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10 Ways to Use Olive Oil

A healthy oil basic to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. I tried to remember all the different ways to use it–and many thanks to Nicole and Georgie who commented on Monday ahead about how they use olive oil.

Here are my top 10 ways. No wonder my kitchen never runs out of olive oil!

  1. To dip your bread. You can start with Italian bread or bread sticks and dip them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix. My brother traveled to Italy and he had bread dipped in olive oil and pomegranate molasses. Or, you can start with pita bread, and dip small pieces in olive oil then za’atar mix.

    Olive oil with balsamic vinegar the Italian way

    I can bet you that every Middle Eastern family has similar bowls of "zeit o za'atar" (olive oil and thyme mix). You dip the pita bread in the oil first, then in the za'atar mix. No traditional breakfast or dinner meal (lunch is the main hot meal of the day) is devoid of zeit o za'atar

  2. On top of cheese or yogurt. Spread some yogurt cheese, labaneh, on a whole wheat pita bread, then sprinkle some crushed mint and olive oil. Or, start with plain regular or plain Greek yogurt in a bowl, sprinkle crushed mint and olive oil. Have as a snack by itself of with pita bread or chips.
  3. With your eggs. Saute vegetables with olive oil for your omelet. Or, boil an egg or two (the whole egg or you can stick to egg whites), cut it into cubes, add cubed tomatoes and cucumbers, and sprinkle with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Salad dressings. Nothing better than olive oil and lemon juice for a dressing. My family always add some vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Add some salt to taste. And don’t forget about tabbouleh.
  5. Marinate chicken, meat, or fish in olive oil. Other spices to add flavor are garlic, lemon juice, all spice (for meat), ginger (for chicken and fish), paprika, cumin (works great with salmon), etc.
  6. With dips, like hummus, baba ghanoush (mtabbal), and this Spanish roasted eggplant and red pepper dip.
  7. For baking desserts. Nicole from Prevention RD wrote a comment saying she uses olive oil with everything that is not sweet. While I agree that olive oil can be too strong for many desserts, it’s perfect with some. Anything with dates or nuts works great with olive oil. Try this date rolls recipe I posted earlier. Georgie Fear from AskGeorgie.com said she uses olive oil instead of butter to make baklava. Great idea!
  8. Potato salad. Boil white or red potatoes, cut into cubes, then mix with olive oil, chopped fresh parsley, ground cumin, garlic powder, and some salt and pepper. Who needs mayo?
  9. Any roasted, grilled, boiled, or steamed vegetables. Egg plants, zucchini, peppers, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes, kale, any type of greens, and the list is endless. Olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice work magic with any bitter vegetable.
  10. Pizza or bread dough. Don’t just drizzle olive oil on top of your pizza, make the dough with it. Other types of “pizza” original to the Middle East are onion, olive oil, and sumac “pizza” called musakhan and olive oil and za’atar pizza called “mana’eesh.”

    Mana'eesh: za'atar mix and olive oil "pizza"

How else do you use olive oil?

Coming up next week: another recipe made with olive oil. Bread dough made with olive oil and fresh thyme leaves, and stuffed with cheese. Great for an appetizer, hors d’oeuvres, side dish, and for our lovely kids who love finger foods. (ps. I will have another post on Friday but I want to give myself some time to make this recipe)

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Suha Sallam June 23, 2010, 10:59 am

    Another way of eating olive oil, Cut cheery tomatoes into halves,sprinkle of salt, sprinkle of red chili seeds, add 3 table spoon of fresh oregano and 3 table spoons of fresh olive oil

    Shanklesh
    dice one medium size tomato, suitable amount of feta cheese, one and a half table spoon of diced onion, salt, pepper, 3 table spoon of olive oil.

  • Suha Sallam June 23, 2010, 11:15 am

    Eggplant salad
    one medium sized eggplant cut into cubes you may fry it or grill it in the oven,3 table spoon spring onion, half spoon hot green pepper, cut one capsicum into chunks then add 3 or 4 olive oil, sprinkle of salt, half lemon juice.

    green broad beans, this dish is good for lunch
    boil the beans until soft, put the beans in a sift to get red of all water, 5 cloves of garlic diced very small, fresh cilantro, sprinkle of salt and 4 spoons of yogurt mix all together then add 4 spoons of olive oil

  • Crystal's Cozy Kitchen June 23, 2010, 5:17 pm

    Olive oil is my go to oil for stir frying and any recipe that needs just a bit of oil for pan cooking. I also love to make my own salad dressings with Olive oil.

  • Reeni June 27, 2010, 6:35 pm

    I use olive oil almost every day! Thanks for all the yummy ideas! I like it in pasta tossed with vegetables and Parmesan cheese.

    To respond to your question about the burger club – yes just add your link to the bottom – if you have any trouble you can e-mail me your link and I will add it for you. I would love to see you be a part of it!

  • Nour El-Zibdeh, RD June 28, 2010, 5:48 pm

    Thank you Suha for the many ideas–will definitely try them and post some pictures too!

    Thank you Krystal… homemade salad dressing just sounds so yummy and healthy! No just, weird stuff, or flavors

    Reeni: thanks for the comment… yeap–how could I forget about pasta! Will do my best to participate in the burger club… what a great idea!

  • TwinToddlersDad June 28, 2010, 10:14 pm

    We use extra virgin olive oil for nearly all of our cooking. Check out our blog for some of our favorite recipes.
    We also use it in a quick salad dressing with either lemon juice or white wine vinegar.
    The only issue is its low smoke point which is not good for high heat frying.

  • Nour El-Zibdeh, RD June 29, 2010, 4:06 pm

    Thanks for the comment, TwinToddlersDad! Will definitely check recipes, you have great ideas for toddlers! yes, wen I need to fry something (other than quick sauteing) I use canola oil instead. Olive oil has a low smoking point.

  • Trish August 1, 2010, 10:40 pm

    Great post. Thanks for the tips and ideas. The zeit o za’atar sounds delish. Cheers!

  • David Haddad August 5, 2010, 6:44 pm

    I work for Maramia Foods and this is my personal opinion.

    I love to put olive oil to make mousse au chocolat (instead of cream). Chocolate and olive oil are divine.

    Also enjoy just taking shots of it in the morning. My grandfather did this all his life and lived to be a hundred.

  • Nour El-Zibdeh, RD August 9, 2010, 10:58 pm

    Thank you Trish. I plan to have a Za’tar giveaway soon! Stay tuned!

    David: I’ve never had olive oil with chocolate and would love to try that! I just check out your company’s website and I’m sure you go through tons of olive oil to make your delicious-looking food! I’m from the MiddleEast and heard people recommend and talk about the benefit of olive oil shots in the morning, but I can get myself to chug one 🙂

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