.

This oil is a great choice for cooking because of its high smoke point. That means the oil can withstand high heat with minimal breakdown while maintaining health benefits.

So if you are looking to stir-fry or sautee, this is a great choice.


Avocado oil is also a big hit for its health benefits listed below:
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Detoxes Your Body
  • Helps Fight and Prevent Cancer
  • Treats Skin Damage and Irritations
  • Fights Wrinkles
  • Helps Treat Periodontal Disease
  • Fuller, Faster-Growing Hair
  • Stimulates Weight Loss
  • Boosts Nutrient Absorption

Try avocado oil in the yummy recipe below:

Chicken with Leeks and Tarragon

Main course chicken with green vegetables

CC0 Creative Commons by NjoyHarmony Image via Pixabay

Ingredients:

  • 3 leeks, thinly sliced white and light green parts only
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Avocado Oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tsp butter, divided
  • 2 lbs chicken breasts, pounded
  • Flour, for dusting
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Handful tarragon, chopped

Directions:

  • 1
    Thinly slice the washed leeks.
  • 2
    In a large skillet, cook the leeks and 2 tablespoons of avocado until tender over medium heat.
  • 3
    Stir in garlic cloves, broth, and wine. Allow it to reduce for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • 4
    Set leeks aside in a bowl.
  • 5
    Flour the chicken lightly, then season both sides with a little salt and pepper.
  • 6
    Take the skillet you cooked the leeks in and add the remaining tablespoon of avocado oil and 1 tablespoon butter.  Working in batches, sear the chicken until both sides are golden brown.
  • 7
    Place leeks back into the skillet.
  • 8
    Place on low. Simmer until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  • 9
    Add lemon juice, a tablespoon of butter and tarragon and stir.
  • 10
    Taste and add seasoning if needed. Serve warm.

Don't forget:


While avocado oil is a good choice for high-heat cooking, it is also delicious for drizzling and salad dressings.

Grapeseed oil is interesting too

If you thought nothing could be more controversial than that little Super Bowl nip slip, someone hold grapeseed oil's beer.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating...

When it comes to just how healthy grapeseed oil actually is, the jury is still out.

Grapeseed oil has long been considered healthy due to its high amounts of polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E. Marketers claim grapeseed oil helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Sounds great right?

Well, get this:

Even though it’s high in polyunsaturated fats, omega-6 is the main one

Not sure what all the fuss is about?

According to scientists, consuming high amounts of omega-6 fats could increase inflammation.

Plus, the high amount of vitamin E isn’t that significant when you consider carb for a carb.

As a matter of fact, grapeseed oil is actually low in nutrients.

How low?

Still, grapeseed oil is still considered a healthier alternative.

Love a good bisque?

Looking for tasty comfort food to incorporate grapeseed oil in?

Check out this corn bisque recipe below:

Corn Bisque with Red Bell Pepper and Rosemary

white bowl of corn bisque with red peppers

CC0 Creative Commons by Mogens Petersen Image via Pixabay

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp Salute Santé! Rosemary Grapeseed Oil
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 7 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp Salute Santé! Chili Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary

Directions:

  • 1
    Pour Salute Santé! Rosemary Grapeseed Oil into a large saucepan and heat over medium.
  • 2
    Toss in the onions, carrot, and celery.
  • 3
    Now, sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • 4
    Take 5-1/2 cups of corn and add to saucepan. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • 5
    Add stock to the saucepan. Bring to a boil.
  • 6
    Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer without lid until vegetables appear tender and the remaining liquid is slightly reduced (approximately 30 minutes).
  • 7
    Working in batches, place soup in a blender and puree.
  • 8
    Place the soup back in the pan.
  • 9
    Take the remaining 2 cups of corn and add to soup
  • 10
    Add salt and pepper.
  • 11
    In a skillet over medium heat, add the Salute Santé! Chili Grapeseed Oil.
  • 12
    Take the bell pepper and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender.
  • 13
    Add bell pepper mixture to soup and stir.
  • 14
    Soup needs to be brought to a simmer.
  • 15
    Use fresh rosemary to garnish before serving.

Sesame seed oil is a serious contender for your favorite oil

Like olive oil, there are a variety of sesame oils on the market.

Sesame oil is derived from raw or toasted sesame seeds. Toasted black seeds give the sesame oil a coffee-like color, while other varieties have a golden hue. Oils made from toasted seeds deliver a rich, nutty flavor that imparts an earthy essence. Cold-pressed sesame seeds are considered extra-virgin and are nearly clear, with a slightly yellow hue and a more neutral flavor.


Check out all the health benefits of sesame seed oil below:

  • High source of unsaturated fats
  • Helps in rheumatoid arthritis
  • Antioxidants to the rescue
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Great for the skin
  • Helps fight stress and depression
  • Oil pulling for oral health
  • Sesame oil has a high smoke point, making it ideal for sauteing and stir-frying

Who needs take out?

Why not stay in and enjoy a yummy stir-fry.

Check out the recipe below:

Beef Stir Fry

 wok with stir fry

CC0 Creative Commons by Pexels Image via Pixabay

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp bottled minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp bottled minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 lb presliced stir-fry meat (flank or sirloin steak)
  • 8 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Directions:

  • 1
    Combine garlic, ginger,  soy sauce, dark brown sugar and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.
  • 2
    Add the sesame oil to wok or skillet, then place over high heat.
  • 3
    Place half of the beef in pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Once it's browned to your liking, remove from the pan.
  • 4
    Put remaining beef in pan and cook for 3 minutes.
  • 5
    Add the onions and cook for one minute.
  • 6
    Pour the soy sauce mixture into the pan and cook for one minute.
  • 7
    Add the previously cooked beef back to the pan for another minute. Add spinach and stir.

Let it cook for about 30. Garnish with sesame seeds.

The incredible macadamia nut oil

Most people are very familiar with macadamia nuts.

It's their rich flavor and high nutrient profile makes this one of the more popular nuts.

Macadamia nut oil is extracted from these nuts for a wide variety of uses. Because macadamia nuts are strong in flavor, the oil retains a good amount of that yummy nutty flavor.

It also has a clear to slightly amber appearance.

An oil that sounds this good can't possibly be good for you.

Well, it is!

Macadamia nut oil is extremely low in saturated fats, free of cholesterol and high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Oil derived from the macadamia nut is actually healthier than olive oil. The fatty acid composition of macadamia nut oil makes it easy to substitute for vegetable oil when frying, cooking and even baking.

Let's bake:

Macadamia nut oil's yummy flavor is perfect for sweet treats.

Below is a recipe for a scrumptious coffee cake with a twist:

Brown Sugar Macadamia Nut Coffee Cake

Brown Sugar Macadamia Nut Coffee Cake

CC0 Creative Commons by Brett Jordan Image via Pexels.com

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter (cold, cut into small pieces)
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts (unsalted)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup nut oil (macadamia)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • 1
    Start by preheating the oven to 350°F.
  • 2
    Take a 9-inch round springform pan and grease lightly.
  • 3
    Use parchment paper to line bottom of the pan and set aside.
  • 4
    While oven is preheating, combine the flour, cinnamon, sugar, and ginger in small bowl.
  • 5
    After giving it a good stir, add the butter.
  • 6
    Now, use your fingers or a pastry cutter to rub or cut butter until crumbly. Set aside.
  • 7
    For the cake, you'll need to coarsely chop the macadamia nuts and place to the side. In a separate large bowl, take both the all-purpose and cake flours,  the granulated and brown sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • 8
    Stir until combined
  • 9
    Using another bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and oil until it's well blended.
  • 10
    Add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir until blended.
  • 11
    Beat mixture until smooth and creamy, with either an electric mixer for about 1 minute.
  • 12
    Using a spoon, place half of the batter into the greased pan you set aside earlier. Make sure to spread batter evenly.
  • 13
    Sprinkle half of the topping over the mixture.
  • 14
    Now use remaining batter to cover.
  • 15
    Take the nuts and sprinkle them over the top. Gently press them into the batter then take remaining topping and cover.
  • 16
    Now place in oven and bake until topping is golden brown or 40 to 45 minutes. Make sure to insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and it comes out clean.
  • 17
    Place the pan on a wire rack and allow it to cool for 20 minutes. Release springs onside of the pan to remove if using a springform pan.
  • 18
    The cake is best served warm or room temperature, cut into wedges.

Try some coconut oil

Coconut oil is solid and white until heated. Then at  86 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it becomes clear and liquid.

In an unrefined state, coconut oil will have a coconut smell as well as a tropical taste. Once refined the smell and taste become very neutral.

That's not all:

Coconut oil contains special fats called medium chain triglycerides.

These fats are responsible for a lot of health benefits. Medium chain triglycerides metabolize differently than most other fats and actually aids in weight loss.

Purchasing coconut oil isn't as easy as you might think.

Coconut oil comes labeled as refined or unrefined. Consider what you are using it prior to the trip to the grocery store.

That will make it less overwhelming.

Both offer great health benefits but will differ in taste, appearance and nutritional value.

Try the recipe below:

Coconut lime salmon

salmon filet dinner with lime and green and red veggies

CC0 Creative Commons by pastel100 image via Pixabay

Ingredients:

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • Lime slices for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  • 1
    Remove salmon from refrigeration about 20 minutes before beginning the recipe to allow it to come closer to room temperature. There is coconut oil in the marinade, so it will solidify if the salmon is too cold.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  • 3
    In a shallow dish, combine the lime juice, coconut oil, coconut milk, honey, and sea salt.
  • 4
    Mix well until the salt is dissolved.
  • 5
    Place salmon fillets in the marinade.
  • 6
    Marinate for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • 7
    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • 8
    Remove salmon from marinade and place on parchment paper, leaving plenty of space between fillets.
  • 9
    Top the fillets with flaked coconut.
  • 10
    Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork at the thickest part of the fillet.
  • 11
    Adjust cook time based on the thickness of your fillets. The instructions are for a standard salmon thickness of about 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5-3.8cm).
  • 12
    After cooking, top with lime zest and some flakey sea salt (if you like things a little saltier). Garnish with lime slices for a nice presentation.
  • 13
    Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over the fillets.

Gee, want some ghee?

We've been seeing ghee all over the place now...even being placed in coffee.

So what is ghee?

Ghee is pure butterfat that has been extracted from milk. It is a much better alternative to butter because butter contains extra water and impurities.

Ghee, on the other hand, is pure unadulterated butterfat. It is often referred to as liquid gold or clarified butter.

There are a few advantages of cooking with ghee. The flavor is one major advantage.

Ghee has been described as having a slightly nutty, almost butterscotch-like flavor.

Another advantage is its high smoke point.

The smoke point of ghee is a 485 degrees Fahrenheit.

Insane right?

That's about 150 degrees higher than butter that has not been clarified.

Ghee is perfect for browning and pan searing. You may have already enjoyed a meal prepared with ghee.

Chances are if you've had perfectly seared fish, scallops, or steak it was probably pan-seared in clarified butter.

According to Holistichealthnaturally.com:

"When it comes to dairy allergies, the milk proteins, casein and whey are the common culprits. Ghee is actually butter with not only the problematic proteins removed but also the milk sugar lactose. Ghee is rich in butyric acid which is great for healing the gut."

Delicious and healthy.

A yummy way to incorporate ghee is to substitute it for butter.

Give it a whirl next time you're in the mood for scampi.

Check out the recipe below:

Shrimp Scampi over Spaghetti Squash

shrimp scampi over Spaghetti Squash

CC0 Creative Commons by Dana Tentis from Pexels

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp ghee (or grass-fed butter)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1 lb shrimp (tail removed, deveined)
  • 3 saffron threads
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • 1
    Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
  • 2
    Using a spoon, scoop the seeds out from the center and discard.
  • 3
    Place the spaghetti squash in a microwave safe dish with 1/2 cup water.
  • 4
    Cook on high 12 to 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.
  • 5
    You can alternatively roast the squash in the oven at 400ºF for 45 minutes.
  • 6
    Once the squash is cooked, cool in the pan 10 minutes before removing the flesh.
  • 7
    Bring a large skillet to medium heat.
  • 8
    Add the ghee and olive oil to the pan.
  • 9
    Continue to cook until the ghee is melted then add the parmesan and lemon juice.
  • 10
    When the parmesan has melted into the sauce add the garlic, red pepper flakes, saffron and cook 2 to 3 minutes to release the flavors then add the shrimp.
  • 11
    Sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley flakes.
  • 12
    Finally, cook until shrimp is opaque 4 to 5 minutes.
  • 13
    While the shrimp cooks, remove the flesh from the spaghetti squash skin and divide into 4 portions.
  • 14
    Serve with the shrimp and sauce immediately

Become Familiar with a Variety of Oils

In the end, alternative cooking oils definitely have their pros and cons.

Either way, they are a much healthier choice than the commonly used canola or corn oils we've been accustomed to.

When deciding on which alternative oil to use, remember to keep these three things in mind:

Smoking point.


The type of fat that it contains.

Flavor.


If you can do that, you'll have no trouble substituting alternative oils.

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