The other night at around 3 a.m., I was on Instagram seeking a visual food fix after coaxing my newborn back to sleep.
Retreating to my all time favorite Instagram pages like I normally do, I was presented with a question under one of my recent posts that I had never been asked before. The question was regarding tips to reduce oil usage in cooking veggies. Perceiving this to be a “quick answer” type question, I went in to typing with my thumbs. However, as 5, 1 0, 15 minutes passed, it became apparent to me that this was no quick answer. Even a quick consult with Google didn’t turn up the information I needed to share. There were sites with information here and there addressing the information needed, but no cogent list… and let’s face it… information about internet users proves that we love lists!
So considering my search all but exhausting, I thought up what I do personally to reduce oil use on in foods I cook, or bake. Indeed, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed, so I’m glad someone asked the question because now there is a clear & concise answer online! Hooray!
On a side note, I have to love how my mind fires on all cylinders around midnight and early mornings!!
So without further wait, here it is.
I promise you there isn’t a better compilation on this topic on the internet so enjoy!
1- Consider Type of Oil
Okay you got me. This isn’t a tip per se on how to reduce oil usage. But it’s the only way to start. You have to consider your type of oil! Enough is said about this online as not all oils are equal, so I will just settle at this, coconut and extra virgin olive oils are fiscally, structurally, & nutritionally the best to cook with. Also, avocado oil is an awesome choice although it can be a bit pricey!
2- Consider Cooking Method
Instead of deep-frying or high heat pan-frying, try:
- Sautéing – Remember that less heat = less oil. With sautéing you will basically spritz or spray the pan with a light sheen of oil to cook food carefully to perfection.
- Light Grilling – Grilling (of course not until devoid of nutrients) is another way of avoiding too much oil.
- Baking – If you have time to plan your meal, try to bake or even slow roast veggies and protein substitutes on a non-stick parchment paper, or non-stick aluminum. If needed, lightly spray food before baking.
3- Consider Amount of Oil
Something I always do and encourage others to do is know for sure how much oil you are using in any given culinary creation. This means always always always measure –and– err on the side of too little oil rather than too much. Remember you can always put more oil in, but you can’t take more out! You can watch the oil used by using measuring spoons and attempting to add no more than 1-2 teaspoon(s) of oil in your food (adjusting it to portions), or opt to use less by lightly swiping/wiping the pan with a little oil before cooking, buying a mini spray bottle and filling it with oil and spritzing food while in the warm pan, or spraying food using a coconut, avocado, or olive oil cooking spray.
Wait- did you catch that? Ok I will emphasize here… Don’t add oil to a cool pan… Add oil only to a WARMED/HOT pan for better coverage of food, and to use less!
4- Consider Time
As mentioned but not always stressed enough, be sure you have time to cook. Remember, fast-food most likely means more oil than you needed (that’s what a fast-food restaurant comparatively is right?)
Give yourself time, and you will certainly use less oil. Time also helps to develop your flavors more, so how about that for added bonus!
5- Consider Cookware/Bakeware
I don’t think people pay enough attention to purchasing the absolute best cookware, bakeware, and utensils that they can afford. I would rather have less pots and pans, yet better quality. So consider this, when cutting down on oil, your cookware and bakeware are critical! Choose non-stick premium, yet affordable materials. I suggest (and this is backed by many a home chef, and those who are trained for the industry):
- Tramontina 80114/535DS Professional Nonstick Restaurant Fry Pan as the best available for home use and hard cooking!
- Food Network Cookware is classy yet durable. I loved my food network pot before buying the Tramontina. You can find them at Kohl’s, or online as far as I know.
- Cuisine Art Contour Hard Anodized Cookware is another I’ve heard is excellent and reliable. I may try them in the future.
- Calphalon Contemporary Hard Anodized Non-Stick Cookware are a tried and true family made brand.
- I’m also watching out for Ayesha Curry’s line of cookware to come out as well…Guess I’m willing to try because she is a great cook, and her husband Steph Curry is my favorite basketball player, of course!
- For bakeware choose obviously non-stick good quality, and if possible silicone baking containers are a God-send!
- When selecting cooking utensils, select ones that reduce stick like a thick silicon utensil set. I know stainless steel lasts forever, but they scratch pans, which sooner or later equals more oil usage to maintain non-stick nature of pans when cooking.
6- Consider Meal Planning (at least to some degree)
If you are planning on frying veggies, tofu, mushrooms, tempeh, or some other special meat substitute, opt to bake either the vegetables and/or the protein substitute “meat”. Also, you may choose to serve the fried item with a noodle dish with oil rinsed off and a low oil sauce, a large fresh salad, an oil-free soup, or with steamed rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa. This way only one thing in the meal is fried rather than everything.
7- Consider Fruit-Based Substitutes in Baked Goods
Mash banana, mashed avocado, pumpkin purée, yoghurt, or apple sauce are exciting to bake with and offer good flavors to muffins, cakes, brownies, and sweet breads.
8- Consider Liquid “Frying”
For you who are completely against frying or cooking food in oil, consider using low-sodium vegetable broth to fry veggies and/or your protein. Be certain to avoid your food drying out by using a good non-stick pan, frequent stirring, and a lid on the pan to trap moisture in the food.
Feeling empowered to do this now? Go conquer being awesome in the kitchen today! Oh, and while you are at it, let me know if I have left something out that I should add to the list below in the comments.