There are many reasons why olive oil is better for you than butter. In short, it promotes the "good"cholesterol...the kind that actually fights the "bad", plaque-producing cholesterol in your blood. Butter, on the other hand, contains the "bad" cholesterol...a wise thing to stay away from.
Although I've know for a long time that olive oil was the preferred, "Good-for-you" oil, I haven't really known when and where I could substitute it in my cooking...Until recently. One evening I realized very last minute that I had guests coming for dinner. I couldn't get to the store that day and the cupboards were pretty bare, but alas, I came up with a plan: Homemade Potato Soup and homemade whole wheat bread! YUM! I got cooking. But, when I opened the fridge to grab the butter for the soup, I realized that I was completely out! Dinner was half-way made and I had no butter! That was the best moment of my butter-filled life!
It was in that moment that I tried something new: Olive oil. I figured it was the best alternative I had, so I replaced the butter called for with the same amount of olive oil. The result: Great tasting soup! My husband didn't even notice the difference until I shared my secret with him later.
As for the bread, I did the same thing, replacing the butter with olive oil. Once again, the result was tremendous! In fact, we like it better than bread with butter, so now I replace butter in my breads all the time with olive oil.
Since that day, I've experimented a lot and to tell you the truth, I haven't found anything so far that hasn't done just as well, if not better, with olive oil. (though I still haven't tried cookies). Here are ideas to help you with the transition:
-Corn on the cob. Rather than rolling it in the stick of butter, brush corn on the cob with olive oil. YUM!
-Serve a small dish with olive oil with warm rolls or bread instead of butter. Brush it on or go European style and dip breads in olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar and pepper. Delicious.
-I never saute in butter. Always olive oil!
-Garlic Bread--Our quick fire way of making garlic bread is simply taking slices of whole wheat bread, brushing with olive oil, and sprinkling parmesan cheese and italian spices on top, followed by broiling for a few quick minutes.
-Waffles, pancakes, etc.-I've even replaced recipes calling for canola oil with olive oil and find the result is the same. Canola oil is second to olive oil and isn't too bad, but if I can replace it with the number one health oil, I will! Another choice is replacing oils in baked goods with applesauce. I've seen articles say you should keep it 1/2 and 1/2, but I do straight applesauce and have great results.
-Pasta. I was always raised with the idea of slipping a tablespoon of butter into my pasta while it boiled to keep it from boiling over. Sure, you pour off the water, but why not replace that bit of butter with a bit of olive oil? In fact, after draining, I add just a tad of olive oil over the pasta to keep it from sticking. It gives it a great taste and says good-bye to sticky pasta!
-Salads...Olive oil on salads, even mixed with some vinegar is yummy!
-One final tip: You can buy olive oil in all sorts of flavors...from extra light to extra virgin. Use "extra light" for dishes you'd rather not enjoy with the "Olive oil" taste, such as waffles and pancakes. Go with "pure" for dishes that could go either way, such as breads and rolls. And, for the yummy taste of olive oil, go for the "Extra virgin" version on salads, pasta, garlic bread, etc.
Here's my challenge to you. Next time you reach for the butter, try olive oil instead. Experiment and see what you come up with. Then, write back and let us know what you discover! Your heart will love you for it.