In recent years, Americans have begun incorporating more olive oil as a butter substitute in their diets and the heart healthy effects are beginning to show. A new study shows that men and women from the U.S. who consumed higher amounts of olive oil benefitted from lower instances of heart disease. By incorporating more olive oil into our diets we have the potential to protect our hearts.
Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health gathered information from health questionnaires of nearly 100,000 Americans and found that men and women with a higher consumption of olive oil had an 18% lower risk of heart disease. They analyzed over 24 years of data and found that replacing just one teaspoon of margarine, butter, or mayonnaise with olive oil resulted in a 5% to 7% lower risk of cardiovascular or coronary heart disease.
Additionally, the researchers cited previous studies that showed the Mediterranean diet to be inversely related with heart disease and overall death as well as reduce the instance of cardiac-related events by 31%. So long story short, the more you follow the Mediterranean diet the more you can safeguard your heart against the development of heart disease.
Here are seven of our favorite recipes that use olive oil instead of butter!
Orange Sesame Cookies Baked with Olive Oil
Instead of a stick of butter, this super delicious, crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside cookie uses 2 cups of extra virgin olive oil. It also has a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice and a cup of sesame seeds.
Grilled Cheese with Provolone and Sun-dried Tomatoes
I have been making grilled cheese sandwiches with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter ever since I first learned about the Mediterranean Diet. It is a yummy sandwich that will change how you feel about grilled cheese!
Italian Parmesan Risotto with Saffron
Olive oil is the perfect butter substitute with this recipe. You won’t miss the butter as you still get a nice dose of parmesan cheese!
Spinach and Ricotta Frittata
Olive oil is perfect for any egg dish as it makes the eggs richer and you will find that you won’t miss butter at all. This is one of the easiest ways to switch out olive oil for butter. This traditional Italian frittata uses extra virgin olive oil along with parmesan and ricotta cheese.
Greek Baklava: Olive oil as the original butter substitute.
Greek baklava is often made with butter these days, but traditionally it was always extra virgin olive oil that made the phyllo dough crispy on top and chewy underneath. This is one of those desserts that tastes like it shouldn’t be good for you, but it is packed with healthy ingredients including honey, almonds, walnuts and sesame seeds.
Pan Fried Scallops with Hand Chopped Pesto
Scallops seems to always be cooked in butter, but a combination of extra virgin olive oil and garlic makes any scallop dish fantastic. This is one of my all time favorite scallop recipes as it is topped with lots of hand chopped pesto.
Cinnamon Walnut Apple Cake Baked with Olive Oil. The best butter substitute for baking.
Can you make a cake that is full of healthy ingredients and tastes good? Oh yes! This cinnamon apple cake from the Greek island of Crete has 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil, apples, walnuts and sesame seeds. I love this cake in the afternoon with tea or coffee.