Vegan Cooking With Oil

I have been looking into safe heat temperatures for cooking oils, and one of the worst oils to use for cooking is extra virgin olive oil....high temperatures render it detrimental to your health. It's better for no heat, or low heat recipes. I see this being used in many recipes for stir fry etc, and I am wondering where the information on oil safety is. I have found that there are many other oils out there better for high heat cooking. Do you have any information on this?

Thank you so much,
Melody
Hood River, Oregon

*****

Hi Melody - Great question. Here is what I recommend. The best oil to use for high-heat cooking is coconut oil because it has a high smoke point, which means the temperature can be pretty darn high and the oil remains stable. I use a tad bit of coconut oil when I make foods such as pancakes, french toast, or stir fries.

But the coconut flavor doesn't work with all foods, so then I switch to olive oil. If you add a bit of water to the pan with the oil BEFORE you turn the heat on, the oil will not get as hot and will be healthier to cook with.

Alternatively, use water or veggie broth. It is amazing how many times water or veggie broth will suffice, and oil is simply not needed. xo

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Again...on the high heat situation!!!
by: Anonymous

thank you Le Vegan Coach!

Adding water to the oil when frying makes so much sense. I still do wonder though, why in practically every recipe we see or watch being cooked, do all the chefs add E.V.O.O. into a very hot pan (without any added liquid)? Is the information on the dangers of virgin oils becoming carcinogenic when in high heat not really true? When you think of it, the Italians have been using E.V.O.O. since the dawn of time to COOK with, and their incidents of large numbers of cancer or other problems from this seem nonexistent! Is this maybe an over reaction? I just hear so much from some people on this, and I want to be sure to be properly informed when I dip into the conversation.

Thanks again......Melody

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In my humble opinion...
by: Sassy

...and according to my research, the dangers are quite real. Why do the cooks on TV use EVOO in a hot pan? Perhaps they haven't done the research? Perhaps they have, yet they choose to think differently about the topic? Who's to say.

Would love to hear other thoughts out there about this topic. What do you all think?

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How much water
by: Delyse

Hi Sassy,

Long time fan of your page!!! There is just so much great information to be found here!

I was just wondering how much water do you add to you pan before heating and adding the oil?

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Good question...
by: Sassy

Hi Delyse!

Thanks, my darling! So happy to have you here! :)

How much water do I add to the pan with the oil? Well, if I am using, say, 1/2 tsp of oil, I will use 4-8 times as much -- so in this case I would use 2-4 tsp of water.

I really just eyeball it.

You don't want a lake in the bottom of your pan. It doesn't take too much water to keep the heat of the oil down. Play around with it to find what works for you, and the desired outcome you are after.

By the way, if I am using just a small swipe of oil (on a napkin or paper towel) -- such a small amount that you can barely even see it in the pan, I don't generally use water too.

Hope this helps!
Giant hugs to you!
xo
Sass

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Refined Coconut Oil?
by: Kinsey

Hi Sass, love your site! What are your thoughts about using refined coconut oil (that doesn't have the coconutty taste) when using virgin coconut oil just won't do? I know you never want things to be refined but would this be better to use before reaching for the bottle of EVOO to cook with?

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Grapes Seed Oil
by: Anonymous

Grape Seed Oil has a high smoke point and neutral flavor. It's also good for you.

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What about these 2 oils?
by: Anonymous

I'd love to know your thoughts on avocado oil? Avocados are a good fat when they are whole, what about when you cold press them? Also flax oil? Just bought a cast iron pan and was told to season it with flax oil because it can withstand high heat and adds the omegas to food, etc. Do either of these oil work well or do they change when heated? What about flavor?

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Heating flax oil for cooking
by: Diana Mason

I would never, ever cook with flax oil. One of the best books I have ever read on the subject of nutrition besides "The China Study" is a book called "Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill." It is sometimes a very technical book, and I had to bypass the chemistry lessons, but the premise of the book is that seed oils are degraded by light, heat, and air--losing their beneficial nutrients and thereby actually becoming harmful. Flax oil, when fresh is a wonderful source of omega 3. So I buy the seeds and put a few spoonfuls in the coffee grinder everyday and sprinkle over cereal. That's as fresh as the oil gets, I would imagine. Heat flax oil, though, and it becomes very unhealthy. Check out the book. Fascinating!

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Water and Oil
by: Chen

Will it splatter at all with the addition of water to the oil?

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Red Palm Oil, Heated oil issue
by: Sylvia

I just love your newsletters and website!

I wanted to add that there is also Red Palm Oil (organic) as a vegan option for high heat. It is more of a solid and can be left at room temperature. It has an orange colour (which can stain some utensils) and is full of vitamins A (betacarotene) and E ("rare tocotrienols & tocopherols of the E family"). It has very little taste but it's good. I think nutty?

Safe oils for high heat must be semi-hard at room temperatures. Vegan = coconut, red palm oils, (others?), (Non-Vegan = butter, lard).

To explain the chemistry of heated oil issue easily:
Electrons must travel in pairs. When the wrong oil is heated, the pairs break apart so when you consume the oil, (or processed food that uses oils - they all do!), these single electrons run through your body ripping off electrons from YOUR pairs, leaving singles running around your body. These are 'free radicals' or 'oxidants' (requiring ANTIoxidants).

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Isn't Oil Dangerous
by: Anonymous

I've heard that ANY oil is extremely unhealthy. What's the real deal?

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Some thoughts...
by: Sassy

Yes, oils are something you should move away from. They're not "health promoting" by any stretch of the imagination.

But not everyone can quit "cold oil" -- sometimes we need to work towards that goal so your taste buds can come along for the ride.

I think you might find these tips about oil usage in cooking helpful.

Again, the goal is always to be moving ever closer to an oil-free diet. It can be done. And it is actually quite easy.

The trick is to be sure to use the right pans for the job.

And by the way, Chen, you add the water to the oil BEFORE you heat the pan to eliminate the splatter effect.    ;)

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Soybean Oil
by: Jodie

Hi.. I'm new in vegan cooking and buy a little bit at a time to add to my collection. Question while being on a budget, what can I do when only having vegetable oil made from soybean? please help.

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Grape seed oil
by: Regina

Grape seed oil is good for cooking also.

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