I live in Minnesota and went to our nationally known famous state fair recently. I was floored at all the deep-fried options for attendees. These oil-soaked, crispy goodies were being handed out to everyone willing to pay. Deep-fried candy bars, deep-fried pickles, deep-fried cheese. Deep-fried everything.
As Americans, we, by default, are almost required to love greasy, oil-laden foods. Battered foods dipped in hot oil creates deep-fried, delicious goodies. But besides making things taste good, oil is often not good for you.
While plant-based oils like avocado oil do have the healthy kind of fats, it’s never a bad idea to use less. Using less oil, or cutting it out completely, in cooking can not only help with your health but also save you money – and you wouldn’t be sacrificing flavor.
For Sautéing and Frying
Sometimes it can seem daunting to have to completely change your way of cooking, but oil-free is much healthier and can be just as tasty. If you are a fan of sautéing or frying vegetables, water or vegetable broth will quickly become your best friend in oil-free cooking. Oil can make foods heavy and dense. When you replace oil with water or broth, the veggies you’re frying retain their complete flavors and do not become heavy with oil. I have also used soy sauce or liquid aminos in my own cooking when I do not want to use oil. It is also important to make sure your skillet or wok is of the nonstick variety. Try cooking this recipe for Stir-Fried Tofu with Veggies and Shiitake with Arrowroot Sauce without the oil!
For Baking and Roasting Veggies
Before I started eating a primarily plant-based diet, I ate a lot of fried foods – including veggies. It wasn’t until later in life that I even realized that baking was not just for tasty treats like cookies, cakes, and brownies. You can even bake vegetables. Sure, I’d heard of baked potatoes, but that was as far as my knowledge went. When baking veggies (and even cakes, cookies, and other treats) line the pan with parchment paper so that things do not stick. It makes clean up a breeze, too! Baking takes longer, but if you season your veggies with spices, it allows the flavors to become more prominent and really amps up the wow factor in what others might consider a boring dish. Here is a The Ultimate Guide to Roasting Vegetables.
For Baking Sweets
Baking can include oil in sneaky ways. I, for one, have never really made the connection that plant-based butters are just solidified oils. While delicious and perfect for baked goods, they are oil-based. If you’re wanting to go oil-free, you’ll have to find some alternatives! Foods like bananas and applesauce add moisture to dishes that otherwise might come from oil. They also add some extra flavor and nutrients that you would not find in a plant-based butter. If you’re whipping up a sweet that is darker in color like a chocolate cake or brownies, avocado would also be a great substitute. You could use it something lighter, but you will get the green color throughout! You could also use nut butter, and if you pair that with a recipe that is chocolate based, you’re in for a delicious treat!
No matter what you’re cooking or how you cook, an oil-free cooking is possible, and there is no reason to skimp on the flavors when they are so many substitutes and new ways to try things out there. Even if you’re just wanting to cut oil out part of the time, it can be done and you can still experience bold, rich flavors in all types of foods.
Lead Image Source: Mexican Chocolate Waffles