Start off your Italian dinner right with a delicious appetizer of hearty Italian or French bread dipped in a delicious mix of virgin olive oil and spices. Not only does this make an excellent appetizer but it can also serve as a snack.
Below is an easy and delicious recipe for bread dipping oil.
- 2 cups cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of parsley
- 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese
- Season with salt, red pepper flakes and black ground pepper to taste.
Directions: Mix the oil, basil, garlic, parsley and lemon juice. Add the parmesan cheese and serve immediately with your choice of bread. We recommend serving with warm Italian, ciabatta or French bread.
Extras : Fresh herbs may be substituted for dried herbs. The dipping sauce can also be mixed in the blender for a smoother texture. Chili or cayenne powder can be added for extra heat.
Benefits Of Olive Oil
Despite the number of calories, olive oil offers a large number of health benefits including the ability to prevent strokes, protect against heart disease and reduce the risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Prevents Heart Disease & Strokes
Researchers report that a Mediterranean diet high in olive oil decreases the chances of heart disease by lowering inflammation, improving LDL cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. In one study, olive oil consumption decreased the need for blood pressure medication by nearly 48%.
Fights Alzheimer’s & Cancer
Studies show olive oil to help remove amyloid plaque inside brain cells and improve brain function. Olive oil also contains anti-cancer properties. The high number of antioxidants may minimize damage caused by free radicals, which is a main cause of cancer.
Best of all, despite its rich and decadent taste, enjoying olive oil does not necessarily lead to weight gain. Weight gain occurs when someone consumes more calories than is required to maintain their body weight. Eating fat by itself does not cause weight gain unless you’re eating in a caloric surplus. Our body needs fat in order to function and its vital for healthy hair and nail growth.
What To Look For
If you plan on incorporating a lot of olive oil into your diet you may want to incorporate one with a higher smoke point for cooling and a high quality EVOO for garnishing, dressing and sauces.
Choose a pure or regular olive oil which is a blend of virgin and refined oil if you plan on sauteeing or cooking. A light olive oil is ideal for cooking since it has a higher smoke point. Extra-virgin olive oil has a lower smoke point and is ideal for dressings, dips or drizzling over food.
How To Incorporate More Olive Oil
Don’t be afraid to incorporate more olive oil into your diet in order to take advantage of its health boosting benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is delicious when sprinkled over a salad or even fish. Olive oil can also be used to stir fry vegetables and meat instead of vegetable oil or butter. Look for marinade sauces that incorporate extra virgin olive oil.