Not to cause a panic but did you know that we are in the midst of an olive oil shortage of epic proportions? Due to drought, disease and fruit flies (of all things), nearly half the world’s olive oil crop for this year has been ruined. And while that might not seem like the biggest deal - you’ll still be able to get it at the grocery store - prices are sure to skyrocket and availability for the good stuff might be a little limited.
But luckily for you, there are some alternative oils out there that can replace the EVO. Just keep in mind that some are cooking oils, some are better raw, so you’ll want to consider smoking point (the temperature at which oil begins to smoke, determines how good it is for high heat cooking) and taste (either neutral or flavored) before making any decisions.
Canola Oil - made from rapeseed, this neutral oil should be used in moderation - due to high levels of trans fats - but is great for salad dressings and desserts. It has a moderate smoke point, so don’t use canola for any heavy duty frying
Vegetable Oil - similar to Canola, vegetable oil is a neutral oil that is made from pressed plants - good luck trying to determine what ones on the label - and is generally used in salad dressings, desserts or any is a jack of all trades oil; vegetable shortening, like Crisco, is a close cousin to vegetable oil
Peanut Oil - made from peanuts, peanut oil is a neutral tasting oil that is best used for frying due to its high smoke point
Grape seed Oil - extracted from the seeds of grapes (the same ones used to make wine), grape seed oil has a neutral flavor and a moderately high smoke point; it can be used for salad dressings, stir-frying or baking
Sunflower Oil - while neutral in flavor, you probably wouldn’t use sunflower oil for anything outside of frying - it’s got a really high smoke point.
Coconut Oil - made from coconuts (duh), coconut oil has a very low smoke point and is also slightly flavored; use it as a seasoning oil over grains and vegetables or in lite sautéing and baking.
Sesame Oil - made from seeds of the sesame plant, there are two different types of sesame oil: refined (which can be used for frying) and toasted (which is used more as a seasoning / flavoring) in Asian dishes
Corn Oil - similar to vegetable oil, corn oil has a high smoke point and can be used for frying; it has a slight taste, so it works well with stronger flavors if used raw
1. Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Who said that brownies had to be completely unhealthy? Made with soymilk, cocoa, sugar and canola, these brownies are about as healthy as you’ll get… for brownies at least. Get our Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes recipe.
2. Five Spice Roasted Chicken
This whole roasted chicken gets its Asian flavors from five-spice powder, peanut oil, garlic, tamari and fish sauce. As the peanut oil heats up in the oven, you’ll get a nice, crispy skin. Get our Five Spice Roasted Chicken recipe.
3. Corn with Roasted Garlic Aioli, Lime and Smoked Paprika
Homemade aioli might seem like a pain but it doesn’t have to be if you follow our recipe - feel free to swap out the ½ cup of olive oil for a full cup of grape seed. Gotta conserve, right? Get our Corn with Roasted Garlic Aioli, Lime and Smoked Paprika recipe.
4. Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream
Adapted from a recipe from Karina’s Kitchen, this coconut ice cream is a little hard to make but definitely worth the effort. It’s beaming with coconut flavor thanks to coconut milk and coconut oil. Get our Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream recipe.
5. Black Sesame and Mustard Popcorn
So simple, you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before Our black sesame and mustard popcorn is seasoned with Coleman’s mustard, salt, pepper, sesame oil and topped with black sesame seeds. Get our Black Sesame and Mustard Popcorn recipe.
What’s your favorite non-olive cooking oil? Tell us in the comments or join the conversation here.
Header image: Olive oil on grocery shelves from Words of Wisdom
Dan McKay is a Canadian actor, film director, screenwriter, and musician—oh wait, that's Ryan Gosling. Dan is a Philly-based freelance writer, photographer, and digital marketer. He has written for Eater and Thrillist, in addition to other publications. Outside of work, you might run across him in the Asian market or in one of Philly’s local drinking establishments.