If you’re a big fan of cooking up goodies for your family in the kitchen, then there’s a good chance that you’ve done some sort of cooking with oil from time to time. While some people enjoy the richness of olive oil, others prefer to use sesame oil instead. Unfortunately, sesame oil can be a bit hard to come by at times, especially if you’re in a hurry to cook for 10 people and your grocery store only carries two options. With that being said, there are other types of oil that you can choose from. Before we get to the alternatives, let’s take a few minutes to talk about the oil that you’re trying to replace: sesame oil.
What in the World is Sesame Oil?
Sesame oil is a type of oil derived from…yep, you guessed it, sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are well known for being good for your heart, and surprisingly, dental hygiene! Unlike other options, sesame oil is high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and low in saturated fats, so sesame oil is a bit healthier than other options. Sadly, sometimes you just don’t have any sesame oil around the house or maybe you just don’t feel like using it, so you have to figure out a substitute for the oil that you usually rely on.
Alternatives to Sesame Oil
The great thing about sesame oil is the fact that it’s a type of vegetable oil. Because of this, there are plenty of options when it comes to finding an alternative to this widely used oil. If you’re looking for a new type of oil to add to our collection, then keep reading to discover some great oils that can be used instead of your good old sesame oil.
There’s no denying that people are going crazy for this impressive fruit. Not only does it have an incredible number of health benefits, but it also takes amazing. Considering that it’s rich in monounsaturated fats, avocado oil is a great alternative if you have your health in mind. Because avocado oil works very well in high heat, it makes a great substitute for sesame oil. If you’re thinking about using avocado oil, then using it to saute, grill or roast will really allow this oil to shine. Avocado oil also blends really well when you add it to your salad dressing!
There’s a pretty good chance that you’ve had Canola oil in your pantry at one point or another. Canola oil is a genetically modified version of grapeseed oil, and because it’s believed that natural grapeseed oil is toxic to humans, it was put into circulation as a sufficient substitute for sesame seed oil. Despite the fact that no one really knows how good or bad canola oil is for the human body, it works well for all kinds of sesame oil. Since canola oil works well with high heat, it’s recommended that this oil works well with frying foods.
Olive oil is a liquid fat made from the fruit of the olive tree. According to researchers, olive oil is rich in antioxidants and fats. Unfortunately, because olive oil is so rich in fat, it can cause you to put on a few extra pounds if you use it too often. While it is good for your heart, olive oil should be avoided if you’re trying to eat as healthy as possible. Olive oil works extremely well with salad dressings or deep frying.
Nut oils actually work really well as an alternative to sesame oil. Because they both have similar health benefits, high heat tolerance, and a naturally nutty flavor, they can be used interchangeably almost. Even though peanut oil has a slightly nutty flavor, it can surely spice up any meal if you use the right amount. Peanut oil is typically used in Asian cooking, as well as, different kinds of stir-frys.
There’s a pretty good chance that you’ve never heard of perilla oil, especially if you’ve never been to an Asian grocery store. If you have been to an Asian grocery store, then you may have seen perilla oil sitting on a shelf somewhere. Typically used in Chinese or Indian dishes, perilla oil has a deep, earthy taste. Unfortunately, perilla oil contains a lot of different allergens, as well as, calories, so it certainly isn’t the healthiest alternative to sesame oil. If you would like to try perilla oil, then using it for sauteeing or for salad dressings would be your best bet!
Tahini or Sesame Paste
Tahini, which is commonly used in hummus, is quickly becoming one of the most sought after ingredients on the planet. Tahini should be creamy, savory, and mildly nutty, which makes it the perfect replacement for sesame oil!
As the name suggests, walnut oil comes from the walnut! While it is a bit more expensive than other options, walnut oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re looking for a nutty taste similar to sesame oil, then you should definitely try walnut oil the next time you make a nice salad dressing, a marinade for steak or fish, pasta, or even to spice up your desserts!
Now that you have an idea of the different substitutes you can use for sesame oil, let’s take a look at some of the recipes that allow sesame oil to stand out among the rest! If you find a recipe you like, try using one of these new alternatives you’ve just learned about instead of the sesame oil!
Soy and Sesame Short Ribs
- ½ apple, cored and chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- ½ cup orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (try using one of the new alternatives you learned)
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon dry sake or dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
- 1 ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 pounds ¼” thick cross-cut bone-in beef short ribs
Vegetable oil for grilling (you can use an alternative here, as well)
Your meat should be marinated for one hour prior to cooking.
1. Pulse apple, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, marmalade, brown sugar, sake, gochugaru, and pepper in a food processor. Blend until the garlic and the apple are finely chopped.
2. Transfer to a large dish and mix in the soy sauce.
3. Add the ribs and turn to coat.
4. Allow it to sit, massaging the meat and turning occasionally. Do this for at least 10 minutes.
5. Prepare the grill for medium-high heat. Oil grate with the vegetable oil you choose to use.
6. Remove the ribs from the marinade and grill. Turn the meat over only one time. Continue grilling until the meat is lightly charred and cooked through. This should take approximately two minutes on each side for medium-rare.
Sesame Noodles with Chili Oil and Scallions
- 4 scallions, whites and greens separated and thinly sliced
- ½ cup vegetable oil (use an alternative if you choose)
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons Sichuan pepper, coarsely chopped
- 12 ounces thin ramen noodles
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
1. Cook the scallion whites, vegetable oil, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and pepper in a small saucepan over low heat. Make sure to stir occasionally. Cook until the oil is sizzling and the scallions are golden brown. This should take 12-15 minutes. Allow the chili oil to cool down in a saucepan.
2. While your chili oil is cooling, cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until the noodles are al dente. Using a strainer, drain the water from the noodles over the sink. Rinse the noodles under the cold water to stop the cooking process and drain again.
3. Whisk the tahini, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and 2-3 tablespoons chili oil in a large bowl. You can alter the recipe according to how spicy you would like your meal to be. Season it with salt. Add the noodles to the chili sauce and coat.
4. Top the noodles with scallion greens and drizzle it with more chili oil. Once again, you can change the recipe according to your own tastes.
Sesame oil can be hard to find at times, and then there are other times when you might not feel like using sesame oil at all. When this happens, you don’t have to stress about not getting your dinner done on time. Instead, use one of these alternatives and your guests surely won’t know that you were panicking five minutes before they walked in the door. If all else fails, you can always look on the internet to find out which oil would be the best choice for the meal that you’re preparing!