Oil-Free Cooking Guide: Baking, Frying and Roasting Without It

Cooking without oil is a lot easier than you think. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you my top tips for pan ‘frying’, baking and roasting vegan foods with absolutely no added oil.

Oil-Free Vegan Pad Thai
A Whole-Foods, Plant-Based, Oil-Free Pad Thai!

But Why Give It Up?

The Benefits of an Oil-Free Lifestyle

I have been cooking up all my whole-food, plant-based recipes without oil for around two years now. I have to say I don’t miss it at all! Here’s why:

  • Oil is the most calorie dense food on the earth. Just one tablespoon rings in at over 120 calories and 13 grams of fat. Because oil is so calorie dense and contains no fiber, it is extremely easy to overeat without triggering your body’s natural hunger cues. For example, picture eating 100 calories of broccoli (two huge bowls) in comparison to adding 1 tbsp of oil to your salad. Which will make you more full?
  • Oil is extremely processed. This includes olive, coconut, corn, canola, and yes, even avocado oil. Each one of these is essentially fat extracted from a whole food source, leaving behind almost all of the nutrients that were present. In my opinion, it is always more beneficial to eat the whole food source than the oil itself. Think the coconut rather than the oil, and the avocado rather than the fat extraction.
  • The important message here is not to demonize fat, but to enjoy them in their whole sources with all the nutrients and fibre rather than an extraction. Some examples include nuts, avocados, coconuts, nut butters, olives and more!
  • I love the way my food tastes without it (and the way my body feels)! Rather than an underlying oil flavor and ‘grease’, the whole foods can shine!
  • To drive this point, here’s a great article by Dr. Joel Fuhrman on the subject: https://www.drfuhrman.com/get-started/eat-to-live-blog/84/olive-oil-is-not-a-health-food

Despite giving up oil as part of my daily lifestyle, I don’t personally worry about it when I eat out because it’s pretty hard to avoid. Consistency is much more importance than perfection, and like anything, it takes time to form a new habit.

How to Cook Without Oil

  • To saute or stir-fry: Add a stainless steel, or non-toxic non-stick pan to your stove top over medium heat, and add 1-2 tbsp’s of vegetable broth or water. Then add your vegetables or tofu/tempeh and sautee just as you would normally. Add small amounts of vegetable broth or water to the pan as needed, without steaming the vegetables.
  • Baking: Opt for whole-foods, plant-based vegan recipes that call for fruit substitutes like apple sauce, bananas and dates that will add a nice moistness to your baked goods without the oil. Use parchment paper in your loaf pans and pie pans, and liners in your muffin tin.
  • Roasting: To roast vegetables, always use parchment paper on your pan. Nothing sticks to it and it is toxic free! Before adding them to the oven, season your vegetables with lots of nice spices like garlic powder, a little salt, dill and pepper. You can even spritz with a bit of vegetable broth!

Where to Find Oil-Free Recipes

If you haven’t heard, I run a 100% added oil-free, whole-foods, plant-based meal plan program! Members receive immediate access to my entire database of simple, vegan meal plans when they sign up, including over 250 recipes with step-by-step instructions. Better yet, every recipe also includes the calorie, fat, protein and carb content to help you reach your goals.

The meal plans are specifically designed for busy people with meal prep in mind, and seriously yummy recipes beyond chickpeas and spiralized zucchini. Think delicious curries, pizzas and pastas. You can join right now for just $7.99/month (cancel anytime) right here!


So excited to see you on the inside! A new meal plan drops every Thursday.

Thank you for reading! As always, you can enjoy more of my vegan recipes and plant-based musings on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

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