Knowledge Base > Dan Marek - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Dan Marek - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

This event was on Tuesday, February 06, 2024 at 11:00 am Pacific, 2:00 pm Eastern

Join Chef Dan Marek in his virtual office as he welcomes all of your questions. This event was created for you and we encourage you to Ask Anything – from cooking techniques to cours… Read More.



Are oils ever used in a whole food plant based diet, if so, when would you use oil and what kind of oil?

— Renee Munoz


So in a whole food plant-based diet oils are typically not used as much. And there's a lot of arguments between, you know, different sides on this because some people, when they say a whole food plant-based diet are very, very strict on it. And if you look at what an oil is, it's basically like, take olive oil for the, the example, right? Like, how close does the product look to the original product, right? So how close does olive oil look to olives and how many olives does it take to actually make olive oil? It's very processed to be able to get it to be at, at its end product. So any kind of an oil, avocado oil, canola oil, um, olive oil, olive of those things are extremely processed to be able to get them to be the end result of this very fatty liquid. So it's 120 calories per tablespoon of any kind of oil. It doesn't matter what kind it is without a whole lot of nutritional value to it. So because of that, most people that are following a whole food plant-based diet don't use oils. Now, um, I, you know, have many, many, many, many years in whole food plant-based cooking and have developed lots and lots and lots of recipes for all kinds of companies across the world using whole food plant-based diet. I personally do use oil at home, but what I'll typically do is I'll use, um, a small amount of oil to be able to make the non-stick surface. And I used to teach us at schools all the time because I would see they'd have these huge sheet pans and they'd take the spray oil, you know, and they'd put it on the pan and they'd just be like, go over it over it and just keep going and going and going. And I'm like, oh my gosh, how much of that do you really need? All you're trying to do is make a non-stick surface. So what I usually recommend to people is to put like just a drop of oil or whatever surface it is, whatever pan it is you're using, and then take a paper towel and wipe down the outside of it. That way you're not getting an excessive amount of oil, you're minimizing it to a very small amount achieving the non-stick surface that you're talking about. Um, you know, when you're cooking with oil, especially at that very beginning stage, you're not cooking with it because you're looking, looking for the flavor. You're typically trying to do it to be able to get the non-stick surface. Uh, there are other ways to do it without oil, which we do lots and lots of training on, but if you'd like to be able to use the oil, just try doing it that way where you use a very small amount of oil, it's on the, um, on the, uh, surface to be able to make it to the non-stick surface. Now, if you're looking for oils for flavors, you typically will add those in at the end of, um, a cooking process. Because if you're adding something like olive oil, a lot of people are like, I love the taste of olive oil, so I cook with it all the time. Well, typically if you're cooking with olive oil, especially at the beginning, you're cooking off all the flavor of that olive oil flavor by the time you're done cooking. Um, if you're looking and you really like the flavor of olive oil, it's something you should add at the end because the subtle nuances of the flavor of olive oil will still be present in it if you put it on in its raw state over a cooked meal. So, um, the short answer is that no, uh, oil is not part of a whole food plant-based diet, but it's one of those kind of contention, you know, one of those areas where people kind of are on the fence on some people do use them, some people don't. Um, I use them just out of ease to be able to make things go kind of fast, quick, and easy. Um, which, you know, is not always the way to be able to eat a a whole food plant-based diet. But, uh, I'll, I'll let you make the choice. And if you want to use the oils in them, just know that, uh, a lot of people would say absolutely not. It's not something you put in the, uh, a part of a whole food plant, plant-based diet.
Dan Marek

Dan Marek

Director of Plant-Based Culinary & Dev