By Vanessa Packer
Photographer Libby Gray
WHEN IT COMES TO cooking, no pantry product is more vilified than fat. But here at Bonberi, we believe cooking with “good” fats are not only acceptable but beneficial to your health. Still, the question remains, what are “good” fats? With the ban on trans-fats spreading across the country, the demand for healthy oils has grown. Today, the diversity of such oils can be seen in grocery aisles that once housed only olive and canola. Even more, alternative oils such as coconut and grapeseed are now commonplace in health food markets and prevalent in vegan recipes that call for high-temperature cooking points. But before you start running for the hills and grabbing that can of Pam, don’t fret! We’ve broken down our favorite oils, their properties, how to use them and included recipes that make using each of these oils a breeze.
- Unrefined oils are where the most benefits are found. Less processing results in richer, more robust flavors.
- Using these healthy oils in combination with a healthy diet is essential to nutritional benefits.
- Most healthy good quality oils should be stored in a cool dark place as heat can oxidize fatty acids and make oil taste bitter and/or rancid.
- Even with good fats, it’s best to use these oils sparingly.
Native to the Mediterranean, this popular oil was an important item of commerce and wealth in Egyptian times long before it became highly prized for its health benefits and links to longevity. Versatile and delicious, it’s an important staple in any kitchen.
- Best for dressing, we do not recommend cooking with olive oil as high heat can breakdown it’s delicate chemical structure and alter it’s benefits
- Effective in reducing inflammation in the body
- Helps to lower blood cholesterol
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E
- When dressing, it’s important to use extra virgin, cold-pressed options
TRY THIS: Shaved Fennel Salad
This incredibly bold and flavorful oil can liven up just about any dish with just a drop. We particularly like it with grains for the added warm toasted flavor.
- Use the unrefined sesame oil for light dressing as it’s low smoke point makes it a tough one to cook with
- Helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Has been known to lower blood sugar
- Good source of Vitamin E
- Rich in Omerga-6 fatty acids
- In Ayurvedic Medicine, it is used for its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal healing properties
We Recommend: La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil
TRY THIS: Toasted Sesame Quinoa Salad
Coconut oil has moved into the spotlight lately as one of the tastiest and healthiest oils to cook and moisturize your skin with. Be aware of its high levels of saturated fats and when you consume and enjoy this oil. Pro tip: Use this oil topically as a natural sunburn soother or as makeup remover!
- Regarded as a stable oil, great for cooking and baking at high temperatures
- Contains Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Iron
- Immune system booster
- Incredible skin moisturizer
- Use sparingly as this oil is high in saturated fat
We Recommend: Spectrum Naturals Coconut Oil
TRY THIS: Coconut Oil Roasted Purple Potatoes
This is another oil that should be a staple in all kitchens. Incredibly light, with a subtle flavor, it’s a great oil to use when you want the flavors of the dish to really stand out.
- Great for cooking because of it’s high smoke point and neutral flavor
- Known to fight cancers and lower cholesterol
- High in protein and fiber
We Recommend: La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil
TRY THIS: Kripalu House Dressing
Sunflower Seed Oil
We like this oil best as an alternative to butter when baking. Its light, slightly sweet flavor and healthy attributes make it a must in any baker’s kitchen.
- Great for cooking at high heat
- High in essential Vitamin E
- Contains Vitamin B, which supports a healthy nervous system, good digestion, and boosts energy
- Low in Saturated fat
- Helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Natural antioxidant
We Recommend: La Tourangelle Organic Sunflower Oil
TRY THIS: Paleo Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
We’re lovers of all things avocado, so it’s no surprise this oil made the list. It may not be as popular as some of its peers yet, but it’s slightly creamy flavor complements everything from lightly sautéed fish to heirloom tomato salad.
- Good for cooking at high heat
- Rich in heart-healthy fats like Vitamin E, Plant Based Omega-3 fats
- Contains Beta-sito sterol, a potent cholesterol lowering agent
- Contains powerful antioxidants for repairing blood vessels and removing free radicals from the system
We Recommend: La Tourangelle Avocado Oil
TRY THIS: Heirloom Tomato Salad