It’s no secret that oil is not a health food. Yet the struggle to go totally oil-free when transitioning to a healthy, whole-food plant-based diet is real. How do you get more flavor, rich texture, and golden brown deliciousness minus the added fat?
For sure, it takes a little culinary know-how to recreate traditionally oil-laden favorites like pesto, French fries, quesadillas, hash browns, fried rice, tacos, cupcakes, and salad dresses without the added fat. But don’t fret: These 30 tantalizing recipes use easy cooking techniques such as baking, steaming, breading, roasting, pan-toasting, and sautéeing so you can skip the oil without skimping on flavor.
Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Replace greasy wings at a Super Bowl party with these spicy-crunchy cauliflower bites. Thanks to a clever combination of hot sauce, salt, and savory spices, these crispy nibbles are packed with flavor—and completely oil-free. View the recipe.
Herb-Crusted Asparagus Spears
Dredged in a blend of breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, and paprika, these flavorful asparagus spears get their crispy crust from baking, not oil. View the recipe.
Who needs oil-fried potato pancakes that leave you feeling full and heavy? Just wait until you try this zesty, crunchy, whole-food version that is 100 percent oil-free. View the recipe.
Spicy French Fries
How can you have mouthwatering French fries without oil? We start with 10 minutes of steaming to get the insides tender, add light coating of spices including garlic powder and sweet paprika, then roast the fries in the oven to get the outsides golden and crisp. View the recipe.
Pesto Pasta with White Beans
Pesto is almost always loaded with oil (and cheese), but our recipe uses garlic, fresh lemon juice, tofu, and nutritional yeast to achieve that rich, zesty flavor. View the recipe.
Caramelized Onion & Pepper Quesadillas
Traditionally fried in oil, these tasty quesadillas get their crunch from pan-toasted tortillas and their creaminess from a cashew-based cheese sauce spiked with lime and nutritional yeast. View the recipe.
No-Fry Fried Rice
While most restaurants wouldn’t dream of doing fried rice without plenty of oil, we use a water-frying technique and a cornstarch-thickened teriyaki sauce to deliver flavorful, browned goodness without the grease. View the recipe.
Easy Thai Noodles
Let this Thai noodle recipe do right by your tastebuds, without all the added fat you’ll find in most restaurant versions. This dish uses low-sodium soy sauce, brown rice syrup, roasted peanuts, and garlic for a rich, savory results. View the recipe.
Lentil, Chard & Sweet Potato Curry
You don’t need ghee or even oil to create a rich Indian curry dish. Let the heady aromas of Indian spices fill your whole house as it simmers, then thicken it up with vegan yogurt. View the recipe.
2-Minute Oil-Free Balsamic Dressing
Thanks to the winning combo of Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, nutritional yeast, and basil, you and your salad can skip the oil without skimping on flavor. View the recipe.
Tacos de Hongo
Topped with guacamole, these crunchy tacos with a hearty mushroom filling won’t let you down in the flavor department. Transform your family’s Taco Tuesday with this oil-free entrée. View the recipe.
Mexican Veggie BurgerThis burger’s crispy outer layer and “meaty” center make it a huge hit with families transitioning to a plant-based diet. The nuts add texture and flavor while the beans and rice make it filling and delicious. View the recipe.
Chewy Lemon-Oatmeal CookiesCompletely free of added fat, these crispy cookies are a sweet, guilt-free treat. Applesauce and apple cider vinegar add tenderness while the oats absorb the cocoa, lemon, and vanilla for a delicious flavor. View the recipe.
“Cheesy” Veggie PizzettesA mouthwatering pizza without oil is more than possible the way we’ve made it. Combine the crispy pita crust, cheesy bean spread, and sautéd vegetables for a hit come dinner time. View the recipe.
Cinnamon-Oat Waffles with Sweet Potato “Butter”You can throw out that old can of olive oil spray. These crispy vegan waffles will brighten any brunch, no oil required. Try the sweet potato “butter” mixed with fresh fruit. View the recipe.
Black-Eyed PeasInstead of bacon fried in oil, this versatile entrée is flavored with sage, maple syrup, and soy sauce. Serve it with brown rice and wild greens tossed with fresh lemon and pepper. View the recipe.
Curried Millet Cakes with Red Pepper Coriander SauceThese little croquettes—a recipe which usually uses butter or oil to get crispy and golden on the outside—are baked to a crunchy perfection. View the recipe.
Breakfast ScrambleEven with the best nonstick skillet, a breakfast scramble begs for a lot of oil to prevent it from sticking to the pan. This recipe illustrates the power of sautéeing with water, adding a tablespoon at a time to keep the food from sticking. View the recipe.