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Olive Oil Substitute

Olive Oil Substitute

Can any other edible oil fit the bill of a perfect olive oil substitute? Well, let's find out from the following article.
Ishani Chatterjee Shukla
Except the vine, there is no plant which bears a fruit of as great importance as the olive.
~ Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus)

Symbol of peace, prosperity and wholesomeness, all things associated with olives - be it the tree, branches, leaves or fruits (including the oil and liquor/juices extracted from it) - bear a rich cultural history which predates civilization. Indeed, not for nothing is this fruit held as a metaphor for overall well-being and prosperity. The oil that is extracted from this bitter-pungent fruit is a storehouse of health benefits. Besides being used as a medium for cooking and food dressing all across the Mediterranean regions, olive oil holds a high position among all beauty and health care bounties bestowed by Nature upon humanity. Now, knowing all the health benefits and the peculiar gustatory delights typical to olive oil, do you think it's possible for any other edible oil to come across as a near-perfect olive oil substitute? Well, the following segment gives out the brief details about a couple of other edible oils that can be considered as possible substitutes. Let's check these out.

What is the Best Substitute for Olive Oil?

It is difficult to find a perfect alternative for olive oil and I'll tell you why. You see, if you just leave out the health benefits (which may be shared by some other natural edible oils as well), the peculiar flavor that olive oil imparts to anything that is cooked in it or dressed with it is inimitable. Don't believe me? Well, try dressing that green salad with peanut oil or sunflower oil next time and see the difference! It just won't taste the same and you definitely won't love it if you've tasted the olive oil dressed version before! Therefore, as far as the flavor is concerned, there can be no substitute for olive oil. Period. Now, with reference to the health benefits, there do seem to be a few other edible oils that come close to the nutritional count of olive oil. Those are as follows:-
  • Peanut Oil: Equaling olive oil in its fat content, peanut oil is a healthy alternative cooking medium to olive oil as it has a high smoke point which is close to that of olive oil. Also, peanut oil contains zero cholesterol, making it a heart healthy alternative to olive oil. Peanut oil has some microbicidal properties which makes it effective against skin conditions such as acne and blackheads. Its anti-inflammatory properties impart relief to arthritis patients when massaged over the affected joints.
  • Canola Oil: Being low in saturated fats and having a high monounsaturated fat content, canola oil is considered by many to be a healthy alternative to olive oil. It also has a high percentage of Omega 3 fatty acids which makes it a healthy cooking medium.
  • Sunflower Oil: Sunflower oil is a heart-friendly cooking medium which boasts of high Vitamin E and low saturated fat contents. Besides being a near-perfect olive oil substitute as an edible oil, sunflower oil is also good for the skin and its topical application is effective in soothing dry skin problems and is an ideal massage oil for infants as its antiseptic properties protect their tender skins from various external infections.
As far as we can see, sunflower oil is, by far, the closest substitute to olive oil as it contains most of the nutritional and other health benefits of the former but has a neutral taste which does not much alter the taste of any food cooked in it or any salad dressed with it. Peanut oil, on the other hand, may be nutritionally close to olive oil but it has a strong flavor that closely resembles the flavor of the source legume. This flavor may significantly influence and alter the taste of the final dish which may not be agreeable to all palates. Therefore, the final verdict goes in favor of sunflower oil!