Although awareness is on the rise in Italy and many facilities are updating their menus, recipes and produce, following a 100% plant-based diet can be quite challenging, especially when it comes to experiencing local gastronomy and traditions. Pairing the vegan diet and olive oil is a delicious and simple solution for those who don’t want to give up the pleasures of an authentic encounter of the food kind.
The Vegan diet with a healthy Tuscan twist
Tuscan cuisine isn’t all about steak “alla fiorentina” and actually offers many interesting alternatives for vegans, from first course dishes to desserts. Ribollita, vegetable soups, pasta, great salads, nuts legume-based plates and some of the common appetizers are simple, healthy and 100% green – and all share a common ingredient that will drizzle your tastebuds with pure Tuscan goodness: extra virgin olive oil.
Associating the vegan diet and olive oil can actually be quite beneficial and a nice bottle of EVOO is always appreciated as a gift or souvenir. Fats are an essential nutrient in the human diet and extra virgin olive oil in particular can play an important role in supporting optimal health, as demonstrated by the world-renowned Mediterranean lifestyle.
Olive oil contains antioxidant vitamin E and provides over 36 different phenolic components, proven to protect against blood clots and reduce bad cholesterol. Oleocanthal in particular, which confers evoo’s pungent sting in the back of the throat, is a great anti-inflammatory compound. Its culinary appeal is undeniable and, used in moderation, can also be helpful to those who are following weight-control programs and boost your immune system. The consumption of extra virgin olive oil is often suggested during pregnancy because of its Omega-3 fatty acids to favor a healthy development of the foetus and placenta.
The vegan diet and olive oil in the kitchen
Obtained from the first pressing of the olives, unrefined extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and its nutritional value is affected by heat, light and air. To keep things light and fresh, a simple swirl of extra virgin olive oil is the perfect dressing for cooked and uncooked greens, not to mention unsalted bread, pasta and soups. Be careful when it comes to cooking: certain desirable nutritional features of EVOO can be lost because of its mid-range thermal resistance. However, recent studies show that its overall degradation by heat is less than many other cooking oils, including sunflower oil, canola, and peanut oil.
The harvesting of the olives in Dievole is a human endeavor. Our unique plants have been handed down throughout the centuries and each olive grove is monitored with care. After the pick and pressing, each batch is stored in stainless steel vats and the bottles are designed to reduce the impact of UV-ray penetration by 97%. Glass containers can be recycled or re-used, to get rid of grease cleanse them with a thin bottle brush and soak with a mix of hot water and pure salt. Stick in the oven at low temperature to dry. In addition to respecting the environment, this way you can give a second life to what once contained one of Tuscany’s most beloved and trusty ingredients.