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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Flavorful Fried Rice

Are Oils Interchangeable?


As you read a recipe, you see it calls for canola oil, but all you have is olive oil. Do you reach for the canola or put on your shoes and head to the store? I'm sure that many of us have substituted one oil for another at some point, and in many cases it doesn't make a big difference. However, there are instances when it would be better not to deviate from the original recipe.

First, consider the smoke points of oils. The smoke point is the temperature that propels the oil to start smoking, resulting in undesirable flavors and the production of disease-causing free radicals. Therefore, if you are following a recipe that involves frying you'll need to make sure to use an oil with a high smoke point (about 450°F), such as peanut, safflower or soybean (also called vegetable) oil. Grapeseed and canola may also be used for deep-fat frying or stir-frying, but they have a slightly lower smoke point (435-445°F) and corn, olive, sesame, and sunflower oil have an even lower smoke point yet (about 410°F).

While flaxseed and walnut oil are excellent sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, these oils become bitter when heated and therefore, are best used in salad dressings or dips, where they also impart flavor. Canola and vegetable oils tend to be more bland, generally making them more suitable for baking or frying rather than for salads. Now that you passed "Oils 101" you know whether you can substitute an oil, or you need to make a trip to the store.

Flavorful Fried Rice (Printable PDF)

2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice

3 Tablespoons minced onion

½ cup chopped carrot

2 cups water

2 Tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

4 eggs, beaten

¼ cup non-fat milk

½ cup frozen peas

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook dry rice, onion, and carrots until slightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Add water and soy sauce. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in milk and peas. Spray the same skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Pour in egg mixture and cook until eggs are firm and scrambled, constantly stirring with spatula. Add rice mixture to eggs and cook 1-2 more minutes. May serve meat or beans.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 190 calories, 6 grams fat, 250 milligrams sodium, 29 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 6 grams protein

Adapted from What's Cooking USDA Mixing Bowl



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