Cooking has been a passion of mine for a very long time. When I was growing up, I would always hang out in the kitchen and help my mom cook. Luckily for me, she was a good one! After moving out on my own, I began acquire all of the appliances and gadgets that any good cook should own and over the years I have accumulated quite a decent collection of kitchen tools. Once I decided to go vegan, there were certain kitchen tools that I began to use way more frequently than before, and even some that I was discovering for the first time! I’ve created this list of my top kitchen tools for vegan cooking to help anyone else out there who may share my passion for cooking – especially if cooking vegan food is a new experience.
My Top Kitchen Tools for Vegan Cooking
1. Glass containers
Cooking every night can be time consuming, especially since I work full time. That’s why I love to do a lot of cooking on Sunday afternoons and get meals ready for the week. I’ve always used storage containers like tupperware for my food. But once I went, vegan I found myself spending more time considering my impact on the environment. That is why I have switched to using glass containers to store leftovers and packed lunches instead of plastic or disposable containers. Another thing to consider is that the safety of the materials used in certain types of containers is not always clear. A decent set of these glass containers are fairly inexpensive and they last way longer which saves money over time. One extra perk is that they don’t get stained orange when you save spaghetti sauce! Overall, glass is a pretty good bet if you want to store food more safely while being green.
2. Fine grater
As a garlic lover I find myself using a fine grater almost every time I cook. Almost every recipe starts with some sautéed onions and garlic! These, days I’m making all of my salad dressings homemade and find that the smaller the garlic pieces, the better. Though I’ve tried many garlic presses in my day, they never seem to do the trick and I’ve found that fine graters do a lot better job of creating super minced garlic. It also comes in handy for grated fresh ginger root and even for dark chocolate to make desserts look extra pretty.
A blender is something that is found in most kitchens, but I have found that I use mine so much more since I went vegan. In an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables, I began eating green smoothies every day for breakfast. Having a blender around became not only convenient, but absolutely necessary. A lot of people think that in order to be a legitimate smoothie drinker, you have to use a Vitamix. I’m sure they are wonderful and even I have been eyeing one for some time, but for now, my regular blender gets the job done.
4. Vegetable steamer
Since going vegan my vegetable intake has sky rocketed! I thought I ate a lot of veggies before, but now they really are the majority of my diet most days. Steaming vegetables is my cooking method of choice since it doesn’t add any calories (like adding oil to roast or pan-fry) and because it’s quick. Using a vegetable steamer also limits the vegetables’ contact with water which minimizes loss of nutrients.
5. Citrus juice press
Since removing animal products such as cheese and cream, I’ve been looking elsewhere to create delicious vegan flavors. Citrus juice is actually a component in many vegan cheese-like recipes such as Cashew Nacho Cheese and alfredo sauce. I also use citrus juice in dips like guacamole and dressings like my favorite Peanut-Ginger Dressing. And I almost always season greens and veggies with some lemon juice and garlic. I’ve found that using a juice press makes it so much easier to get a lot of juice out of a lemon, orange or lime.
6. Food processor
I have always had a small food processor around the house but I never used it nearly as often as once I became vegan. These days I use it for so many things including salad dressings, Cashew Nacho Cheese, pureed soups like my Creamy Cauliflower Soup, dips like my favorite Hummus, and even desserts like Raw Banana Cream Pie.
7. Spice grinder
Because I cook most of my own food and my palate is pretty versatile, my spice cabinet has grown to include a very large variety. Spices can get expensive after awhile so I quickly learned that either growing my own spices or purchasing them in bulk was a great way to save some money. Often times, purchasing spices in their whole form instead of pre-ground, can also be a little cheaper. For instances like these, I love having a spice grinder nearby to break the spices into smaller particles for cooking. Most frequently, I use this for cumin seeds or black pepper. I also grind up flaxseeds(great plant-based source of omega-3s everyone!) to put into my morning smoothies.
8. Julienne peeler
I love pasta! And by love, I mean LOVE! I essentially survived on the stuff during my recent trip to Italy. It’s no surprise that pasta is high in carbohydrates so normally I try to limit my intake. However, that does not mean my craving goes away. In order to satisfy my desire for pasta dishes while eating more nutrient-dense whole foods, I started making zucchini pasta! Using a julienne peeler creates long, skinny strands of zucchini that really do create a great pasta substitution. For that reason, the julienne peeler has become my best friend. In addition to creating pasta out of vegetables, this tool is great for anything else you want to cut into long strands such as carrots for salad or cucumbers for vegan sushi rolls. The possibilities are endless!