Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Dip with Olives and Herbs.

How to Shop for Quality Olive Oil

While olives seem like such unassuming little fruits, they’re a powerhouse when it comes to cooking! Olive oil’s versatility and heart-healthier fat makes it a great cooking oil. With all of the various olive oils to choose from, how do you know which one to buy? We’re here to help you understand our olive oil types, their quality and tips for cooking with them.

Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil next to Pink Himalayan salt.

Picture courtesy of Julie Fagan of Peanut Butter Fingers

Next time you’re searching for olive oil, try one of the three we carry year-round: Carlini 100% Pure Olive Oil, Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil and SimplyNature Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil. They can be spotted by the red seals on their packaging. This seal identifies them as North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) certified quality. Wondering what that really means? We’ll explain the NAOOA process and why it’s important!

To be awarded the NAOOA Quality Seal, our olive oil must meet or exceed the standards of the International Olive Council (IOC). Think of the IOC as the authority on all things olive oil, recognized worldwide for its quality-setting and for detecting olive oil fraud. Our NAOOA oils are sampled and tested at least twice a year by IOC experts. They conduct random testing of oils directly from grocery store shelves – the same place you shop our olive oil! Each time you cook with our NAOOA quality oils, you can be confident that your olive oil is 100 percent pure and authentic.

So, which of our olive oils do you choose? Like wine, each olive oil has a unique and complex flavor profile depending on the origin, blend and timing of harvest. There are differences between extra virgin olive oil and pure olive oil, both in taste and in usage.

An overhead shot with vegan tomato soup ingredients.

Picture courtesy of Jeanine Donofrio of Love & Lemons

Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or EVOO) is naturally extracted and is the most flavorful of all olive oils. The range of possible flavors is so vast that, with practice, you can identify distinct citrus, floral or grassy notes.

EVOO’s bolder flavor means it easily enhances food with a simple drizzle. It’s excellent served on pasta, potatoes, salads or even as a simple dip for bread. Since EVOO is typically more expensive than pure olive oil, you can always save it for dishes that need a “finishing touch.”

Looking for the perfect recipe to try with our quality EVOO? Our SimplyNature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil shines in this recipe for vegan tomato soup from Jeanine Donofrio of Love & Lemons!

Pure Olive Oil:

Although EVOO gets a lot of attention, there is plenty to love about pure olive oil too. Pure olive oil, like its virgin counterpart, has no other ingredients or oils in the bottle. Since it has a high smoking point, it is ideal for sautéing, frying, roasting or grilling as it caramelizes and seals in moisture while cooking. Its milder flavor also gives pure olive oil a cooking advantage: it won’t overpower your food. Substitute pure olive oil for butter in baking to keep your treats moist, or make it the base for a dressing, sauce or dip.

Check out this creamy cauliflower dip by Amanda Paa at Heartbeet Kitchen where olive oil and other yummy ingredients like olives and cauliflower combine!

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Dip with Olives and Herbs.

Picture courtesy of Amanda Paa of Heartbeet Kitchen

We hope you now feel like an olive oil connoisseur! Remember to look for the red olive branch seal to identify our NAOOA quality oil the next time you shop at ALDI. What’s your favorite way to use olive oil? We’d love to hear yours in the comments below!