Olive oil has long been a cooking staple around the world. In fact, its use likely dates back centuries, all the way to the days of the Roman Empire. Today, the olive oil market is huge (in 2023, it was valued at more than $14.6 billion), but while you can find the popular ingredient in most grocery stores, it’s important to note that not all olive oil is created equal. America’s favorite homemaker and cook Martha Stewart wants you to know that to get the best out of olive oil, you really need two types on hand.

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Why you need multiple olive oils in your kitchen, according to Martha Stewart

Back in 2009, in her Ask Martha column for Deseret News, Stewart advised one reader to keep two types of olive oil on hand in their kitchen at all times. Basically, her advice boiled down to this: you need one olive oil for eating and one for cooking, but both should be extra virgin.

Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality olive oil you can buy. It is made from pure, cold-pressed olives, whereas other types of olive oil are often blends. Follow our guide to olive oil to find out more about the different types of olive oil on the market (and whether you should be drinking them—yes, seriously).

According to Stewart, extra virgin is “the freshest and most healthful olive oil.” Indeed, extra virgin olive oil retains more of the natural vitamins and minerals found in olives than other types of olive oil. But olive oil consumption, in general, has also been associated with a number of health benefits, and may even reduce the chances of developing chronic diseases, including heart disease and fatal dementia.

RELATED: 10 Iconic and Meatless Martha Stewart Recipes

Pouring olive oil on pastaPexels

But extra virgin olive oil isn’t just good for you—it also tastes good, too. “Extra-virgin olive oil, made from the first pressing of olives after harvest, has a bright, fruity taste,” says Stewart. To ensure you can actually taste these flavors, though, Stewart advises keeping a nice premium bottle on hand for drizzling over food and another less expensive bottle for cooking. This is because olive oil’s flavor and aroma both deteriorate when it is cooked.

“Use the everyday [bottle] when sauteing, grilling, making sauces, or baking,” advises Stewart. “Serve your best oil drizzled over roasted vegetables, whisked into a vinaigrette, tossed with pasta, or simply on its own with a loaf of crusty bread.”

She added that correct storage is also important when it comes to olive oil. “Oils can turn rancid with exposure to heat or light, or simply with age,” continued Stewart. “To prevent this, store olive oils in a cool, dark place; they will keep for about a year.”

RELATED: What Are the Benefits of Olive Oil? And Do You Really Need to Drink It Before Bed? 

Vegan recipes with extra virgin olive oil

If you’re new to cooking with extra virgin olive oil or are simply looking for new recipe ideas, these five dishes are a great place to start. 

VegNews.WhiteBeanBruschetta.HannahKaminskyHannah Kaminsky

1 Vegan White Bean Bruschetta

Olive oil is a staple of Italian cooking, but it arguably shines the most in the simplest of dishes, like this white bean bruschetta. Made with just a handful of ingredients, including cannellini beans, rosemary, and crusty bread, the generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil really pulls the whole dish together. Without doubt, it’s a stand-out starter choice for your next dinner party.
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VegNews.LemonyVegPastaJackie Sobon 

2 Vegan Lemony Spring Pasta

Finished with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic, this light pasta dish is perfect for spring and summer lunches. It’s arguably best enjoyed outside with a cool glass of lemonade (or sparkling wine, you do you) and a good book.
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Screen Shot 2023-06-26 at 9.06.22 AMKylie Perrotti

3 Vegan Summer Nectarine and Chickpea Salad

Nectarines and chickpeas are about to become your new favorite duo, especially when they’re combined with a little kick of jalapeño, the zest of lemon, and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
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VegNews.ChimichurriAvocadoSalad.ThePerfectBlendThe Perfect Blend

4 Vegan Chimichurri Avocado Salad

Avocado on toast is a classic, but this green fruit has much potential beyond the brunch staple. This fresh salad, for example, with juicy watermelon, chimichurri sauce (made with extra virgin olive oil), and zucchini ribbons is about to become your new favorite way to enjoy avocado.
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VegNews.RoastedPotatoZucchiniPizzaFrugal Vegan

5 Roasted Potato Zucchini Pizza

A pizza with potato and no cheese?! Hear us out. When combined on a crispy pizza dough base, thin-sliced potatoes, zucchini, and arugula make for the perfect summertime dinner. Finish with a homemade dressing of balsamic and olive oil for a truly delicious result.
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