Today we’re featuring reviews of two companies that we personally love and use all the time! Chosen Foods Avocado Oil has a permanent place next to our stovetop where we use it for almost all of our cooking. It’s the only oil we’ve ever found that works well both in dressings and for sauteing and for frying. Meanwhile, Wild Planet is our canned seafood of choice and you’ll often see Stacy eating cans of tuna or salmon for lunch at work. Katy provides her review and shares recipes that we’re dying to try!
I think sometimes people who follow a Paleo lifestyle might get a bad rap for being ravenous carnivores, eating pounds and pounds of red meat at every meal, usually off the bone, presumably in a grok squat, like the cavemen that we are trying to emulate, right? Well, it simply isn’t true. Before Matt and Stacy were the King and Queen of all things Pork (see Beyond Bacon), Stacy actually grew up as a vegetarian, and still has friends and family members who are vegetarians and vegans.
I think it is extremely worthwhile to point out that there are some great, nutrient dense paleo options for those who either can’t or choose not to eat meat for whatever personal reasons. Which is why I have paired these two product reviews together, as they take care of two important parts of a paleo diet for those who abstain from meat.
The Paleo Parents Team were graciously sent two care packages from Chosen Foods Avocado Oil and also Wild Planet Seafood, although we weren’t strangers to these brands by any means. (Want to win your own care packages? Read to the end to find out how to enter!) I have personally been buying Chosen Foods Avocado Oil and Wild Caught Canned Tuna and Sardines from Wild Planet for about as long as I have followed a Paleo lifestyle, and they are permanent staples in my pantry.
One of the best changes a person can make initially when transitioning to a Paleo template of eating is to change the type of cooking fats and oils they are using. Highly processed vegetable and seed oils are incredibly bad for you and hard on your body, and while the Paleo Parents and I champion saturated fats like lard and tallow from healthy animals, I know that might be a stretch for some people, especially someone transitioning away from a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Good quality olive oil is great for making dressing and using as a raw condiment, but we know now that it really isn’t great to cook with as it can turn really bitter if heated too high, and I personally have never really enjoyed the flavor that olive oil lends to cooked dishes. Coconut oil is also another plant-based oil, but there are TONS of people who just can’t stand the taste, and lots of others who are allergic to coconut.
Avocado Oil really is the perfect plant-based oil. It’s light, slightly buttery, and with a hint of nuttiness that seems to go well with foods when used raw in dressings, and it is extremely mild when used in cooked foods. Avocado Oil has a wonderful high smoke point of 500+ degrees, so I love to use it when I am roasting my favorite roasted Chicken Wings or a pan of simple roasted vegetables. The high smoke point is also great because I can pan-fry and stir-fry vegetables without worrying that my heat is too high. I actually love to use it to shallow-fry thinly sliced baby potatoes on weekend mornings to make crispy, buttery home-fries – my husband’s favorite!
To make: Shallow fry thinly sliced potatoes in about a 1/2 inch of Avocado Oil for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. When crispy, take them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and season with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and chopped green onions!
It’s also high in monounsaturated fat whereas most oils with high smoke points are high poly fats. Chosen Foods uses a refining process that eliminates the free-fatty-acids, waxes, gums and chlorophyll that cause low smoke point, but because they use a low heat steam vaporization process they’re able to maintain the high levels of beta sitisterol and vitamin E found in its virgin counterpart. And did I mention that it is delicious? Because it is.
One recipe that I make over and over with Avocado Oil is the mayo I learned how to make in culinary school. I usually make this recipe by hand instead of using a blender because I don’t have a high powered blender, and I find that if I make it in the food processor, it comes out too thin for my taste. The chef instructors at my school made sure we could all make a mayonnaise by hand because you never know when your equipment will fail on you, so you have to know how to rely on yourself and your own muscle!
First you start with 3 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a pinch of salt. Whisk that together until combined, then walk away for 30 minutes to let the egg yolks come to room temperature with the other ingredients.
After you have waited 30 minutes, the next step is to start whisking the egg yolk mixture vigorously until it has become light, airy, doubled in volume and significantly a paler shade of yellow than when you first started. Wrap a kitchen towel in a ring around the base of the bowl to keep it from clattering all over the counter.
My egg yolks were from a local farm that raises their chickens on open pasture, so the yolks are bright orange to start and their color only lightened a bit. This step takes about 3 – 5 minutes. (Your arm isn’t tired yet, right? You can do it!)
Ok, almost there. Now you gotta add in 2 cups of delicious, buttery Avocado Oil drop by drop at first while whisking vigorously. After about a minute, you can start to stream in the oil while whisking, but in a very small stream. Gradually the stream can get a little larger, but not much. Every 15 seconds or so stop streaming in the oil and just whisk to make sure all the oil is being incorporated and emulsified.
After you have successfully added all 2 cups of Avocado oil, you are free to flavor your mayo however you like – I personally love extra lemon juice (about another 2 tablespoons), more salt and a big pinch of cayenne pepper. The golden hue of the Avocado Oil and the bright orange yolks make my mayo luscious, lemony, buttery, almost like a hollandaise.
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 1 large pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 2 Cups of Avocado Oil
- extra lemon juice, cayenne pepper and extra salt to taste
- 1. Combine the first four ingredients and allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes.
- 2. Whisk egg yolk mixture for 3-5 minutes vigorously until doubled in volume.
- 3. Add in Avocado Oil, drop by drop at first, then in a stead stream, whisking constantly.
- 4. After all the oil is emulsified, add in lemon juice, cayenne and salt to taste and whisk again to combine. Store in a mason jar in the fridge for up to a week.
So now that we have this awesome buttery mayo, let’s combine it with some Wild Caught Tuna! I know you may have seen tuna salad before, but mine has a fresh, southern twist. My mom and I love to go together for lunch at a small cafe in Columbia, South Carolina called the Gourmet Shop. I always get their Tuna Salad served in a half a cantaloupe. Sounds weird, but something about the creamy tuna salad and the sweet cantaloupe always hits the spot for me. In each bite I get a little bit of each, and the best bite is the last one at the bottom where all the juice from the fresh cantaloupe has mixed with the last of the tuna salad… perfection.
Last time I was home at my parents lake house, my mom and I recreated this dish, but added our own flair with toasted pine nuts, finely chopped chives and fresh lemon zest to make it special – and of course with homemade, healthy mayo. With a glass of Iced Tea, there’s not a lunch I love more!
- 2 cans of Wild Planet Tuna, drained and well flaked with a fork
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/4 cup diced green pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely minced chives
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1/3 cup dry toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup Avocado Oil Mayo (recipe above)
- 1 cantaloupe, halved with seeds scooped out.
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Simply combine all ingredients thoroughly, and divide between the two cantaloupe halves. Serve with iced tea and enjoy with someone you love!
Admitedly, tuna is the product I eat most from Wild Planet, but I have also grown to love their sardines as well. I’ll admit, I was a bit scared to try sardines, but once I got the guts to do it, I discovered that they are YUMMY and satisfing. My husband loves the Sardines in Marinara Sauce the best, and I love the Lemon Sardines in Olive Oil the most. (*Note, the Marinara does contain a small amount of sugar)
Wild Planet also has canned wild caught Salmon and Shrimp, which you could also substitute in the above recipe for a quick protein and fat packed lunch that will last you to dinner time. The Wild Caught Baby Shrimp would be an awesome easy substitute in Stacy’s favorite Eastern Market Shrimp Salad.
Would you like to win a sampler pack from Chosen Foods Avocado Oil and Wild Planet Foods?
*US Residents Only*
We think these two are a match made in paleo food heaven, and a great combo for those who aren’t keen on land animals quite yet. Good quality oils and wild caught, nutrient dense seafood as protein can be a great foundation for a real foods diet, and we can’t say enough how much we personally love and use these two products and we want to give one lucky winner the same sample packs that we were lucky enough to receive from these two awesome companies. If you would like to learn more about Chosen Foods different lines of products and their practices, you can check out their website. You can also visit the Wild Planet Foods Website to learn about their sustainable seafood practices and high quality seafood products.