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The Healthy Cook’s Guide to Olive Oil

A drizzle adds a world of depth and flavor to the humble potato.

Rich in monounsaturated fats, olive oil is the golden child of the heart-healthy fats and the workhorse of the healthy kitchen. Plant oils decrease bad LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol—a win-win for the body. Along with all veggie-based oils, it is the most calorie-dense food available in our diet. At 120 calories of pure fat per tablespoon (oils are 100% fat), calories can add up quickly.

Olive oil is beautifully complex in flavor—a characteristic that gets muted in cooking—so we love it best when the flavor can really shine: drizzled over greens, roasted veggies, or velvety mashed potatoes in our Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes recipe. We skip the butter in this classic dish and add richness and depth with full-bodied extra-virgin olive oil. The oil saves a hefty 5.4g sat fat per serving over butter and adds a burst of full, fruity flavor when drizzled on top.

The Takeaway: Thanks to its liquidity, a little oil goes a long way. Use it in your everyday sautés, and embrace the finishing ability of this tasty fat by drizzling over fish, whole grains, or crisp greens.

More Fat Facts: