What is Canola Oil?

We know its’ healthy for us, but do we really know what it is? When I conduct a nutrition store tour, I get the question every time we’re in the “oils aisle”, so here is the answer…

Canola oil is made from canola seed. Canola oil is pressed from tiny canola seeds produced by beautiful yellow flowering plants of the Brassica family. Cabbages and cauliflower are also part of the same botanical family! Canola was bred naturally from its parent rapeseed in the early 1970s. Canola, however, is NOT rapeseed – their nutritional profiles are very different.

Canola oil contains the lowest level of saturated fatty acids of any vegetable oil. It is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels, and has moderate levels of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is also a rich source of vitamin E.

These qualities are important in a healthy diet. Fats and oils, such as canola, play an essential role in human nutrition. Fat is part of every cell in the body, a valuable source of energy, aids in absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as beta-carotene, and slows digestion so that you feel full for a longer period.

Enjoy Canola oil in this delicious dish – it makes a great lunch or light dinner that can be ready to go for hungry kids or spontaneous guests. I would definitely double the recipe below, this delicious pasta salad goes fast!

eating-well-recipe 4322

Bistro Chicken Pasta Salad


  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups whole wheat penne pasta, cooked
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled or cooked, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced in rings
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil


Servings: 6 (2/3 cup)

  1. In small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, canola oil and garlic. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, combine pasta, chicken, Parmesan, tomatoes, onion, oregano and pepper, tossing gently.
  3. Stir in balsamic mixture and basil, tossing gently again. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to two days

Nutrition Information:

270 Calories | 6g Fat | 1g Saturated Fat | 40mg Cholesterol | 190mg Sodium | 34g Carbohydrate | 4g Fiber | 21g Protein

Recipe source: Canola Info, canolainfo.org