Healthy fat is an essential component of the Paleo diet. Many vital bodily functions depend on the presence of healthy fats in your diet. Here, we outline many of the healthy sources of these fats, and how they relate to Primal cooking. All of these oils and fats can be found in local health food stores, online, or in better grocery stores.
Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil
This is our primary cooking oil. We use this oil for most of our cooking done on the stove top, and for any grain free baking. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. We find it is best to use this oil to sauté vegetables, fry eggs, and use in baked goods. It adds wonderful flavor to dishes, but does not have an overpowering coconut flavor, which makes it ideal for most cooking.
Similar in consistency to a nut butter, coconut butter is simply coconut oil with the meat of the coconut mixed in. Coconut butter is great to add to sauces, stir fries, smoothies, or to top apples, bananas, celery, carrots, or berries.
Red Palm Oil
Red palm oil is virgin and unrefined. This is your best choice when purchasing palm oil. Palm oil has a distinct flavor with warm undertones, and rich red color. Pairing this oil with dishes can be tricky, because it will change the color of the food slightly, and is best suited toward international cuisine. The flavor is wonderful, and can surely enhance any dish. For first time use, try frying up some eggs with Red Palm Oil, you wont be disappointed!
This vegetable shortening, derived from palm oil, is a staple item for all of our grain free baking recipes. It essentially has no flavor or smell, and is wonderful in grain free pie crusts or whipped frostings. We often use palm shortening in place of coconut oil in our cookie recipes, pie crusts, and muffin recipes.
Ghee is clarified butter, meaning the milk solids (or proteins) have been removed, resulting in pure fat. You can use ghee in place of butter or oil in a recipe. Ghee is available at most health food stores, but can simply be made at home by simmering grass fed butter until the solids have settled at the bottom and a froth has appeared on the top. Carefully remove the froth, and spoon out the ghee without disturbing the solids at the bottom.
Grass Fed Butter (Pasture Butter)
Another fantastic fat to use in cooking. It is labeled “Grass Fed” because it is produced from the milk of grass fed cows. Butter is fantastic over steamed vegetables, used in sautéing, roasting vegetables, as well as for basting poultry when baking or roasting.
Lard is derived from the fat of pigs. You can easily render your own lard by saving bacon grease in a glass jar, and keeping it stored in the fridge for any time you would like some delicious bacon flavored eggs or vegetables.
Tallow is rendered beef fat. This saturated fat is incredibly heat-stable, which makes it ideal for any high heat cooking. With a fairly mild flavor, tallow is fantastic for cooking any vegetables, as well as browning meats.
Our primary oil to make salad dressings and marinades, olive oil is a liquid at room temperature, but will solidify when chilled. Olive oil is not as heat stable as saturated tropical fats or animal fats, so we do our best to limit olive oil to cold uses.
Used only as cold oil for salad dressings, its creamy flavor is wonderful over any salad. Just a drizzle along with a splash of fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar adds amazing flavor.
Macadamia Nut Oil
This oil is our favorite choice to create homemade mayonnaise. Macadamia nut oil has a very mild flavor, with just the slightest hint of sweetness and warmth. You can also use this oil for a simple salad dressing as well.
Derived from sesame seeds, this oil has a relatively high smoke point and is a good choice for moderate heat applications. Its distinct sesame flavor lends itself well to Asian dishes, and can be used as cold oil for dressings.