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oil-free

Lifestyle

WFPB Cooking in an Oil-Free Kitchen

We’ve mentioned a few times in previous posts to leave out the oil that many recipes call for. That’s because we follow a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle (WFPB, for short), which means we do not consume any overly processed foods. The food we eat is as close to its natural state as possible.

There are many reasons not to consume oil. If you want to find out more, here are just a few links explaining why we don’t eat oil: one of Michael Greger’s many videos on oils, John McDougall’s articles on extracted oilsone of Engine2’s discussions on oil, and lastly an article from UC Davis Integrative Medicine.

Simmering Tempeh Triangles

Tempeh simmering on the stovetop in a mixture of soy sauce, veggie broth, and sriracha sauce. No oil needed!

When we first decided to switch to a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle, we weren’t quite sure how we were going to cook without oil. We worried about taste, texture, and everything sticking to the pan. After giving it a try, we realized how easy it was and even found that leaving it out actually improved the flavor of our meals! Suddenly sautéd vegetables tasted like vegetables rather than vegetable-flavored oil.

Now that we have been cooking without oil for a while, we have established a few methods that work really well. The next time you find yourself reaching for your bottle of extra virgin olive oil, consider tossing it out and trying one of these tips instead!

Oil-Free Cooking Tips

  • Bake instead of fry: We still love eating things like (plant-based) burgers and fries. Not to mention things like latkes, falafel, and crispy tofu. But we never fry these. Instead we bake them on parchment paper or silicone baking sheets. They are just as flavorful out of the oven as they are fried on the stovetop.
  • Try a dry sauté, water, or veggie broth: If you are cooking veggies on the stovetop, they emit so much water content that some don’t need any added liquid. Onions and mushrooms, for example, release so much water that you can deglaze without adding anything. If you need to, though, water or veggie broth are good to use.
  • There are lots of oil-free recipe resources! Forks Over Knives, The Engine 2 Diet, and T. Colin Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies are just a few of the sites we visit for completely oil-free recipes. The China Study Cookbook and PlantPure Nation Cookbook are only a couple of the many oil-free cookbooks available.
  • You don’t need oil to make healthy, delicious salad dressings. We use things like mustard, tahini, or avocado as the base of our dressings and add vinegar and spices to finish it off. Do a Google search for oil-free dressings and you’ll see that the possibilities are endless!
  • There are always substitutions. This is especially important when it comes to following recipes for baked goods.  The oil is usually added as a binder or to keep the finished product moist. The same effect can be achieved by adding applesauce, ripened bananas, or a flax “egg” to the recipe. Follow this link for a definitive list of oil substitutions.

Until you’ve tasted food without oil, you just don’t know what you’re missing. There is so much flavor under the oil that you can’t appreciate until you leave it out. We tried it once and have been hooked ever since. Save the oil for your car!

Pretty Quick Plant-Based Recipe Pick, Recipes

Our Plant-Based Play on a Classic French Salad

Salade Nicoise

Oui, s’il vous plaît!

Summer weather means spending time outdoors, not in the kitchen.  When we’re planning our meals on warmer days, we look for recipes that require little use of the oven and have a quick prep time.  Salads are the perfect solution.

One of our favorite recipes to make this time of year is our plant-based Salade Niçoise.  We have adapted this recipe from the classic French version; ours does not include the fish or egg, but it still has all the flavor!  There is very little cooking required– you just need to steam some vegetables for a few minutes and let them cool (or prep them ahead of time).  For this recipe, you will need:

  • Mix of spring greens
  • Cucumber
  • Steamed green beans (or haricots verts, if you wanna be fancy)
  • Steamed white potatoes (red or yellow varieties with thin skins taste best in this dish)
  • Kalamata olives (black are good, too)
  • One can of cannellini beans
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Additionally, you can add a few special ingredients like radishes, hearts of palm, shredded carrots or artichoke hearts

We don’t follow a hard and fast recipe for this dish- we just make enough to feed the two of us.  To dress this salad, we whip up a super simple oil-free dressing consisting of grainy Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, a few cloves of chopped garlic, and some salt and pepper.  We haven’t bought salad dressing in years and prefer to make our own.  This link will provide you with a few more oil-free examples that are easy to make on the fly!

This really is a tried and true recipe for us, as we will often make it once a week during the summertime.  We used to eat this dish when we still ate meat and when we switched to a plant-based diet, we knew we wanted to keep this one in our repertoire.  The next time you’re feeling like dishing up some French cuisine, try it sans poisson!