8 Cooking Oils That You've Never Heard of (Slideshow)
April 1, 2014
Different oils are needed for different cooking methods and each has a unique use
If you’ve had enough of guacamole, try another use for avocado in your diet. Earthy in flavor, avocado oil is the pressed version of a fan favorite — and you don’t have to worry about the peel or the pit! With a high smoke point it’s a great oil to use for frying or sautéing.
Pressed from the fruit of the tropical coconut tree, coconut oil is nutty, nutritious, and natural. Most beneficial when it’s unrefined, make sure it is certified organic, raw and not hydrogenated when purchasing. Coconut oil is great for savory sautées and adds a nutty aroma while not overwhelming the flavor. In addition, coconut oil is versatile because, depending on other dominant ingredients, it neither overpowers nor undercuts flavor. As with any tropical oil, coconut oil has a complex blend of fatty acids that add to its health benefits. Spread raw on toast or added to a smoothie, it’s great for skin and helps reduce heart disease, immune dysfunction, and obesity. Best when cooked at a low-temperature, coconut oil can be used when cooking eggs, steaming grains, roasting sweet potatoes, and even popping corn.
Flax Seed Oil
High in omega-3 acids, flax oil is an anti-oxidant with powerful nutritional benefits. Not intended to cook over heat, flax oil is best used for dressing salads, flavoring soups, and even as an ingredient in gravy.
Grapeseed oil, pressed from the seeds of grapes used during wine-making, is an oil that adds a lush, smooth texture to your meal. This oil has a high smoke point, which means it can be cooked at higher temperatures and thus is perfect for recipes that call for sautéing or grilling. Although you don’t see it in a lot of recipes, grapeseed oil can serve as a substitute for any light oil one might use for salad dressings or sauces.
A great source of unsaturated fat, safflower oil promotes low cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. With a high smoke point, safflower oil can be used in recipes that call for searing or deep-frying. Pressed from the brightly colored safflower seeds, this oil will brighten any dish.
Toasted Sesame Oil
An ingredient traditional to Chinese and Korean cuisine, toasted sesame oil can be used in stir-fries and, of course, when making tempura. Combined with ginger and rice vinegar, it makes a fresh and flavorful salad dressing.
Truffles are a delicacy which is why you won’t want to use the oil as a base for any recipe. Rather, truffle oil should be used as the savory equivalent of the icing on the cake. Drizzle a few drops over pasta or soup, to give your dish that powerful hint of earth.
Sunflower oil is made from compressed sunflower seeds. It is a common replacement for frying food as it is low in saturated fat and high in Vitamin E. It is a light amber color and the flavor is fairly mild.