He olive oil, in its many varieties, is a fundamental ingredient in our diet. However, in the last month and a half, its constant increase in price is making it an increasingly unaffordable item for many homes in Spain. In some cases, it already exceeds 12 euros per liter.
Despite its common use in cooking, it is not mandatory to use olive oil for all recipes. Here you have some options to diversify your preparations and incorporate other fats that maintain the flavor and its healthy qualities.
There is no single alternative that is best, as the choice largely depends on the dish you plan to cook. Here we offer you some keys to consider when selecting a substitute in the kitchen.
Raw, flavor is essential
Preparations that do not use heat to make them need a fat whose flavor complements the final dish.
In a salad or gazpacho you can use a walnut oil to give a characteristic flavor to the dish.
On the other hand, when preparing some dressings or sauces such as mayonnaise, the strong flavor of the oil can overpower, masking the spices or other ingredients added to the recipe. In such situations, it is possible to opt for oils with more delicate flavors, such as sunflower oil or soybean oil.
Seed oils, being rich in polyunsaturated fats, are ideal for recipes that do not require heat, protecting them from degradation. However, it is crucial to remember that they do not offer as many health benefits as olive oil, so they are recommended for use in moderation.
In hot, the structure is what matters
Heat can have a significant impact on oil quality. Oils that are high in fat polyunsaturated, such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oilare particularly sensitive to degradation by heat, unlike oils with higher fat content monounsaturated, such as olive, rapeseed or high oleic sunflower oil.
When it comes to frying foods, it is recommended to use olive oil. high oleic sunflower, refined olive oil or olive pomace oil, since they can withstand higher temperatures without degrading. There is also the option of using oils specifically designed for frying, which contain antioxidants and additives that protect them from the adverse effects of high temperatures.
The choice of the type of oil should depend on the food that is going to be fried: for potatoes or vegetables, olive oil or olive pomace is ideal, while for pre-cooked foods, high oleic sunflower oil is a good choice. .
Both the margarine like butteralthough they are not the most suitable for frying or the best for health, they can be excellent options for baking and roasting, along with vegetable oils, as they add a distinctive flavor to preparations.
If you plan to brown vegetables with butter, it is essential to control the temperature to prevent the butter from burning and developing unpleasant flavors. Butter can also give a special touch to recipes such as bechamel or certain vegetable creams.
In confectionery, the sunflower oil, with its mild flavor, can effectively replace traditional butter. In gastronomic and health terms, olive and seed oils are usually the preferred choice.
And for health?
Oils are essential in the kitchen, but it is crucial to avoid excesses. It is not about avoiding fats, since they are vital for the functioning of the body and provide energy and essential nutrients, but it is about selecting the best ones for health and for the type of dish being prepared.
“The monounsaturated fatslike those that come from olive oil, are the healthiest,” says Aurora León, nutritionist and food science expert.
“If we want to replace olive oil, we can use other monounsaturated fats that have similar benefits, such as avocado or rapeseed”Add.
It also points out that most of the fats available are polyunsaturated, so it is essential to differentiate between them and opt for monounsaturated fats if you want to prioritize health.
“Many times people believe that because it is of plant origin it is a monounsaturated fat, but this is not always the case,” according to the nutritionist. “For example, Coconut oil is high in polyunsaturated fatsso it’s best to avoid it if you’re looking for a healthy option.”
He also recommends using cooking techniques that require less oil, such as steamed or grilledas a measure to reduce fat intake.