Olive oil is in almost every household and in some is treated with the deference of a fine wine. There are even olive oil clubs. It is healthy and delicious and useful for nearly every aspect of your culinary adventures, so it deserves a permanent, labeled location in your pantry.
While many people reach for it when they’re starting a stir-fry, it shouldn’t be forgotten when you’re tossing a beautiful salad either. As a feature ingredient in your dressing, you’ll elevate the flavor and satisfaction factor of your salads.
So what is the best olive oil for salads? With so many options to choose from, we’ve narrowed down the best olive oil for salads to our top 5 favorites. You’ll always want an Extra Virgin variety, and the best choices come from Pompein, Colavita, La Tourangelle, Sky Orangics, and Bragg.
Not all olive oils are made equal and in this article, we examine all of the choices for quality, flavor, price, and more.
Types of Olive Oil
Before you can make an educated decision on the best olive oil to buy for your salad dressing, it’s useful to understand the different types of olive oil available on the market.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, often called EVOO, is without a doubt the best for finishing meals, such as seasoning or using as a salad dressing.
It is obtained from the first press of a batch of olives, retaining the most flavor, aroma, and nutritional value possible.
Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin olive oil has a slightly milder taste than it’s extra virgin counterpart, but it’s made in much the same way and next in terms of nutritional retention. It’s not refined, but it’s slightly more acidic than EVOO and quite uncommon.
You’re not likely to find this at a grocery store, but if you do, it’s a good quality for salads and other finishing touches as well.
Refined Olive Oil
Regular olive oil is sometimes also called refined olive oil, pure olive oil, or just simply olive oil. Unless it specifically says “pure”, regular olive oil is often a blend of cold-pressed and refined oil.
The process for manufacturing this type of olive oil include a chemical and heat stage, which alters the flavor and aroma and burns off a lot of the nutritional value.
In return, it is more resistant to heat and therefore better suited for cooking, baking, or even lightly sauteing your food.
You may also see Light Olive Oil at your favorite supermarket. This is also refined regular olive oil, but it has a lighter flavor. It is not, however, lighter in calories or fat.
Olive Pomace Oil
Olive pomace oil is the lowest grade consumable olive oil you’ll find, and it’s not very common. It’s made from the byproducts of pressing and extracting higher quality olive oil and then topped up with other olive oils.
It goes through a high-heat, chemical process which leaves it nearly flavorless and with little to no nutritional value. The only benefit to this type of olive oil is the price since it’s essentially made from scraps.
The Best Olive Oil for Salads
Now that you understand the basic differences between the types of olive oil, we can start to discuss the best olive oil for a healthy salad dressing.
We don’t the research and come up with the top 5 brands that will bring the best flavor and nutrition to your salad.
|1||Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil||Best in class – flavor, quality, price, et al|
|2||Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil||Highly praised for authenticity and quality|
|3||La Tourangelle, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil||Artisanal and uniquely potent flavor|
|4||Sky Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil||Unfiltered, lighter flavor|
|5||Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil||Reliable, trustworthy healthy brand|
1. Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pompeian is by far the biggest crowd-pleaser when it comes to olive oil. They have done all the work of a true connoisseur for you and labeled their varieties so that the average person can grab the best solution without a second thought.
- Known as “The Olive Oil People,” Pompein has been cultivating high-quality olive oil since the early 1900s
- Owned and operated by olive farmers, craftsmen, and women for whom olive oil is in their blood
- Grown under ideal conditions to preserve antioxidants and sustain the environment at the same time
Three popular options to choose from, in order of preference:
- Pompeian Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pompeian Smooth Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Biggest Drawback: The only criticism of this product is that a few people worry about its quality, stating that it doesn’t solidify in the fridge. This is a skewed criticism, however, because many manufacturers winterize their olive oil specifically so that it won’t solidify, so this isn’t a good test of quality.
Overall, out of the 3 products mentioned above, in over 3000 reviews only about 3% of them were negative and the vast majority of those had to do with the shipping, not the product itself.
2. Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cold Pressed
Colavita is a traditional, family brand of olive oils that has expanded to become international without compromising the quality of its sourcing locations.
It has one of the largest olive oil bottling facilities in all of Italy, arguably the pinnacle of olive oil production.
- Imported from Italy, sourced from some of the most reputable groves in all of Europe
- Tested and approved for quality and authenticity from the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) and the National Olive Council (IOC)
- A favorite of Men’s Health Magazine, who has awarded it the title of “Best everyday cooking oil” twice
Biggest Drawback: Sadly, this olive oil is packaged in plastic. It is a BPA, dark-colored plastic, but plastic nonetheless. Ideally, your olive oil should be kept in a dark, glass jar, or, failing that, a quality metal can, for best quality.
3. La Tourangelle, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
La Tourangelle brings an artisanal aspect to the olive oil business, produced by a Master Roaster in California.
In addition to superb quality olive oil, you can also find a wide range of specialty oils, such as walnut, avocado, sesame, and more.
- Cold-pressed and organic
- Sourced with conscious attention to sustainability and natural products
- Made from early harvest olives and pressed on-site the same day to preserve the antioxidant levels, not to mention flavor and aroma, to the greatest degree
Biggest Drawback: The type of olives and processing for this unique oil creates a very signature flavor which some people find too strong or peppery. Less is more with this olive oil on your salads, but it’s a high impact option.
4. Sky Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cold Pressed
The Sky Organics brand began when one family decided to start making more natural, healthy decisions for their family and couldn’t find high-quality options that matched their budget.
Their products are mainly designed for the DIY body and skincare market, but their EVOO is 100% perfect for your salads.
- Cold-pressed and sourced from organic olive farms in Greece
- This olive oil is unfiltered, retaining the most nutritional value possible
- Has won 22 taste awards over the years
Biggest Drawback: Despite being unfiltered and extra virgin, this brand tends to be lighter in flavor. For many people, this is a plus, but for true olive oil connoisseurs, it just doesn’t taste right if it doesn’t burn the back of your throat a little bit when sipped.
5. Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Bragg is a brand that has become almost synonymous with quality and health. Since 1912 their mission has been, and we quote, “to help you live more vibrantly, every day for the rest of your life.” That’s a statement we can get behind.
- Organic, Kosher and Gluten-Free, and Non-GMO Project Verified
- This oil braggs about meeting and exceeding the quality standards set by the International Olive Council (IOC)
- Imported from Greece, made from organic olives, some of which grown on century-old trees
Biggest Drawback: Another unfiltered version of olive oil, this option is full of nutritional value but lighter on the peppery flavor. You will have to decide for yourself if that is a pro or a con.
What is the healthiest olive oil?
We went in-depth on the types of oils at the beginning of this article, but if you’re looking for the TL/DR version, extra virgin olive oil is by far the healthiest bottle to reach for.
Even better, cold-pressed and organic, packaged in a dark glass bottle and certified for quality is the premium choice.
What are the benefits of drinking olive oil?
You’ve probably used olive oil for cooking and finishing salads or other cool meals, but have you ever considered taking it like a shot?
This has become a popular trend over recent years as health and fitness enthusiasts try to maximize the anti-inflammatory benefits of olive oil, among its many other disease-fighting properties. While olive oil does have many positive components, no evidence suggests drinking it is a good idea.
On the contrary, the nutrients in olive oil are better processed by your body when it’s consumed with other foods. Beyond that, olive oil is extremely calorie and fat dense, so if you’re drinking it, you’re much more likely to start putting on pounds, which comes with its own range of health drawbacks, outweigh any potential benefits of the olive oil.
Is olive oil good for weight loss?
Some people do consider olive oil to be one small factor in an otherwise well-balanced weight loss plan. It’s full of monounsaturated fatty acids, which are known to be heart-healthy and they also help to balance blood sugar levels.
It’s also very anti-inflammatory, which comes in handy if you’re adding physical exercise to your daily routine.
It’s a natural source of a great range of nutrients and antioxidants, so it’s a healthy alternative to butter or other oils, but it’s still very high in calories, so it needs to be eaten in moderation if weight loss is your goal.
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