Replace oil for sauteeing with a little water, broth, juice, wine, beer (gluten-free of course), tamari (also gluten-free), or any combination to create wonderful rich flavours. I cook onions at the start of a larger recipe without anything at all, only adding water as they become softer and start to stick. No need for special equipment – regular stainless steel pots and pans are fine. I start the recipe for Curried Potato Soup with this technique. I only use my non-stick pan for dry foods such as pancakes, crepes and tortillas. See the recipes for Mung Bean Crepes and Buckwheat Crepes with Chocolate Orange Sauce for examples.
No oil is needed at all for roasting. I roast vegetables in my oven on a baking sheet or roasting pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. As long you don't exceed the heat limit for your paper or mat, the vegetables will brown nicely. Curry Roasted Potatoes are delicious and crispy without a drop of oil.
Replace oil in salad dressings with water or juice (will be thin), thickened water (1 cup water, broth or juice mixed with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder – heat until it starts to thicken), water drained from a can of beans (best for savoury sauces as this can impart a slight beany flavour and aroma), ground flax or chia seeds mixed in water (1 or two teaspoons to 1 cup liquid) or an equal amount of pureed zucchini – the base for Shanghai Bok Choi Slaw with Ginger Lemon Dressing. If the recipe calls for only a small amount of oil (1 or 2 Tablespoons), leave it out as I did for Millet Tabouleh.
I like to replace oil in hummus and bean dips with pureed vegetables. Along with reducing the fat, the vegetables add great flavour and texture. Some of my favourite examples on this blog are Roasted Garlic and Eggplant Hummus, Caramelized Onion Hummus, and Zucchini Hummus.
For fat-free baking, replace oil 1:1 with applesauce or other fruit purees (such as mashed banana or prunes) or pureed beans. Options that contain more fat are soft or silken tofu and pureed avocado. For cookies or pie crust that you want a little crispier, try mixing equal amounts of applesauce and a nut butter to replace the total amount of oil or butter in a recipe as I did in Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies.
See the links below for information about the health impacts of free oils in your diet.
To your health and happiness,
Beans and Rice
Dr. Esselstyn: author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease
Engine 2 Diet article: The Big Oil Post?
Dr. Klaper video: Olive Oil is Not Healthy
Dr. McDougall' s article: When Friends Ask: Why Do You Avoid Vegetable Oils?
Jeff Novick RD, MS article: The Myth of Moderation part 2: The Impact of Just a Little Oil
Jeff Novick RD, MS video: Oil to Nuts