A strict whole-food, plant-based diet doesn’t contain any added oil because oil is considered a fragment of the whole food it is derived from. Are you reducing or eliminating it from your diet? Kudos to you! Here are tips for cooking without oil – using oil-free sautéing and roasting methods. You can adapt recipes by following these easy techniques. But before we get into the how, let’s take a look at why it may be prudent to reduce or eliminate oils from our diets.
Benefits of Reducing or Eliminating Oil
- Helps reduce overall caloric intake
- Heart healthy; ingesting oils may have a detrimental effect on the endothelium – the thin lining of the heart and blood vessels
- Eliminates worry of rancid or overheated fats (further explained in my post entitled Cooking Oils – the Best and the Worst )
As even extra-virgin olive oil may impair our arteries’ ability to relax and dilate normally, its use should be curtailedDr. Michael Greger
I must admit that I was resistant to learning how to cook without oil. But once I tried it, I realized how easy it is and how delicious the results are. I personally do still use olive, avocado, or sesame oil at times when I am cooking or dressing salads and the like. But now I also incorporate these oil-free methods – and in the future I may ditch it completely. When I do choose to use oil, I measure by the teaspoon or tablespoon, or use a light drizzle. Gone are the days of pouring it on blindly without realizing how much I’m using.
How to Broth–Sauté
Warm up 1/4 cup of vegetable broth (or water) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetable(s) and stir often. Add more broth 1 or 2 Tablespoons at a time, as needed, to keep the contents from sticking to the pan. Cook in this way until the vegetables are tender (onions cooked in this way will soften and turn translucent). It’s helpful to use a large pan, such as a 12-inch skillet, so the veggies can be spaced apart. Being spaced apart encourages the vegetables to cook without steaming or boiling. This method can be successfully used with a ceramic nonstick, stainless steel, or cast iron skillet.
Broth Sautéing Onions, Mushrooms, and Peppers
In the video below I show how to broth saute these veggies. It took 14 minutes for them to cook in total; the video is sped up so it takes less than 2 minutes to view. In case you’re wondering, I used white beech (Bunapi) mushrooms by Hotko Kinoko. For seasonings I used a bit of Himalayan sea salt, dried oregano and basil, and my Sage & Rosemary blend.
It’s not necessary to use oil when roasting vegetables; they will still brown, although it may take a bit longer. Even garlic will roast perfectly fine without oil. Line your baking pan with parchment paper so the veggies don’t stick. For best results, space out the veggies so they roast instead of steam. And don’t forget to season with lemon juice, herbs, and spices for added flavor and nutrients when cooking without oil.