Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cooking with Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids are Important for optimal health. Let's take a look at the types:

Linoleic Acid (LA): An O-mega 6 fatty acid found in grains, seed, nuts, especially safflower, sunflower, corn and soy oil. Vegan friendly.
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA): An omega 3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, chia, hemp, walnuts, canola oil, and some soy foods. Vegan friendly.

The other 2 types are DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) found in animal products such as fish and eggs.

Vegans tend to get a high ratio of LA fatty acids in their diet when what they need is little more ALA in their diet. One way to help get more ALA in a vegan diet is by cooking with certain oils. These oils include: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Canola, "High-Oleic" Sunflower or Safflower Oil (must be labelled "High-Oleic"), Almond, Avocado, Hazelnut & Macadamia Nut Oil. Corn, Soybean and peanut oils are popular for frying but should be limited in a vegan diet as they have a high LA (Linoleic Acid) content and vegans tend to get plenty of this Essential Fatty Acid:)

Fun Fact: Oils with a low smoke point begin to break down at high temperatures, potentially producing toxins. Oils with high mono saturated fat content (as listed above) have a higher smoke point and are better to cook with.

Chickpea Cakes:

3 tbs oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1 celery stalk, diced
1 28 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp hot sauce ( I use habanero sauce for extra spiciness)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying


Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Saute onion, green pepper, and celery until softened. Remove from heat.
Place chickpeas in a food processor along with the onion mixture. Pulse until chickpeas are no longer whole, but dont process them too much. Place chickpeas in a bowl and add spices, hot sauce, and parsley. Mix well. Add flour and cornstarch and mix well. Place in the fridge for 30 mins.
Heat oil in a frying pan over med/med-hi heat. Shape chickpea mixture into 6 patties and fry in batches, about 3-4 mins per side, or until crispy and browned. If you have trouble forming the patties, add some more cornstarch to hold it all together.

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