Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Guest Post: Maggie's Favorite Cooking Oils

The final during-Hoopcamp guest post is from Maggie of Say Yes To Salad. As Maggie writes about my blog, I have been reading her posts for ages and ages. I love her food concoctions and quite a few have become regulars at mealtimes. I'm very excited about her guest post topic because -- thanks in large part to Maggie -- I think more and more that not only are healthy fats an important part of a balanced eating plan, but they're just as important during weight-loss-mode. How's that coming from the girl who could sniff out fat free options in any food? Anyway, I'll stop gushing and let Maggie take it away. Thanks, girl! (Also, you should vote for her in Foodbuzz's Project Food Blog -- I sure am!)

Thank you, Beth, for the opportunity to guest post! I blog about life and other stuff (healthy food, fitness, and my kabocha obsession) over at Say Yes to Salad and I have been reading Beth's blog for ages, ever since before Kitchen Courage was Kitchen Courage (it used to have Muffins in the title - yum).

Today I'm going to talk about the different types of oil I use for cooking. There are definitely more great oils you can use, but I don't like to keep a lot of different half-opened bottles of oil in my kitchen, so I stick to my favorites. I don't know much about (or care about) whether an oil is saturated/unsaturated/polysaturated/etc... so I pick oils based on taste. I think pretty much all oil is healthy (aside from oil with trans fats, which are awful). In order of preference...

  1. Butter. Everything is better with butter! Contrary to popular belief, butter will not make you fat (no more than any other source of calories will make you fat). Butter in fact may help you lose weight because it is satisfying and you only need a little bit to get that rich buttery flavor. Butter has a low "smoke point" which means that you can't heat it to very high temperatures or fry with it, but it's great for sauteing. (Ghee, or clarified butter, has a higher smoke point and it doesn't burn - I use ghee a lot too!) I use butter to saute cabbage, as an oatmeal topping, in baking, for stir frys, and on bread. It's good for just about everything.
  2. Peanut Oil. I get my peanut oil from Bell Plantation (the PB2 company). Peanut oil is really flavorful. It’s perfect for Asian stir frys and perfect for anyone who loves peanuts (me).
  3. Sesame Oil. I just use whatever brand is cheapest of this. Sesame oil is so flavorful that you don't have to use much, and you can even use half peanut half olive (I'd say you can go up to a 1:3 ratio without losing any flavor - 1 part sesame to 3 parts olive or other vegetable oil). I use this for Asian dressings and stir frys. Sometimes I put in a little bit of sesame oil while rice is cooking.
  4. Coconut Oil. Coconut oil has lots of (good) saturated fats. I do stir frys with it when I want a Thai flavor. I also put it in oatmeal sometimes and it's very good for baking and other things that need to taste kind of sweet.
  5. Olive Oil. Olive oil is only last because I find it boring compared to the other stars on this list. I use olive oil for sauteing, roasting veggies, and salad dressing (like caesar salad). It's a great all-purpose oil and you can use it for baking as well.

Make sure to check out my Recipes Page for some of my healthy recipes featuring these yummy guys.

Hope you enjoyed hearing about my favorite oils! What are your favorites?


  1. Thanks again for letting me post, Beth!!

  2. Good post, Maggie! I agree with everything on your list. Unfortunately, I'm not in charge of our pantry, so canola oil is the star, but we do have olive and sesame as well. I love sesame oil in Asian dishes and as a substitute for tahini when I'm making hummus. It also works well in any dish where I'm looking to add a little depth and complexity of flavor.

  3. Thanks Maggie! I love this, and i love my healthy fats and usually try to get some at every meal. I can go through pounds of nuts very quickly, though sadly, that's an expensive habit lol, i have to have nut butter at least once daily and that "2 tbsp" serving size is a joke. As for oils, I personally love a good strong olive oil because it makes me feel like I'm in Italy, and I usually wait til the end and put it staight on the dish so I don't lose the flavor. I use grapeseed oil for cooking because it can be heated to high temps and has a lot of vitamin E, and I love coconut oil. Also, toast and earth balance is an amazing combo. I don't know about whether those are healthy or not so healthy fats, but I can't believe I gave that up for so long because I was afraid of fats that I couldn't "see". Silly me! And if you ever visit Houston there's a place that has an arugula and truffle oil pizza that is AMAZING. Beth- hope you're having fun hooping!!

  4. @TraciB: Yay for sesame oil!@Gaby: I will have to try grapeseed oil. I think I used it once a long time ago but I don't remember how much I liked it. I'm sure I did. Yes, toast + EB is awesome. I usually stick with toast + butter though! Yum yum yum.

  5. I'm with you all the way on butter. I see a lot of the TV chefs sauteing in a combination of butter and olive oil now. Love sesame oil and, of course, olive oil. I tried peanut oil for wok cooking a long time ago but have never used coconut oil. Sounds like it would be fun for the flavor. I picked up a bottle of white truffle oil that I drizzle onto roasted veggies along with the garlic and shallots. And now I'm starving just thinking about food! =)


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King