By Hara Estroff Marano, published on March 15, 2011 - last reviewed on May 2, 2011
Canola is a variety of the rape plant, a member of the mustard family, specifically bred for mildness. Over the past decade, its oil, expelled from crushed seeds, has been finding its way into home cupboards, valued for salad dressings because of its gentle flavor and favored for cooking because of its relatively high smoke point. Now, scientists find, canola oil contains a nearly ideal mix of unsaturated fats to promote heart health and brain health. Canola oil has the lowest concentration—7 percent—of saturated fats of any commonly used oil. But just as important, say researchers, it's an excellent source of the plant-based omega-3 oil, ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid. Recent studies show that it protects the cardiovascular system by deterring inflammation and clot formation. The mild taste of canola oil makes it the ideal ingredient for that most ubiquitous of condiments, mayonnaise. There is no comparison between homemade and store-bought. Whip up your own—it's absurdly easy—and you'll wind up with a go-with-everything seasoning that has taste, character, the appealing scent of lemon, and cardio-kindness.
Total Time: 5 minutes
Canola oil can be used alone or combined with olive oil. The essential step is adding the oil v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y until the mixture thickens.
1 ¼ cup canola oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice or mild vinegar, plus extra for adjusting consistency
1 whole egg, or two egg yolks (especially for a thicker mayonnaise)
1 tsp prepared mustard (optional, but speeds emulsification)
salt to taste
pepper to taste