What is the low down on oils.  This is a hard one. I personally don’t fry much with oil. My preferred choice of using oil is splashing organic olive oil into a pasta sauce or running it through my lunch time salad.  As a caterer though I am asked to shallow fry corn fritters and burgers for lunch and I looked at the high heat point of oils and thought that rice bran was the best to use however I struggled to find organic rice bran oil and then found out how destructive that crop is to the environment. Nut oils like Macadamia and almond were the next best but many people suffer from nut allergies so not an option for me.  Avocado oil also has a high smoke point but so far the budget for retreats doesn’t quite stretch to frying with avocado oil.

Coconut oil is the most popular choice these days for frying in however it makes me gag just at the smell of it so that has never been an option.
For years I was hearing that you can’t cook with olive oil as it doesn’t have a high smoke point. The local olive grower had been saying for a decade that this was not true and after looking up many different sources I found out that she was right after all.  Organic, unrefined olive oil has a smoke point of 165 C. My pan does not get hotter than this so it is possible I could have stuck to using olive oil for shallow frying. I instead have been using unrefined, cold pressed organic sunflower oil.
Now in a lot of health journals and on the vegan sites and facebook groups there are people saying that we should stay away from all oils. I personally am not convinced on this one. However there is some truth in the oils having high ratios of omega 6 to 3. My present choice of using organic unrefined sunflower oil has a 6 to 3 ratio of 40:1 and olive oil 33:1, coconut oil 39:1. So these look like they are all a no no for our diets.) Olive oil though has a good quantity of omega 9 which is said to help with brain health. Avocado oil has a better ratio of 13:1.
Lets look at the omega 6 to 3 in basic terms and how much oil we actually use. If you are a person who likes fried food who chooses to buy premade vegan goodies like ‘non chicken’ nuggets and fried chips and deep fried aranchini then yes you may need to start thinking about the omega 6 to 3 ratio in your diet.
However if you are like me who probably has a total of 2 tsp to 1 tbsp of olive oil a day or the people who attend my retreats who have their burger fried in a tsp of sunflower oil and less than1 tbsp of olive oil in their salad dressing, then I think the worry needs to stop there especially if you are on a plant based diet.
In addition a lot of the damage to the oils is caused by over use of the oils. Can you imagine how many times oil is reheated in places that deep fry their foods. I use oil once only.
For those people who don’t know why the omega 6 to 3 ratio isn’t a worry if you are having a small amount of oil each day here is my take on it.  It is suggested that you should have a 1:4 ratio of omega 6 to 3 each day for overall good health and to help prevent inflammation to the heart.  Lets take a look at a vegan diet there are plenty of things in the diet that have a high 6 to 3 ratio like some nuts and seeds but then there are plenty of other things in a vegan diet that have a wonderful balance.
For example;
Urad Dal or Mungo Beans (not mug beans) - 1 to 13.95 
Flaxseeds - 1 to 3.9
Walnuts - 1 to 4.2 
Spinach - 1 to 813
Broccoli - 1 to 3.39
Cauliflower - 1 to 3.35
Green (or French) beans - 1 to 1.73
Hemp seeds 1 to 4
So if you are eating plenty of other foods with a better balance of omega 6 to 3 then you probably don’t need to worry about that small amount of oil you choose to use. 
I think if I had a history of poor heart health then I would work out whether I should be having any oil at all and I definitely wouldn’t even be doing shallow frying.

However for those that have good heart health and love a vegan burger now and then or like to fry their mushrooms in a bit of oil then why not . We need to also make our food taste good especially for people transiting off a meat diet so if they are used to having some fried food then fry some of their food, I say. You can also wean it out of your cooking as time goes by.  

If you want to go the no oil route then fry with a bit of water.

If you want to use the healthier of oils in terms of the omega 6 to 3 ratio and you can stretch your budget to using avocado oil for frying that really would be my first choice. For salads I would choose hemp oil (you can’t fry with it. It has a low smoke point).

For some further reading or a whole other take on the omega 6 to 3 ratio then here are a few articles you might like to peruse and add food or oil for thought.

Why The Omega 3 / Omega 6 ratio may not matter at all
Perfect Omega 6/3 ratio. Just a Myth.
Vegan Sources Omega 3
I just want to add a disclaimer here this blog is full of my thoughts on oil as I was asked to write about which oil to use. Nothing in here is to be taken as gospel. I hope you can decide for yourselves which oil is best for you as an individual or if you think you should eliminate it from your diet or not.
Today I share with you a delicious recipe that can either be fried up in a spot of avocado oil or organic unrefined sunflower oil or macadamia oil or almond oil or even olive oil (but I still prefer sunflower oil) or if you prefer no oil pop them in the oven and bake.

Silverbeet Fritters

400g silverbeet with a small amount of the stalk (or spinach)
1 potato boiled and mashed
¼ cup nutritional yeast
3 tbsp gluten free self raising flour
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp grated nutmeg
juice of half a lemon
2 tsp of cashew nut cheese (optional)

Wilt the silverbeet in a saucepan until well cooked then finely slice. Mix all the ingredients together and either place on a paper lined baking tray and cook in a 180 C oven for 20 to 30 minutes- turning half way through.

Or fry in a small amount of oil 3 or 4 minutes each side on a medium heat.

Don't Miss out!

I promise I wont harp on every week about the courses I run but I need to write about them again this week as they are booking really fast this year so I don’t want you missing out.

3 Day Vegan Cooking Course

January - full
March - only 4 places left
April - 6 places left
May - only 1 place left
Read more about the course.

The dates for the rest of the year are soon to be released and will go up on the website in the next week or so.

Vegan Chef & Lifestyle Training Program

The training now only has 3 places left with a possible one more and the second early bird discount price ends on the 31st of January. Don’t miss out on that one if you are thinking about doing the full training. The full training is for those who want to start a career in vegan food or for those who want to immerse themselves in six weeks of cooking for home use.
Read more about the course.

Have a fabulous week everyone and keep those requests of what you want me to write about coming in.  Thanks Amanda from Sweets and Greens for asking about oils.

With love Veet


Tags:oil silverbeet Spinach potato Gluten Free

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