Know your cooking oils: 7 oils for 7 dishes


Olive oil poured in pan

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Sometimes we get so wrapped up in getting all our ingredients together for a savory dish or refreshing salad that we take cooking oil for granted. Although this is by no means an exhaustive list — and feel free to add your favorites in the comments — we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites and the dishes that best work with them.


1. Olive oil

Olive oil poured in pan

We don’t mean extra virgin. Stick with regular stuff for cooking. Use 1 tablespoon of regular olive oil when preparing this savory Brussels sprouts hash.


2. Extra virgin olive oil

Woman pouring extra virgin olive oil on salad

It’s best to break out the extra virgin olive oil for salads. If you’re one of those people who prefer to eat salads in summertime because it’s just too hot for anything else, then head to the grocery store for a bottle of the good stuff.


3. Walnut oil

Plate of green salad with walnut oil, croutons, celery and radishes

While we’re on the topic of salads and healthy dressings, let’s talk walnuts. If you want something on the nutty side rather than plain extra virgin — and you’re fortunate enough to not have a nut allergy — check out this recipe for green salad with walnut oil, celery and radishes.


4. Coconut oil

Halved coconut and bottle of coconut oil

Walnuts not your thing? Try some coconut oil. We tried it with this recipe for Brussels sprouts pasta surprise — yes, we love our sprouts nearly as much as we love our avocados — in lieu of the olive oil and unsalted butter and the results were quite tasty indeed. The dish had a subtle hint of coconut that was quite pleasant.


5. Flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil drizzled on a slice of white bread

As is the case with extra virgin olive oil, you should not cook with flaxseed oil. You can, however, add some to smoothies, use as a salad dressing (again, in lieu of extra virgin olive oil) or use it to dip your bread (in lieu of slathering it in butter).


6. Sesame oil

Scallops covered in sesame seeds

This is the oil you break out when preparing Asian or Asian-inspired dishes, such as this delectable recipe for scallop kebabs with citrus and ginger.


7. Canola oil

Jar of canola oil and yellow flowers

Poor canola oil. For many years now — and still — an email has been circulating warning people that consuming canola oil is dangerous. Snopes explains succinctly and clearly why that email, if you’ve seen it, is total bunk. So go ahead and use canola oil for cooking up this vegetarian cottage pie. And if you’re still nervous, use regular vegetable or corn oil instead. But seriously, there’s nothing to fear.