One of the mainstays of the Mediterranean & Middle Eastern diet is olive oil. It can be found in many of the sauces and is the main oil added to foods. Besides its unique taste, extra virgin olive oil has a high smoke point. That means it will take longer to burn at higher temperatures. This will keep food and the oil itself from losing some of its nutrients.
Olive oil also provides monounsaturated fat, which lowers cholesterol. All this means that it is very healthy and you should consider adding a little more olive oil to your diet, here’s how.
Swap olive oil for butter
Examine your recipes and you will find you can swap butter for olive in a lot of them. Olive oil can work just as well or even better in meats, vegetable dishes and pasta. Chefs just advice that you taste the oil before you cook to get an idea of how it will affect your dish. (Olive oil from different areas has different flavors)
This swap doesn’t just have to be in cooking, use olive oil on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise. Or eat your baguette starter with olive oil. Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, thyme sprigs, crushed pepper corns and crushed garlic are all you need to make a nice dip.
In case you need more convincing; eating bread with olive oil slows down the absorption of bread, preventing a surge in blood sugar which would result in a quick spike in energy and just as fast, a drop which would lead you to eat more.
Use it in a salad
Instead of using a high fat, highly processed salad dressing, you can make your own home made vinaigrette. All you need is olive oil, vinegar and a few spices if you like. Mix the two together and drizzle it over your salad.
You can also use olive oil on its own. That slight nutty flavor in extra virgin olive oil can enhance the taste of a tomato and cucumber salad, for instance. After combining all the ingredients, toss the salad with olive oil and enjoy. Perhaps the Greek salad would not be so popular if it didn’t have olive oil to tie everything together. Don’t be shy to use olive oil on a mixed fruit salad either. Most importantly always add it to Middle Eastern dips like Hummus and Baba Ganoush
Use it to preserve food
“Sott’olio” is Italian for under the oil, a way to keep vegetables for weeks, months and even years. You can get a bit more olive oil in your diet by preserving anything from tomatoes and onions to chilies, eggplants and mushrooms.
Before you think that the process is tedious, it only takes 2 steps. Step 1 boil the vegetables in white wine vinegar and let cool. Mix with salt and garlic (if you wish). Step 2. Put in a jar and cover completely with olive oil and seal tightly. That’s it.
Whether you want to grab a snack right now, prepare a gourmet dish or eat your vegetables months in advance, there’s always an easy way to incorporate healthy olive in your diet.