No Oil, Really?

Back when I started this, I listed that I don’t use oil, and, this is reinforced in my recipe titles, such as No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!), No-Oil Tabouli Salad, and No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread.

But, I’m sure you’re thinking, okay, but oil occurs naturally in many of the things you are eating, or by doing the “processing” to create the various recipes.

And you are correct! Simply blending up peanuts to make peanut butter does create some oil (especially if left to sit, unrefrigerated), or using tahini or coconut milk in things inherently adds oil. In fact, I’ve been told that you could literally grind up any organic matter and squeeze out some oil, from lettuce and leafy greens, to fruits and such.

I’ll admit, I haven’t done the research, but it’s obvious to me that ADDED oils, or oils you purchase in a jar or container, are HIGH in calories, and very likely not good for you! One Tablespoon of olive oil (or most oils) is at least 120 calories, and 14 grams of fat!

Forks Over Knives says this:

We are baffled that certain oils are presented as “health” foods. Olive oil is not a health food. Neither is coconut, grape seed, flaxseed, or any other oil you’ve heard you must endeavor to add to your diet because it’s good for you. Sure, if you replace some or all of the butter in your diet with vegetable oil, some of your cholesterol numbers may look a little bit better, but that’s not at all the same as doing well. Oil is a bad idea because it is highly refined and its nutritional package is inadequate.

How is it that we know that processed sugars are junk foods, yet we’ve allowed ourselves to be convinced that certain oils are somehow good for us? Oil follows essentially the same model as processed sugar, which is also pressed from plants. Think about what oil is: fat—and nothing but fat. All the nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water, have been thrown away. Oil of any kind has more calories per gram than any other food we know. And without any fiber or water in it, oil lacks the bulk to convey to your senses how many calories you have eaten; this virtually guarantees you will consume more calories at the meal than you need. So we ask you: Why would you waste calories on something that has no nutrients in it other than fat? And why would anyone believe that highly concentrated fat is healthy?

So let’s look at where the “good oil” hype came from. Its origins lay in data collected in the 1960s that showed the people on the island of Crete. At the time these people had the lowest all-cause mortality rates over twenty years when compared to people in other Mediterranean countries. A main contributing factor was their diet, which included some animal products and a little bit of olive oil, but otherwise consisted primarily of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.1 In the years since then, unfortunately, the phrase “Mediterranean diet” has become synonymous primarily with olive oil. What subsequent researchers—and marketers—took from those early studies was that olive oil was the Holy Grail. But it never was.

All oils have a negative impact on blood vessels and promote heart disease.2 Furthermore, they may also lead to increased bleeding through thinning of the blood; negative effects on lung function and oxygen exchange; suppression of certain immune system functions; and increased risk of cancer.3 Not to mention that excess calories from fat get stored as fat, no matter what type of fat calories you consume.

https://www.forksoverknives.com/what-to-eat/#gs.amc189

So, while my goal is not to eliminate oil entirely, it’s to certainly eliminate ADDED oil, so I don’t purchase any, and don’t have any around. The only time I might slip on this, is when I eat out, which doesn’t happen very often. It’s also a reason why I don’t purchase any of the store bought vegan cheeses for home use; they are mostly just oil!

And yes, most of the recipes do contain something that helps to “slick” things up a bit. In my hummus, there is tahini, or ground sesame seeds that provide natural oil. In waffles I make, there is ground flax seed. In the butter I make, there is coconut milk, which certainly adds some amount of oil.

But, to me, by getting the oil directly from the source food, processed by me, I’m doing it a much healthier way, and minimizing the amount of oil in my diet dramatically!

Some other quick resources on oil in your diet:

http://www.plantplate.com/Guide/Detail?GuideID=1009
https://www.nomeatathlete.com/oil/

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No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

It’ll definitely take me longer to write this recipe out for you than it did for me to whip up my latest batch of hummus in my high speed blender! Since I’ve become plant-based, I’ve made sure to have plenty of healthy snacks available, just in case I get the munchies, and to help me stay true to my ideals! So, I usually have lots of fresh fruits, frozen fruits (frozen blueberries make an amazing cold snack), raisins (that aren’t soaked in sunflower oil), and, well, hummus! I’ve bought hummus in bulk for years from Costco, but, upon inspection, it’s filled with oils and sometimes other ingredients I can’t pronounce.

So, I’ve started making my own, because it really is so easy, there’s a billion variations, and, it’s pretty cheap, too! I’ve started taking my hummus to parties and events, along with a big bowl of sliced and diced veggies, and it’s been a big hit! In fact, I’m starting to get a little bit known for it!

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)
Fresh No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

First off, I’m not picky on my chick peas or garbanzos. I’ve tried at least a dozen brands, and I’ve not seen that it makes any difference. So, now I buy canned garbanzos in bulk from Wal-Mart, which usually has a can for under $0.50 or at another local grocery store that is having a sale. I’ve also tried to take dried garbanzos and soak and cook, but I haven’t yet perfected that, and, it makes a simple tasks take hours, although I like the thrifty ideal!

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)
Hummus on a home-made No-Oil Corn Chip.

And, while not going to go too deep into it right now, don’t throw away that “bean juice” or “aquafaba” that isn’t needed in the recipe. You can use it in my No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread recipe and host of other things, and it makes a great substitute for eggs in certain other recipes and such. Simply freeze a jar of it, and it’ll last forever. (In fact, one of my former plastic 32 oz. jars of tahini has been repurposed into the aquqfaba freezer jar!)

Hummus is also great for so many things, other than basic “dip” snacking. I’ll often use it as a “mayo” or spread for bread, sandwiches, on salads as a dressing, and more!

So, without further ado:

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

The Plant-based Bear's take on a classic, creamy, and smooth Middle Eastern dip!
Last updated Oct. 11, 2019.
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dip, Sauce/Spread
Cuisine: Greek, Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Author: Plant-based Bear

Ingredients

  • 2 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans or chick peas
  • 4-5 Tbsps sesame tahini see notes
  • 8-10 Tbsps lemon juice fresh, if possible
  • 4 cloves garlic adjust to preference
  • 1 to 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin heaping
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp Frank's RedHot Seasoning Blend Powder heaping

Instructions

  • Open one can of garbanzo beans, drain and add to blender. Save aquafaba (bean juice) for later on, or other recipes. Just don't waste it!
  • Open 2nd can of garbanzo beans, drain about half (or more) of the liquid, and add to blender. See notes at bottom before you pour it all in!
  • Add 4 generous tablespoons of tahini to blender.
  • Add lemon juice to blender. Yes, 8-10 tablespoons is a lot of lemon juice! If squeezed fresh, you might use closer to 8. Bottled, closer to 10. Even more than 10 is okay, but might make hummus get more runny, so you can decrease the aquafaba in the recipe.
  • Add all other ingredients to blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into airtight storage container and chill before serving. (Although some warm pita bread and fresh-made warm hummus is kind of amazing, too! Just don't eat it all at once!)

Notes

Lemon juice really gives a great flavor to hummus, so if you’re worried about it getting too runny, it’s better to decrease the amount of aquafaba you’re using than to decrease the lemon juice.  Starting out with very little liquid other than the lemon juice, and adding just enough aquafaba to make it blend is a good method! And, in my opinion, it’s almost impossible to have too much lemon juice!
Get tahini at an international market and look for the jars that have as little English as possible on them. Look for “100% sesame seeds” and nothing else. Tahini, once initially stirred, should be a thick, runny liquid, not a paste.
No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)
Freshly blended No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

The heaping tablespoons mentioned in my recipe just mean that I wouldn’t be stingy with the ingredients. I think you CAN overdo things like the chili powder, and even though I like garlic, 6-8 cloves is really too much! Other than that, season to your personal taste.

And then there’s Frank’s RedHot Seasoning Blend! I picked up a large jar of this one day at Costco on a close-out, and when I thought to try it in my hummus, I’ve never looked back. It really is perfect for hummus, giving it just a little zip that it needs, without making it “spicy.” You could also put a pinch of cayenne or increase the chili powder slightly, but Frank’s really does something nice to it!

Frank's RedHot Seasoning Blend
Frank’s RedHot Seasoning Blend adds the perfect bit of zip, without getting too spicy.

Finally, this is a basic recipe. I almost never make my hummus exactly like the recipe, unless I’m taking it to a party! Lots of things can be added to bring originality and a new take, such as: bell peppers, olives (green, black, and kalamata all make it amazing), fresh parsley, fresh mint, fresh cilantro, jalapenos, banana peppers, green chilies, and more. For most of these extra ingredients, I’ll blend my hummus to completion, then add my extras, blending just briefly to break them up, without pulverizing! One extra note about bell peppers: green or red give some color, but peppers are largely water-based, so might make your hummus slightly more runny. You might decrease the aquafaba in your batch at the beginning, first!

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Plant-based Sour Cream

Seems I had a another hankering for some good ole country potatoes this morning, which works out, since I just bought a big bag of potatoes. (And, fun fact, as I look back, this is almost the exact sentence I used to introduce the recipe for my No-Oil Air Fryer Country Potatoes, originally, in September!) But, I wanted this to be great, so I couldn’t just make the potatoes; I had to make it, um, better!

I’d mentioned in my No-Oil Air Fryer Country Potatoes recipe that most plant-based sour creams are about the same. And they are, with a few variations. The Seven Secrets Cookbook (which seems to be cheaper right now than I’ve noticed it before…hint, hint) has a good one that has silken tofu and a bit of cashews in it. But, that wasn’t my favorite, and seems to get quite hard after a few days in the fridge.

So, with help from Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows (which, the childish side of me says, “Maybe she ought to get that checked…”), I present her recipe, in typical form, slightly modified by me to be better and more amazing (of course, in my opinion!) Or something like that.

Plant-based Sour Cream

Cashew-based Sour Cream substitute, oil-free, gluten-free, sugar-free
Last updated Oct. 6, 2019.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Sauce/Spread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sour cream
Author: Angela Liddon & The Plant-based Bear

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked
  • ¾ cup water err on the side of less rather than more*
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  • Cover cashews with water in a bowl and soak overnight in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can do the "quick-soak method", where you pour boiling water over the cashews and soak them for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the cashews when ready to use.**
  • Put all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend on high until super smooth. For me, this was 1-2 minutes. At the end, you might slowly slow down your blender until stopped to get out extra air bubbles. Depending on your blender, you may also have to stop a few times and scrape the mixture down a bit. Adding slightly more water will help it, if it doesn't seem to be blending.
  • Scrape out of blender and into an airtight container and chill. The cream thickens as it chills, and will last 1-2 weeks.
  • Angela says: You can also freeze it for up to 1 month. I like to freeze it in silicone mini muffin cups. Once solid, transfer the cups into a freezer-safe zip bag for easy grab and go portions.

Notes

*Start with barely 3/4 cup water and see how it goes.  Don’t use a “generous” 3/4 cup.  If you need more liquid to make it properly blend, add it, just a little at a time, until you get a good blend going.  Remember, this cream will thicken in the refrigerator, and it’s best to chill before serving, as the blender can heat this up quickly!
**After soaking cashews, they are a weird gray color.  Don’t worry.  The cream gets pretty white upon blending!

Angela’s original recipe calls for less lemon juice, and the use of apple cider vinegar.  I find that the extra lemon juice makes the cream more “soury” and that the apple cider vinegar adds a strange sweetness that seems to get even stronger over the life of the cream.  I don’t really want my sour cream to be sweet, so I’ve made these modifications, and find it pretty tasty, indeed.

And those country potatoes I wanted for breakfast? They were delicious! I added in diced bell peppers and yellow onions before I was done cooking, and then topped them with last week’s Plant-based Cheddar Cheese (shredded), and some salsa!

No-Oil Air Fryer Country Potatoes with bell peppers and onions, and topped with Plant-based Sour Cream, Plant-based Cheddar Cheese (shredded) and some salsa!

May your days be sour, and creamy! Or at least your potatoes!

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