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Substitute for olive oil: what's a low omega-6 salad dressing?

by (24523)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:16 PM
Created October 31, 2010 at 9:09 PM

I'm ditching olive oil based salad dressing. What can I substitute for it? Here's what I've brainstormed so far:

  • Coconut oil. Pro- Tastes good. Con- Might make me feel queasy at times. Also, I'm already eating lots of saturated fat, and I don't want to go all the way. (This is just my preference, based on lack of evidence/precedent for diets with >50% saturated fat composition)
  • Fat-free dressing. Pro-no omega 6! Con- Masks the taste of fatty salad add-ons, has carbs (not a ton, so not a huge deal).
  • Some kind of ranch without much oil?
  • Nothing? I don't mind no dressing, but dressing tastes good. It dresses the salad up, ya' know?

I want my daily fat breakdown to be low PUFA (~5-10%), high MUFA (~40-60%), moderately high saturated (~30-50%). Even the freshest fish often makes me gag, so I'm trying to keep omega-6 as low as possible for balancing purposes, hence the salad dressing switch.

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1981 · January 08, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Why are you ditching olive oil?

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2409 · November 03, 2010 at 7:49 PM

True but Kamal made his priority Omega 6 and even if the substance has all kinds of other goodies, if generally "fails" if Omega 6 count is too high. Also Kamal is searching a subsitte for olive oil and as you found out acavado is very similiar, ergo not appropriate for this selection.

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1648 · November 02, 2010 at 12:45 AM

Yeah, today at the work salad bar, the olive oil looked *questionable* so I opted to go with just vinegar, and it tasted just fine, couldn't tell much difference from my usual olive oil + vinegar routine.

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1409 · November 01, 2010 at 2:42 PM

I referred to her as the leading authority because I've yet to find any other compressed source of detailed info on fats and oils outside of her book- if you have another source, please share it! If the issue of finding low n-6 oil is so great, I agree with others and say avoid plant oils anyway :) Any way you slice it... And I wasn't saying we needed the ALA from flaxseed oil - I was just comparing the content of the oils.

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1453 · November 01, 2010 at 2:13 PM

According to MDA, avocado oil has a very similar profile to olive oil: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/healthy-oils/

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1453 · November 01, 2010 at 2:11 PM

But avocado oil is by FAR mostly MUFAs, and avocados are always touted as great paleo foods and healthy sources of fat. So I think it's not correct to characterize it as a problem oil for Omega 6.

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7324 · November 01, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Yup, I ran into that problem in the beginning of paleo. Now I don't eat salads, just steamed or sauteed veggies covered in butter. I can appreciate the convenience of salads, however.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
24523 · November 01, 2010 at 4:40 AM

And there's no single leading fat authority, it's like that whole "best pizza in America" bit! Lots of great fat researchers who don't happen to write books and be WPF affiliated.

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24523 · November 01, 2010 at 4:37 AM

This isn't about omega-9 or omega-3, it's about finding a low omega-6 salad dressing. Flax oil has more omega-6 than olive oil. Hence my reticence at indulging in seed oils...no great need for ALA unless you're veg*n and slummin' for PUFAs!

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1409 · November 01, 2010 at 3:19 AM

Animal fats, FTW. This further goes to prove why Sally Fallon (of Weston A Price fame) hates that salads became popularized. Without salads, we wouldn't want/need many vegetable oils...

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1409 · November 01, 2010 at 3:18 AM

According to the woman I know as the leading authority on fats in this country, Mary Enig, Ph. D. in her book "Know Your Fats," olive oil is classified under mostly omega 9 as it is comprised of 71% oleic acid whereas flaxseed oil is classified under mostly omega 3 as is comprised of 60% alpha linolenic acid.

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24523 · November 01, 2010 at 2:00 AM

This is a microcosm of why it's hard to eat low omega 6 if you consume any non-animal-sourced fat.

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7324 · November 01, 2010 at 1:21 AM

But it's higher in n-6 than olive oil...

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24523 · November 01, 2010 at 1:18 AM

That sounds good. Maybe a teeny bit of mac nut oil, vinegar, pureed garlic, and lemon juice. It's time for someone to go into the paleo salad dressing biz!

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6235 · November 01, 2010 at 12:46 AM

I understand guar gum is sort of weird, but it is something that I typically see in fat free salad dressings to make it cling .. Ohh how about roasted garlic that is pureed to add cling and mouthfeel?

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24523 · November 01, 2010 at 12:41 AM

My inner caveman rejects guar gum, although that used to be a mainstay of my protein shakes.

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24523 · October 31, 2010 at 11:49 PM

Excellent, thank you. I'll be rotating flavored vinegars, mac nut oil, and nothing.

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15966 · October 31, 2010 at 10:52 PM

i whole heartedly agree. Mac nut oil is the only veg/nut/seed oil other than Olive that gets in our kitchen. I have only use NOW Foods organic one. It is expensive but its terrific.

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24523 · October 31, 2010 at 9:43 PM

Good idea with the mustard, but unfortunately flax oil has more omega 6 than olive oil!

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12 Answers

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7324 · October 31, 2010 at 10:39 PM

macadamia nut oil is lower in pufas and n-6 than olive oil. It's a bit expensive, but it's what I use. Even though I don't really eat salads anymore...

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15966 · October 31, 2010 at 10:52 PM

i whole heartedly agree. Mac nut oil is the only veg/nut/seed oil other than Olive that gets in our kitchen. I have only use NOW Foods organic one. It is expensive but its terrific.

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12174 · October 31, 2010 at 9:16 PM

I discovered recently that I'm perfectly fine with dressing using a flavored vinegar, such as balsamic vinegar, raspberry vinegar, and foregoing oil altogether. (There are plenty of other vinegars that would work: apple cider, etc.!) I often add a fattier protein with this (bacon, salmon, crumbled boiled egg, etc.) to make up for the lack of an oil.

Works for me as I'm only very occasionally in the mood for the taste of olive oil.

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1648 · November 02, 2010 at 12:45 AM

Yeah, today at the work salad bar, the olive oil looked *questionable* so I opted to go with just vinegar, and it tasted just fine, couldn't tell much difference from my usual olive oil + vinegar routine.

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1172 · October 31, 2010 at 10:38 PM

i use bacon fat for dressing a lot.

sometimes, especially when the vegetables in the salad are fresh and in season, i use warm bacon fat by itself.

you can also doctor it with the same kinds of things that go into classic oil-based dressings: red wine vinegar, mustard or dry mustard, etc.

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280 · October 31, 2010 at 9:33 PM

I take my Magic Bullet blender and mix coconut milk, raw yolk, dijon, lemon, garlic and sea salt (other herbs from my garden that float my boat) blend and enjoy. More yolk makes it thicker.

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227 · November 03, 2010 at 7:21 PM

Ranch dressing is easy to make at home. I use half mayo (homemade from olive oil) and half sour cream or full fat greek yogurt, plus some mashed up garlic & onion, salt & pepper. Add some crumbled cheese or bacon for variety (bleu cheese is awesome!).

You can reduce the proportion of mayo to reduce the olive oil content to your liking.

BTW, don't skip the fat on your salads entirely, unless you've got lots of fat in the rest of your meal. Many of the nutrients in salad vegs won't be assimilated without fat.
http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/uncategorized/dress-your-salads-with-oil/

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1453 · November 01, 2010 at 12:38 AM

Avocado oil is excellent.

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2409 · November 03, 2010 at 7:49 PM

True but Kamal made his priority Omega 6 and even if the substance has all kinds of other goodies, if generally "fails" if Omega 6 count is too high. Also Kamal is searching a subsitte for olive oil and as you found out acavado is very similiar, ergo not appropriate for this selection.

D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca
1453 · November 01, 2010 at 2:13 PM

According to MDA, avocado oil has a very similar profile to olive oil: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/healthy-oils/

D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca
1453 · November 01, 2010 at 2:11 PM

But avocado oil is by FAR mostly MUFAs, and avocados are always touted as great paleo foods and healthy sources of fat. So I think it's not correct to characterize it as a problem oil for Omega 6.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1
7324 · November 01, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Yup, I ran into that problem in the beginning of paleo. Now I don't eat salads, just steamed or sauteed veggies covered in butter. I can appreciate the convenience of salads, however.

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284
1409 · November 01, 2010 at 3:19 AM

Animal fats, FTW. This further goes to prove why Sally Fallon (of Weston A Price fame) hates that salads became popularized. Without salads, we wouldn't want/need many vegetable oils...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
24523 · November 01, 2010 at 2:00 AM

This is a microcosm of why it's hard to eat low omega 6 if you consume any non-animal-sourced fat.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1
7324 · November 01, 2010 at 1:21 AM

But it's higher in n-6 than olive oil...

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60 · October 31, 2010 at 10:03 PM

x2 on the vinegar option. Recently I've been using rice vinegar (1/2c), diced or minced garlic (~4Tbs), lemongrass paste (1tsp), ginger paste (1tsp), and a couple drops of toasted sesame oil. The sesame oil is high in omega 6 but lots of flavor comes from this very small amount.

I make another simple dressing in large quantity by taking the big jug of lemon juice from Costco, removing about 1 1/2c of it and adding back in about 1/2c Dijon mustard and dried herbs/spices (garlic being the only required one).

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3422 · January 08, 2013 at 9:22 PM

I just use raw cider vinegar. Veggies are yummy, no need to smother em.

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1232 · January 08, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Herbs. Basil is especially good in salads.

Include moist foods like beetroot in your salad if you want to substitute the oil texture.

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571 · January 08, 2013 at 7:45 PM

I just threw some salsa verde on my salad and it tastes pretty good.

I don't love the flavor of olive oil, it's kind of overpowering. Is there an olive oil out there without such a strong flavor?

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6235 · November 01, 2010 at 12:27 AM

I love vinegar too but to add... Another idea if you miss the cling and mouthfeel of oil I would try a little unflavored gelatin to give it cling and texture. The other choice would be Guar Gum. I would feel more comfy with this then with fat free salad dressings because I like controlling the ingredients.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
24523 · November 01, 2010 at 1:18 AM

That sounds good. Maybe a teeny bit of mac nut oil, vinegar, pureed garlic, and lemon juice. It's time for someone to go into the paleo salad dressing biz!

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd
6235 · November 01, 2010 at 12:46 AM

I understand guar gum is sort of weird, but it is something that I typically see in fat free salad dressings to make it cling .. Ohh how about roasted garlic that is pureed to add cling and mouthfeel?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
24523 · November 01, 2010 at 12:41 AM

My inner caveman rejects guar gum, although that used to be a mainstay of my protein shakes.

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1409 · October 31, 2010 at 9:31 PM

What about flax oil with lemon and a gluten-free mustard to make a vinaigrette?

I've also heard of people making bacon-fat based dressings... just need to warm it to soften first I guess.

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284
1409 · November 01, 2010 at 2:42 PM

I referred to her as the leading authority because I've yet to find any other compressed source of detailed info on fats and oils outside of her book- if you have another source, please share it! If the issue of finding low n-6 oil is so great, I agree with others and say avoid plant oils anyway :) Any way you slice it... And I wasn't saying we needed the ALA from flaxseed oil - I was just comparing the content of the oils.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
24523 · November 01, 2010 at 4:40 AM

And there's no single leading fat authority, it's like that whole "best pizza in America" bit! Lots of great fat researchers who don't happen to write books and be WPF affiliated.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
24523 · November 01, 2010 at 4:37 AM

This isn't about omega-9 or omega-3, it's about finding a low omega-6 salad dressing. Flax oil has more omega-6 than olive oil. Hence my reticence at indulging in seed oils...no great need for ALA unless you're veg*n and slummin' for PUFAs!

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284
1409 · November 01, 2010 at 3:18 AM

According to the woman I know as the leading authority on fats in this country, Mary Enig, Ph. D. in her book "Know Your Fats," olive oil is classified under mostly omega 9 as it is comprised of 71% oleic acid whereas flaxseed oil is classified under mostly omega 3 as is comprised of 60% alpha linolenic acid.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
24523 · October 31, 2010 at 9:43 PM

Good idea with the mustard, but unfortunately flax oil has more omega 6 than olive oil!

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