Is Canola oil healthy for you? 10 facts and 7 recipes you might be interested in

If you are a health conscious foodie, eager to experiment with food, you might want to try this relatively new entrant in 'healthy oil' market - Canola oil.

Written by Parmita Uniyal | Updated: July 16, 2015 4:55 pm
canola-oil-main Canola oil (Source: Thinkstock Images)

If you are a health conscious foodie, eager to experiment with food, you might want to try this relatively new entrant in ‘healthy oil’ market – Canola oil.

It has a very low saturated oil (7%), even lesser than olive oil (15%), which helps in lowering your cholesterol levels, thus reducing risk of cardiac troubles. It is quite versatile in the sense it has a neutral flavour and goes well with most of the cuisines, according to Bruce Jowett, Vice President, Market Development, Canola Council of Canada.

No wonder, chefs are increasingly falling in love with this Canada born oil, derived from crushed rapeseeds. “Canola oil lets the spices be the hero of the dishes due to its neutral taste and light texture.” says Chef Surjan Singh Jolly (Director, Food and Beverages), JW Marriott, Bengaluru.

Here’re ten facts about the oil you would like to know:

1. The history of canola oil is not that old. It was developed by Canadian plant breeders in 1970’s.

2. The canola oilseeds was prepared by removing the anti-nutrients from rapeseed.

3. Canola oil has the least saturated fat (7%) – less than a third that of rice bran oil (25%) and nearly half that of sunflower (12%), olive (15%), soybean (15%) and groundnut (19%) oils – and the most plant-based omega-3 fat of all common cooking oils. It helps in lowering cholesterol levels, and could be beneficial for heart patients.

canola-oil-2

4. Canola oil has a neutral flavour, light texture and high heat tolerance, making it ideal for just about every culinary application and cuisine, including Indian.

5. Canola oil is high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which means the consumption of oil helps in reduction of bad cholesterol (LDL), increases good cholesterol (HDL), may improve glycemic control in diabetics.

6. It is high in essential fats- Oleic acid, Linoleic Acid and Alpha-linolenic Acid. It doesn’t have any trans fats and is low in Erucic acid & Eicosenoic acid.

7. Canola oil has also got a GRAS (Generally recognised as safe) status in USA.

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8. Canola oil has Alpha-Linolenic Acid and Linoleic Acid- an essential fat which helps in reduction of triglycerides and blood pressure.

9. Canola oil is also free of trans fat and like all vegetables oils, has zero cholesterol.

10. Canola oil is a good source of vitamins E and K

(With inputs from Ishi Khosla, Clinical Nutritionist & Founder, http://www.theweightmonitor.com, Founder- Whole Foods India & Founder President- Celiac Society of India)

CANOLA OIL RECIPES

1. Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad

Grilled_Corn_and_Tomato_Sal Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad

Ingredients
Vinaigrette
1/2 tsp ground cumin 2 mL
1/2 tsp ground coriander 2 mL
1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil 20 mL
2 Tbsp lime juice 30 mL
1 tsp lime zest 5 mL
1 garlic clove, minced
Salad
2 ears corn on the cob, shucked and grilled
2 cups cherry tomatoes cut in half 500 mL
1/8 red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup Kalamata olives whole and pitted 75 mL
1 head leaf lettuce, shredded
3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

Instructions
In a small bowl, whisk together cumin, coriander, canola oil, lime juice, zest and garlic. Set aside. In large bowl, gently combine corn, tomatoes, onion, olives and vinaigrette. Divide lettuce among four plates, top with salad and garnish with egg.

2. High Roasted Onions

Ingredients
2 medium onions, peeled, trimmed, and halved crosswise
12 whole cloves
1 Tbsp light soy sauce 15 mL
1 Tbsp canola oil 15 mL
1 Tbsp molasses 15 mL
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar 7 mL
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 1 mL
1/2 tsp granulated sugar 2 mL
1/8 tsp salt .5 mL

highroastedonions High Roasted Onions

Instructions
Preheat oven to 450 °F (230 °C). Coat a foil-lined baking sheet with canola cooking spray. Arrange the onion halves on the baking sheet and pierce evenly with the cloves.

Combine the soy sauce, canola oil, molasses, vinegar and black pepper in a small jar, secure with lid and shake vigorously until completely blended. Brush 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the soy mixture evenly over the onions. Bake 25 minutes, brush 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the soy mixture evenly over the onions, bake 5-10 minutes or until richly browned on edges and onions are tender.

Remove from oven and using a flat spatula, remove the onions and place on serving platter, spoon remaining soy mixture evenly over the onions and sprinkle with the sugar and salt.

Main course: Main course has become too mainstream. Check out these interesting recipes to shake away the monotony on your plate and try on some ‘desi yet delectable’ preparations to relish and replenish.

3. Basmati Rice with Saffron and Whole Spices

Basmati_Rice_with_Saffron_and_Whole_Spice Basmati Rice with Saffron and Whole Spices

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked white basmati rice 250 mL
1/4 cup canola oil 60 mL
1 tsp cumin seeds 5 mL
5 green or white cardamom pods
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
2 (each 3 inches long) cinnamon sticks
1 small red onion, cut in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp saffron threads 2 mL
1 1/2 cups cold tap water 375 mL
1 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt 5 mL

Instructions
Place the rice in medium-sized bowl. Fill bowl halfway with tap water to cover rice. Gently rub slender grains through fingers without breaking them to wash off any dust or light foreign objects (like loose husks) that will float to the surface. Drain water. Repeat 3 to 4 times until the water, after rinsing, is relatively clear; drain. Now fill bowl halfway with cold water and let sit at room temperature, to soften kernels, 20 to 30 minutes; drain.

In medium saucepan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in cumin, cardamom, bay leaves, and cinnamon. Allow them to sizzle, swell up (especially the cardamom pods), and smell aromatic, 15 to 30 seconds. Immediately add onion and stir-fry until slices are light brown around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in saffron. The heat from the ingredients in the pan allows the world’s most expensive spice to unleash gently its full-perfumed potential. Add drained rice and coat grains with orange-tinted onion by tossing gently together. Pour in water and add salt. Stir rice once to incorporate ingredients. Allow water to boil over the same medium-high heat. Once water has evaporated from the surface and craters start to appear in orange red-hued yellow rice, only then stir once to bring partially cooked layer from bottom of pan to surface. Place tight-fitting lid and lower heat to lowest possible setting. Let steam build up and continue to cook kernels 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let pan stand on burner undisturbed for additional 10 minutes.

Remove lid and fluff rice with fork to let steam escape.

4. Oven-Roasted Falafel

Oven_Roasted_Falafel Oven-Roasted Falafel

Ingredients
1 (19-oz/540 mL) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley 30 mL
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro 30 mL
1 tsp ground cumin 5 mL
1/4 tsp salt 1 mL
pinch dried chili flakes
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (plus extra, if needed) 60 mL
1 tsp baking powder 5 mL
canola oil for cooking
fresh pitas, tzatziki, chopped cucumber, tomatoes and red onion accompaniments

Instructions
Preheat oven to 425  degree F (220 degree C).
Place chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, salt, and chili flakes in bowl of food processor and pulse until combined but still chunky. Add flour and baking powder and pulse until it turns into soft mixture that you can roll into balls without sticking to your hands. (Add another spoonful of flour if it seems too sticky.) Roll dough into meatball-sized balls and gently flatten each into little patty.

Place patties on heavy-rimmed baking sheet, preferably one that’s dark in color. Brush each patty with canola oil, flip them over and brush other side. Roast for 15 minutes, then flip them over and roast for another 10 minutes, until crisp and golden on both sides. Serve warm, wrapped in pitas, with tzatziki, chopped cucumber, tomatoes and red onion.

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5. Powerhouse Green Smoothie

Powerhouse Green Smoothie Powerhouse Green Smoothie

Ingredients
3/4 cup seedless green grapes 175 mL
1/2 cup ripe banana slices 125 mL
1/4 cup chopped kale 60 mL
2/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt 150 mL
1 1/2 tsp canola oil 7 mL
1/2 cup ice cubes 125 mL

Instructions
In blender, combine all ingredients. Blend for about 30 seconds to 1 minute or until desired smoothness is achieved.

Crispy Chickpeas and Pumpkin Seeds with Lime

Crispy_Chickpeas_and_Pumpkins_Seedss_with_Lime Crispy Chickpeas and Pumpkin Seeds with Lime

Ingredients
2 cans (16 oz/455 mL) chickpeas, rinsed and well drained
2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL
2 tsp smoked paprika 10 mL
1 tsp cumin 5 mL
1 tsp garlic powder 5 mL
1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds 125 mL
1/2 tsp salt 5 mL
grated zest from 1 medium lime

Instructions
Preheat oven to 425 °F (220 °C).

In medium bowl, combine chickpeas, canola oil, paprika, cumin and garlic powder. Toss until well coated. Spread mixture on large baking sheet in single layer. Bake 30 minutes or until beginning to brown. Stir every 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, stir and bake 5 minutes more or until chickpeas are crispy, being careful not to burn them.

Remove from oven, toss with salt and lime zest. Let stand on baking sheet 30 to 45 minutes for crisp texture and peak flavors. When completely cooled, store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

6. Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

Ingredients
4 squares semisweet chocolate squares
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 375 mL
3 Tbsp canola oil 45 mL
2 Tbsp milk 30 mL
2 tsp vanilla 10 mL
3 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour 500 mL
2 tsp baking powder 10 mL
4 oz cream cheese 125g
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated canola margarine 60 mL
1 tsp vanilla 5 mL
2 cups icing sugar 500 mL

Instructions
In microwave or heavy saucepan set over low heat, melt chocolate. Cool. In large bowl, combine sugar, canola oil, milk, vanilla, eggs and melted chocolate. Beat well.

Sift together flour and baking powder and add to chocolate mixture. Mix well. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours or until dough is easy to handle. Preheat oven to 375 °F (190 °C). Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. Remove and cool on wire rack. To prepare filling: In bowl, mix together cream cheese, canola margarine, vanilla and icing sugar. Beat until mixture is smooth and well combined. Place filling in between two cookies.

7. Brownie Party Pops

Brownie Party Pops Brownie Party Pops

Ingredients
Brownies
canola oil spray
½ cup canola oil 125 mL
1¼ tsp vanilla extract 6 mL
2 eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour 125 mL
1¼ cup granulated sugar 310 mL
2/3 cup cocoa powder 150 mL
¼ tsp baking powder 1 mL
½ tsp salt 2 mL
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips 125 mL
Pops
2 cups milk chocolate chips 500 mL
1 tsp canola oil 5 mL
Optional Toppings
candy sprinkles
chopped peanuts
coconut flakes
mini chocolate chips
Special equipment
32 candy/lollipop sticks (6-inch/15-cm)
plastic foam block to hold pops upright

Instructions
Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).

Line bottom and sides of 9 X 9 inch (22 x 22 cm) baking pan with parchment paper or foil. Leave about 4 inches (10 cm) of overhang on two opposite sides. These serve as handles to remove brownies from pan in one piece, so there should be enough overhang to have a solid grip. Spray parchment or foil with canola oil.

In medium bowl, mix together canola oil, vanilla and eggs until fully combined. In large, separate bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt together. Slowly whisk liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring constantly. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread brownie batter evenly in lined pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on rack. Remove from pan and trim off any overly crusty parts.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt milk chocolate chips in double boiler. Add canola oil and stir until smooth. Dip one candy/lollipop stick into melted chocolate (this will help brownie adhere better to stick). Scoop up about 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of brownie. Form brownie onto stick, making sure brownie is nice, round and secure. Immediately after molding it to stick, dip pops one at a time into melted chocolate. Allow some chocolate to get onto sticks to help keep them secure. Dip into different toppings as desired. Place sticks into plastic foam block to keep them upright as they set.

Once all pops are finished, place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set. When finished, store in an airtight container in refrigerator or cool place for up to one week.

Recipe Courtesy: Canolainfo.org

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