Not only will having the right kitchen tools on hand make whipping up a healthy vegan meal easier and faster, but it's fun to play around with new kitchen tools. That said, if you're not used to cooking many meals at home, you may be wondering what sort of kitchen tools you'll need in a successful vegan kitchen. Below are some good items to keep in your kitchen.
A vegan cookbook or two:
Having good vegan recipes on hand is the best way to encourage yourself to cook. If funds are low you don't even need to buy a cookbook, simply pick up a few vegan cookbooks at the library or start jotting down cool online vegan recipes into a notebook.
Below are 10 top vegan cookbooks to check out...
- Vegan's Daily Companion
- Chloe's Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes
- Color Me Vegan
- The Joy of Vegan Baking
- The Vegan Slow Cooker
- The Conscious Cook
- The Juicing Bible
- Peas and Thank You - slightly annoying (see review) but good recipes
- The Vegan Table
- The Moosewood Cookbook - FYI not totally vegan but well worth a look for how it covers all sorts of vegan staples like rice and veggies.
Measuring cups and spoons:
A decent set of measuring spoons and measuring cups are really important for vegan cooks. Vegan cooking, especially baking, can be a little tricky if you don't measure correctly. Eyeballing ingredients is not the best plan if you're new to this whole cooking business.
A hand mixer:
A hand mixer will allow you to whip up amazing vegan mashed potatoes, creamy vegan cupcake frosting, sauces and more much faster and better than you can mix by hand. I use my hand mixer all the time and it's paid for itself about a million times over.
An inexpensive vegetable steamer:
Owning a basic veggie steamer ensures that healthy veggies are just a steam away. You can also use your steamer to steam fruits for quick fruit spreads or other fruit dishes.
A salad spinner:
Wet salad greens suck. The best way to make sure you eat enough fresh veggies is to make sure those veggies are clean and prepared properly. An inexpensive salad spinner will help you do just that.
A smoothie can be a meal all on its own so a decent blender is a really nice buy. You can also use your blender to mix dips, make popsicle creations, homemade vegan coffee drinks, mix lightweight grains, sauces and much more. You don't need to pay a lot either. I had the same $30 blender for about 10+ years and it got a lot of use before it died. Note though, an inexpensive blender, while nice for liquids or sauces is not useful for large amounts of ice or nuts.
A wok or at least one large frying pan:
You need a large pan to make stir-fry and any number of other vegan dishes.
Some decent knives and a cutting board:
A pastry cutter:
Being able to whip up a decent pie crust is useful when making dough for desert pies and hearty pot pies and it's great for many other staples like biscuits as well. In a pinch you can even use your pastry cutter to mash potatoes or avocados.
At least one cooking pot with a tight lid:
I've visited many a house that has pots and no lids, which isn't cool considering that lids come in handy when making sauces and rice and when you need to keep food warm before serving, among other things.
An all purpose grater allows you to grate orange, lemon and other citrus peels so you can add zest flavor to stir fry, sauces, baked goods, rice and other dishes. You can also use a basic grater for garlic, onions, carrots and other veggies and fruits.
A decent whisk allows you to thicken sauces with ease as they cook or make creamy vegan frosting if you don't own a hand mixer.
This is a basic tool all vegan kitchens need in order to remove blemishes from fruits and veggies and it can double as a grater too.
Clean veggies and fruits are so much nicer than dusty produce.
A good stainless steel strainer is a must for pasta dishes, rinsing dried beans and rice, draining potatoes and so much more. You can get a silicone or recycled plastic strainer, but stainless steel, aluminum or wire mesh is better as then it can double as a veggie steamer in a pinch.
Glass jars or other food storage containers:
Good storage containers allow you to save leftovers OR better yet you can prepare double or triple servings, then save those servings for a meal next week. I suggest you get some containers that will pop in the freezer easily for leftovers, but use glass jars (cheap and chemical-free) for bulk goods like dried rice, grains and pasta.
Optional Vegan Kitchen Tools
Some vegans love their juicers, especially the raw vegans I've met. Some don't feel they're necessary (count me in that category). Juicers are handy though if you really like to make use of super fresh fruits and veggies. To learn more visit the links below.
A food processor:
A food processor allows you to quickly mash garbanzo beans for hummus or slice and grate to make quick salads, salsas and sauces. A really good processor can be used for grains and nuts too which comes in useful for tons of vegan dishes.
Slow cooker or crock pot:
If you want to make lots of vegan chili, soup, stews or sauces at once with minimal work, then a slow cooker or crock pot can help. You can also use a crock pot for applesauce, greens, BBQ tofu and more.
If you make a lot of rice, you might want a rice cooker. I personally think it's a waste of space (a pot works fine) but some people I know LOVE their rice cookers. Some rice cookers double as veggie steamers as well.