Look, I am not going to state that I cook entirely without oil. I’m not there yet. I do eat a lot less oil that I did a few years ago, but I am not where I want to be. But still, I want to write this article today. Because I feel like I did learn a lot the past couple of years and this information may help others. I am going to tell you why I use very little oil while cooking and how I do this. So, here’s everything about cooking without oil.
How to cook without oil
Cooking without oil is a matter of experimenting. But there is one important swap you need: an oven or an airfryer. When you start cooking with less or no oil, you have two options: either just baking things in a pan without oil, or you bake the things you used to bake/fry in a pan, in an oven or airfyer now. I personally recommend the airfryer, I can’t live without that thing anymore. I believe the principle of an airfryer is basically the same as an oven, it’s just smaller and it makes the air circulate better. You can fry just about anything with it. One thing that I used to bake in a pan with oil, that I now make in the airfryer without oil is tofu. And trust me, it’s still crispy! All vegetables can go in there too, I often use it to make potatoes (yes, also without oil) and I love using it for meat-replacements too.
So, I recommend trying an oven or airfryer first. There’s a lot of things that can go in there, which you probably have never thought about. It’s an easy way of cooking too, you just put the food in there and simply wait. No need for constant turning or whatever. Anyway, the second option is just baking something in a pan without oil. This works better than you think too. All vegetables contain water, so when you bake them this water sort of functions as an oil instead. Especially mushrooms, onions, paprika and tomato are extra great for this, but all vegetables do well.
Why cook without oil?
The argument for cooking without or with very little oil is two sided to me. The first argument for this is for my health. I believe oils (olive oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil etc.) are processed foods and are therefore not that good for your health. They’re a source of saturated fat. And I want to prevent eating saturated fat as much as I can. I believe you don’t really need them to be in a good health. They’re not in the daily dozen by Dr. Greger, to name an example. I’d rather get the fats I do need from whole-foods plant-based sources, like avocado, nuts and seeds. And cooking with less oil means less calories altogether.
The second argument has to do with sustainability (surprise). Over the past years I’ve discovered that you often don’t need oil to make a lot of things. Using oil was just standard for me. I saw it on television, was taught to use it by everyone who taught me how to cook and I just thought it was an inevitable part of cooking. Well, I found out that it’s not. And then, it’s just not sustainable. If you use something you don’t really need, it’s a waste of resources. It’s a waste of labour, land-use and other resources. The less oil we need and use, the less we need to produce, the more sustainable it is.
Now, you may think: if you use less oil, but replace them with other fats instead, fats from avocados or nuts, is that really more sustainable? I don’t know. But I do know that fats from plant-based whole-foods are healthier than processed fats. So, I think that it’s more sustainable for us as humans because we live a healthier life and need less care. And also, I am advocating to eat less fats all together in this article. Because I was already consuming the good fats from avocados and nuts. Right now, I just lowering the bad fats from processed oils. So, all together my total consumption of fats goes down, I’m not switching one for the other. I’m just leaving out the bad oil.
Is cooking without oil possible?
I don’t think cooking 100% without oil is possible. You’ll always need some. In salads for example, or for other certain dishes. The point is not to be perfect. But the point is to be better. Less oil is better than using oil all the time. All the little changes help.
There you have it, my arguments and methods for cooking without oil. Do you cook without oil?