A Guide to Cooking with Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is a type of oil commonly used in kitchens around the world. It is also one of the most accessible types of cooking oil. There are a few different types of sunflower oil on the market and all of them have some amazing properties. That being said, here some tips on how to cook with sunflower oil as well as some amazing recipes to try out.
Sunflower oil – a brief history
Sunflower oil originated from North America. In the late ‘70s, sunflower oil became widely used throughout America due to the fact that it was a far healthier alternative than anything that was commonly used in cooking back then. By the nineteenth century, sunflower oil made its way to Europe and Russia as well. Sunflower oil replaced lard and butter in many Orthodox countries, especially during Lent, as it provided people with a great Lent-friendly cooking alternative. Nowadays, Russia is the leading producer of sunflower oil.
Health benefits of sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats that contain the essential fatty acids. High oleic acid content is also something that puts sunflower oil in front of other oil alternatives. High oleic sunflower oil (HOSO for short) is also low in linoleic acid. This type of oil has shown to have a positive impact on cholesterol levels. Moreover, sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E, which is key to our health. Since sunflower oil has such a positive effect on cholesterol, it also has some positive effects on heart health. Additionally, sunflower oil is one of the best alternatives for people suffering from type 2 diabetes as well as those struggling with metabolic syndrome. Regular intake of HOSO displayed positive results when it comes to regulating body weight and fat accumulation.
How is sunflower oil used in the kitchen
When talking about the practical use of sunflower oil, it can be used in a variety of ways. The texture and the thermophysical properties of sunflower oil make it an excellent choice for baking, frying, searing, sauteing, and more. It’s also important to note that refined sunflower oil is best used in preparing food that will undergo some sort of thermal treatment while unrefined sunflower oil can be used fresh, for salad dressings and other similar uses. That being said, here are some amazing recipes that involve the use of sunflower oil you should definitely try out.
Since oil and water don’t mix well, sunflower oil is a great option for baking. Especially if we’re talking about coating the baking trays. However, it can also be used as an ingredient in baked goods, both sweet and savory. Due to its neutral taste, some people actually prefer sunflower oil to olive or coconut oil as it has very similar health benefits, without the strong variety in taste.
Sunflower oil cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of sugar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch of baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- Salt to taste
Mix in the flour with the salt and set aside. Beat the eggs with sugar until fluffy. Add baking soda and baking powder and beat well until all the ingredients are well combined. To the mix, add sunflower oil and vanilla and beat again until combined. Finally, add the flour-salt mix little by little and mix beat well until everything is well combined. Pour the mixture into a pan and bake at low heat. Leave to cool off before serving.
As mentioned earlier, sunflower oil can be used in cooking as well. Check out this delicious recipe.
Butternut squash soup
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot heat up sunflower oil on medium heat and add onion and garlic. Cook until softened – about 5 minutes. Add butternut squash and chicken broth and bring to boil. Then, cover the pot and let simmer for about 20 minutes. When the squash is softened, carefully pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve hot with some fresh thyme sprinkled on top.
Thanks to excellent thermophysical properties, sunflower oil is a great option if you’re looking for frying oil. Check out this simple recipe.
Fried chicken breast
- 1 average chicken breast
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of flour
- 4 cups of sunflower oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Filet the chicken breast. Season it with salt and pepper and leave it to rest for about half an hour. Beat the eggs until smooth. Drench chicken breast in eggs, then cover the piece with flour. Heat up the sunflower oil on medium heat and fry the chicken breast until golden. Serve with any type of side dish or a simple salad.
Fresh sunflower oil
As mentioned earlier, unrefined sunflower oil can be used as a replacement for extra virgin olive oil. Great for any type of salad or dip, the unrefined sunflower oil can be used fresh.
Easy Greek salad
- 6 tablespoons unrefined sunflower oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp fresh chopped garlic
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried dill
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large tomatoes, seeded, coarsely chopped
- ¾ cucumber, peeled, coarsely chopped
- ½ red onion, peeled, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, seeded, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
- ½ crumbled feta cheese
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and leave in a refrigerator for about half an hour to cool. Enjoy with some garlic bread or serve as a side dish.
With such a wide variety of uses and such a high content of healthy compounds, it becomes quite clear why sunflower oil is such a popular choice in kitchens around the world. So, if you’re looking for a good oil alternative you can incorporate in all of your favorite meals, make sure you check out sunflower oil. And if you’re not sure what to prepare for tomorrow’s lunch, give some of these recipes a try.