Nutty oils can make a great addition to your pantry. Mostly used as a finishing touch, as a dressing or drizzled over a dish, oils from nuts are refined, delicate and can take a simple salad dressing to another level. They are also fabulous in deserts, either as a substitute to butter or used to lightly grease a baking dish and delicately infuse a cake or a fruity dessert with a warm nutty flavor. If you’re into your oils, you’ll go nuts for these.

Hazelnut oil

Description: Extracted from roasted hazelnuts, this oil has a fairly strong flavor and is best used in small quantities. It is often used in baking, salad dressings, and skin care products.

In the kitchen: In baking, hazelnut oil will impart the rich creamy flavor that this nut is so distinctive for, however it is best to combine it with a light oil, like canola or grapeseed so as not to overpower the dish. It is delicious in salad dressings and again, a single tablespoon of oil will give plenty of flavor while saving on calories. And finally, nothing goes better together than hazelnut and chocolate (think of Nutella) so it works especially well when baking chocolate cakes or brownies: a match made in heaven.

Health: Hazelnut oil does not contain cholesterol but is fairly high in calories. While it contains saturated fat, the combination with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated is believed to have some health benefits. Hazelnut oil is especially popular in skin care products as an essential oil.

Walnut oil

Description: Walnut oil is extracted from roasted walnuts. Mostly from France, there are a few producers in Australia and California as well. It is a delicate and subtle oil which is best used cold in a salad dressing, as a finishing touch or in a fresh pasta sauce. Heating this oil will damage it and lose its delicate flavor.

In the kitchen: Walnut oil is particularly good in salad dressings, with sherry and a bit of blue cheese, drizzled over fish or in a fresh pasta sauce. It can also be used as a dip with good bread or as a drizzle over a soup. In sweets, it works well to grease a baking dish or mould which will add a delicate nutty flavor to a dessert. The flavor of walnut oil also goes well with pears or peaches and can be brushed onto the fruit before roasting.

Health: There are many health benefits associated with walnut oil, from improving blood circulation to maintaining hormone levels and improving the skin. It is a great source of Omega-3 and is 50% linoleic acid, an essential omega-6 fatty acid.

Almond oil

Description: The almond nuts are ground and roasted before this delicate oil is extracted by a hydraulic press. With a mild nutty flavor, the oil is light and fresh, adding a delicate touch of almond to your dish.

In the kitchen: Choose refined almond oil for baked and fried dishes while, cold pressed is best for cold applications, in salad dressings or as a drizzle. Cold pressed almond oil is very nutty and will impart its flavor on the dish. Try drizzling it over a salad with slivered almonds or almond crusted fish. In baked goods, butter can be partly substituted with almond oil and moulds can be lightly coated to add just a nice touch of flavor.

Health: Almond oil is rich in vitamin E and a good source of magnesium. It contains high levels of monounsaturated fat (63%), fairly high levels of polyunsaturated fat (29%) and only 9% of saturated fat. The oil has long been used in cosmetics, as an emollient and has traditionally been used as a massage oil to lubricate the skin.

Pistachio oil

Description: Green in color, a clean and light oil with a lasting toasted aroma.

In the kitchen: Pistachio oil has a strong flavor and does not go with everything, however it does work well in a variety of sweet and salty dishes. Combined with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, it is delicious as a simple green salad dressing on bitter leaves like endive, romaine or baby spinach leaves. It works nicely on avocados, beets or apples and pears, and drizzled over hot or cold fish.

Health: Pistachio oil is high in unsaturated fatty acids, as well as being a source of vitamin E and Omega-3. It is also widely used in skincare for the vitamins it contains which nourish, soften and hydrate the skin.

Macadamia nut oil

Description: This oil is cold pressed from the macadamia nut and produces a light oil of the highest quality, equivalent to the finest extra virgin olive oil. This oil is light, nutty and buttery in flavor. The macadamia tree is native to Eastern Australia which is the world’s largest producer.

Uses: Great for baking and roasting vegetables, seafood and meat, or can be used cold, in sauces and salad dressings.

Health: Macadamia contains the greatest amount of monounsaturated fat of any known seed and does not contain any saturated fats, making it one of the healthiest seeds out there. Macadamia oil is commonly used in skincare.

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