Vegan Kitchen Basics #1: Oils


Vegan Kitchen basics #1: oils. Vegetable oil, olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil.

When you think of the the most basic item you use in the kitchen oils are pretty high up, but what oil or oils do you use? Do you stick to just using one, or do you use a variety depending on what you’re making?


I’ve been wanting to start a new food series on my blog for some time. Ever since I put a pause on The Brunch Edit series I’ve been wanting to start another, and believe you me, it’s taken a while for me to suss out what I would want, and could, do. Instead of doing a specifically recipe based series, I wanted this one to be a bit more educational, something that everyone – whether you are a novice in the kitchen, or someone who wants to learn more – can take something away from it.


My kitchen vegan basics series is for those of you who maybe don’t enjoy cooking, those of you who want to learn more to expand your culinary skills, or if could be for those of you who just don’t know where to begin. The ‘basic series’ will give you insight into what you need to stock in your kitchen cupboards (or pantry if you’re lucky enough to have one) to make being / trying to be vegan easier. Some of the posts in this series might be obvious to some of you, but maybe not to others, which is why I wanted to create this series as an overview.


Let’s dive straight in.


My go to oils:
Olive Oil

Your most basic oil, and one you probably have in your kitchen. From my basic understanding, olive oils are distinguished by the way they are processed. Now, I’m not going to go into the whole process behind the making of olive oil because A) this post will be loooooong, and B) it might bore you – and me for writing it. But in short olive oil is probably the most used, wellknown and all-purpose oil when cooking.


Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What makes extra virign olive oil so special? This type of olive oil is made from pure cold pressed olives and is unrefined. Which means that it is of a higher quality than regular olive oil and usually comes with higher price point. Another big difference between extra virign olive oil and normal olive oil is that extra virgin olive oil retains a light olive flavour.

However, it is not the best to use when cooking due to its lower smoke point – which basically means it burns at a lower temperature, therefore making it not ideal to cook with. Nevertheless, this oil is a great staple if you like to add an oil to a salad, dressings, dips, use it for dipping bread, etc. 


Vegetable Oil

I’ve read and heard contradictory reports involving vegetable oil. Some people say it’s a good oil, and others say it’s bad for your health and environment. In all honesty I don’t know which to believe, and I admit I need to do a lot more research into this. The one thing I do know is that vegetable oil is usually a combination of oils, unlike olive oil for example which is made from olives, coconut oil = coconuts, and so forth.

In my opinion, if in doubt stick to olive oil.


Coconut Oil

Remember when coconut oil became the trendiest item in your kitchen? 

Some people use it as part of their skincare routine, I prefer to use it soley for cooking. In recent years the hype over coconut oil has turned. It was once considered to be the holy grail of oils, whereas now a lot of health focused people have said that using a lot (and I mean A LOT) of coconut oil can be bad for you. 

I’m not suggesting that using it every so often in cooking means it’s bad, but rather that if you bathe, cooking everything and eat a lot of coconut oil  then it would be bad for you – just as the over use/indulgance of anything can potentially be bad for you. 

I personally don’t get a coconutty flavour from any coconut oil I have used, so if you’re not a coconut fan I don’t think you need to worry about that.


Sesame Oil

The aromatic toasted sesame seed flavour of this oil is fantastic to use when you’re cooking a stir fry, or any Asian cuisine. Although it is flavoursome, it is not too over powering, and adds a little extra something something to your dish.


Other Oils

Avocado Oil

Some people say it’s healthier than coconut oil, but I’m not an expert so I cannot say whether this is true or not. What is known, is that avocado oil has healthier fats in it – yes you read that correctly ‘healhtier fats’ is a thing. 

I haven’t tried this yet, but I think I might after using up my coconut oil.


Walnut Oil

I recently saw this oil in my local supermarket and had no idea it was a thing. I do not have any opinions on this oil myself, but I am quite intrigued by it.

Upon doing some research one thing is certain, that this oil has a rich nutty flavour and probably very good as part of a dressing or to help flavour your dish.



There are probably other obscure oils that I haven’t mentioned, but in all fairness, you don’t need every oil that your local supermarket carries. 2-3 is enough variety if your someone who cooks quite a bit, or are looking to get into cooking a lot more. 


If you have any suggestions of what you’d like from my Vegan Kitchen Basics series please let me know by leaving a comment, or contacting me on social media (links are on the right side bar).


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