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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What tools, appliances, and cookware is most important for someone cooking a vegetarian diet? What sort of prep work should I be ready to do most often? We live in an efficiency and have a tiny kitchen, so I need to make every inch of counter and tool count.<br><br>
Day before yesterday we had a vegetarian day, not really because we planned it, but it just worked out that way. Bagels and cream cheese with salad for breakfast, some black bean tacos for lunch, salad for dinner since we didn't really want anything heavier. The next morning, because they needed to be used and/or frozen before they went bad, I had to kosher up some steaks, cutting them into reasonable sized portions rather than the monster portions that they are sold as. Because I had them made up, breakfast was ~5oz lean steak with garlic toast.<br><br>
The reaction from the wife was "Awww.. meat is kind've a letdown now.." So I want to use a lot more vegetarian dishes. However, we live in an efficiency, and I can only have a small number of dishes and tools and such. So I am wondering what the most important tools I need on hand are.<br><br>
Following the discussion after the "Aww..", we will not be using "fake meats" - food must be composed of food, and food must take pride in itself rather than trying to pretend to be things it isn't. Tofu is fine so long as it is presented as tofu, though we don't want to overdo soy products and become "soyitarians".. the impression we get from many vegetarian cookbooks and the 'health food aisle' is that a lot of vegetarians replace meat with soy, tempeh, etc and other products with absolutely terrifying chemistry textbook like ingredient lists, and then eat more "meat" than most meat eaters. Not sure how accurate that is.... but if we want to eat meat, we will get some meat. It's just that we don't want meat as much these days...<br><br>
I need to know in what directions my kitchen needs to evolve to make that happen. It's not quite clear yet to me, i'm not sure what the new core staples are going to be or need. I don't know what is "We do this so we can make fake meat" that we will not be doing, what is "We do this to make this uncommon recipe that's good when the moons and stars align", and what is "We eat some form of this several times a week, so we do this every few days to keep it stocked up, <i>so we need to have the tools to do it ready all the time..</i>". I also don't know what the most common and best prep methods are.<br><br>
Any tips?
 

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I don't even know. My kitchen tools didn't change since i became a vegetarian. I use a wok pretty often to do some vegetables, next is probably a baking tray and also a baking dish, and a boiling pot for things like pasta and rice.<br><br>
A blender is something I use pretty often as well<br><br>
I also have a slow cooker and a mini grill. I don't use them too often but I can see how thety can be one of the favorite cooking tools of some people.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>JusticeZero</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2971530"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
the impression we get from many vegetarian cookbooks and the 'health food aisle' is that a lot of vegetarians replace meat with soy, tempeh, etc and other products with absolutely terrifying chemistry textbook like ingredient lists, and then eat more "meat" than most meat eaters.</div>
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you can certainly get all sorts of fake meats, but it's very easy to avoid using them - I only rarely have them (personally I think most of them taste weird). Explore the cuisine of the world - personally I love middle eastern & indian cuisine - though I doubt my versions would be considered hugely authentic.<br><br>
If you don't have a food processor I'd recommend one. I mostly use mine to make up hommus & falafel mix, as well as other sauces/dips. Screw paying 4 bucks for a pathetic little tub of hommus at the supermarket. Premade falafel mix is pretty exxy too. If you're feeling lazy and making a soup or stew food processors are great for turning vegetables into piles of vegetable bits really quickly.<br><br>
As for other stuff, I use a wok, a skillet or a big saucepan/pot for about 90% of my cooking. A french pan/dutch oven can be great for stews too.<br><br>
It's also good to keep basic ingredients on hand - I have a big box full of spices, and probably about ten kilos of assorted beans & grains, so all I need to do is grab a few fresh veggies and I can make up a meal.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>JusticeZero</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2971530"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
a lot of vegetarians replace meat with soy, tempeh, etc and other products with absolutely terrifying chemistry textbook like ingredient lists</div>
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Tofu, tempeh and seitan are all fine to eat; none of them are "fake meats". Tofu is made from soy milk in much the same way that cheese is made from cow's milk. Tempeh is fermented soy beans. And seitan (which you didn't mention, but it is a staple in some veg*n's diets, including mine) is made from wheat gluten, which is the protein in wheat flour. All perfectly natural and healthy foods.<br><br>
It's also against the rules to talk about eating meat here.<br><br>
As for your question, I use my blender/food processor on a daily basis, sometimes several times a day. I use it for smoothies and sauces/gravies, and to finely chop certain vegetables.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I recognize that they aren't inherently "fake meats", but most recipes and products seem to be all about trying to turn those into something that "nobody will even know that they aren't eating hamburger/turkey/ham/whatever!". Those violate our principles on food.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>JusticeZero</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2971856"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I recognize that they aren't inherently "fake meats", but most recipes and products seem to be all about trying to turn those into something that "nobody will even know that they aren't eating hamburger/turkey/ham/whatever!". Those violate our principles on food.</div>
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So you'll eat real meat, which millions of people and animals die to produce, but eating plant proteins that happen to mimic the preparation of real meats "violates your principles on food".<br><br>
Okay player.<br><br>
Also, I'm not sure what recipes you're looking at, but I hardly ever come across ones that specifically set out to fool people into thinking they are eating real meat. Check out anything by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and you'll see what I mean. While her chickpea piccata is amazing, I'm not sure it'll fool anyone into thinking they are eating chicken.
 

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Are you looking to add more vegetarian meals to your diet or do you intend to become completely vegetarian?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We want to add a lot more vegetarian meals to our diets. Meats are unlikely to go to zero in the nearby future, but it could happen at some point. I haven't worked out enough vegetarian dishes to cook to completely populate a menu for a week, let alone a year. We kind've feel 'bleh' if we overdo meat, which is part of why we'd been cutting back on them for quite some time already, and the few vegetarian recipes I know taste good.<br><br>
Re: Jennyface: You might not come across them much. Coming from someone who is considered an omnivore though.. many materials and presentations and products have been made up to try to appeal to me, a member of the carnivorous masses, to convince me that vegetarianism is a practical alternative. These tend to be massively dominated by recipes which contain huge amounts of tofurkey type products, TVP (with vegan "meat flavoring"), and the like. They never seem to try to sell me on, say, eating a black bean meatless chili with corn chips that doesn't contain some meat substitute, or black bean tacos, or eggplant parmesan, or lentil soup, or some other shamelessly meatless dish because "gosh darn it, it just tastes good". It's always "Put these processed products in and you'll think there's meat in it!" Kind've insulting, really. I'm not sure why anyone thinks that anyone who eats meat will suddenly see the light because they are fed some commercially processed, artificially meat-flavored substance, and it creates a very odd, monastic, pathetic impression of vegetarians in those exposed to them that i'm sure is not usually the case. In a nutshell, people are happy to try your vegetarian dishes that play to the strengths of the ingredients, but things like tofurkey creep people out and make them ask "What do they do at home, spend twenty minutes sculpting tofu into the shape of a pork chop every night?"<br><br>
Also, while I can hold a candle for a great many causes, I can only keep the flames of activism stoked and burning brightly for a small number of issues. Animal cruelty and farming practices was cut from my final list in favor of trying to get people to quit driving three thousand pound death boxes around everywhere, something that most people don't seem to care about even after they know just how awful it is. Which is, i'm sure, analogous to an experience that a lot of veg*s likely encounter a lot with trying to explain their menu choices to people. Yes, I care that animals are treated badly, but I reserve my rage for people who do things like strap their children into a car to drive a mile in the completely mistaken belief, even in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that "it's safer". grrr.. Animal production is more petrochemical intensive than farming (which is, mind you, also petrochemical intensive) and so i'd like to cut back. That's relatively peripheral, so my rage and passion really isn't up to the task of standing alongside people who are passionate on that issue in particular. I apologize (though unrepentantly) if I am insufficiently zealous on your particular issue for your taste.<br><br>
So: Food processor, wok, pots (I have pots), a dutch oven (wanted to get one anyways, for no-knead bread) and a skillet is what i'm hearing so far. Is a blender so substantially different from a food processor as to need to be gotten seperately?
 

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When you mention "fake meats" that have a million ingredients in them, I can only assume you're actually talking about things like Morningstar crumbles or Quorn fake chicken or meatballs or whatever that are often made from TVP and do have long and scary ingredient lists. If these violate your principles, eat them sparingly or not at all. Tofu and tempeh are not the same thing. They are pretty minimally processed and not really unhealthy at all.<br><br>
I definitely 100% recommend a food processor if you don't have one. I use mine all the time. At least twice a week or so. For salad dressings, sauces, or soups/stews. Also really good (frequently sharpened) knives will make your life a lot easier. Although I guess these things are probably both also true for omnivores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yep, things like those. Omnivores only know those as "Fake meat" and are generally given the impression, usually justified by the next flier full of 'why you should be a vegetarian' recipes that look like a nightmarish parody of a healthy cookbook they are handed, that that is the main purpose of soy/tofu.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>JusticeZero</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2971978"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Animal cruelty and farming practices was cut from my final list in favor of trying to get people to quit driving three thousand pound death boxes around everywhere, something that most people don't seem to care about even after they know just how awful it is. Which is, i'm sure, analogous to an experience that a lot of veg*s likely encounter a lot with trying to explain their menu choices to people. Yes, I care that animals are treated badly, but I reserve my rage for people who do things like strap their children into a car to drive a mile in the completely mistaken belief, even in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that "it's safer". grrr.. Animal production is more petrochemical intensive than farming (which is, mind you, also petrochemical intensive) and so i'd like to cut back. That's relatively peripheral, so my rage and passion really isn't up to the task of standing alongside people who are passionate on that issue in particular. I apologize (though unrepentantly) if I am insufficiently zealous on your particular issue for your taste.</div>
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There's room for both: I hate cars (four wheels bad, two wheels good) and I'm vego <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"><br><br>
A blender is ok for smoothies and stuff, but won't be able to do a lot of the "heavy lifting" of a food processor - I'm actually wishing I bought a bigger one now. You can get integrated blender/processors though if you like, I think they look goofy though. Personally I just use a stick mixer if I want a smoothie - they're fairly versatile (can use em to blend down a soup) as well as being cheap and small, and not as much of a PITA to clean as blenders can be.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>JusticeZero</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2971530"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
What tools, appliances, and cookware is most important for someone cooking a vegetarian diet?</div>
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It's only meat you are removong from your diet. It doesn't require any special cookware.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
While it is technically true that I am <i>removing</i> meat, I am <i>adding</i> vegetarian entrees at the same time to take their place. Those are what I am asking about.<br>
For instance, I have not needed a wok in a long time. None of the meat recipes I am used to need one. I have no food processor.. because the last one I had a year or so ago mostly collected dust. Those things aren't important for most meat dishes, nor are they needed for most of the side dishes that go with meat dishes.
 

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To be veg*n you really need no extra equipment. It's a bit of a nonsensical question to be honest. It depends on what you are going to cook. If by vegetarian meals you mean you're going to knock up a stir fry often, when you didn't before, then yeah perhaps a wok will be an investment. This isn't a veg*n thing though, it's just a general kitchen thing and depends on what kind of meals you will be making.<br><br>
As I'm vegan I tend to make everything from scratch from base ingredients like bread/ice cream/smoothies/cakes/ice creams etc.. so a food processor and an ice cream maker were very worthwhile purchases for me. I use the processor daily. If you will continue to eat animals and cook a lot of ready made processed foods then perhaps it wouldn't be worthwhile for you.<br><br>
Nobody can answer the question but you<br><br>
*shrugs*
 

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Like another poster said it depends a lot on what your planning to cook. Since going vegetarian I've started making a lot of things from scratch when before I would buy them premade. This has more to do with wanting to know what's in my food and get healthier then going veg though. Also I have a very limited space as you do. Not because I live in a studio but because I live with 2 other people and everyone cooks for themselves and while my apartment isn't small it's not huge eather. Here are the things I use most often. Ninja, it's a combo blender food processer and has become my BFF. Large stock pot. I actually use 2 but thats more because I cook once or twice a week and eat the leftovers for the rest of the week. Otherwise stock pots are best for cooking pasta large amounts of beans, soups ect. Skillets, I have two one big one and one medium one. I use these for everything from sauteeing vegetables to making pancakes. a medium sauce pan. Great for when you need a pot but not a huge stock pot. Cookie sheet for baking whatever. A good chefs knife. I have other knives but they were cheap and so not as good. I use the cheap knives when my chef's knife is dirty. The stock pot is stainless so it doubles as my casserole dish but if your pots can't go in the oven buy a casserole dish. Spatula, latel, and mixing spoon. Thats about it. In terms of food supplies I always have the folowing on hand: Spices and lots of them, dry beans of all varieties, whole wheat pastas, brown rice, raw sugar, cocoa powder, vegetable broth or boullion cubes, whole wheat flour, rolled oats, nutritional yeast, and vital wheat gluten. Other things to keep stocked are canned and frozen fruits and vegetables.<br><br>
HTH<br>
Audrey
 

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Assuming you have some pots and pans, I don't think you need anything special for veggie food. A wok isn't necessary -- a large saucepan or even a kettle will do if you have limited space. A sharp chef's knife or something similar is useful, and well as a veggie peeler (for potatoes, carrots, etc).<br><br>
I would say give it a try and see what meals you like best. That will help guide what new equipment might make things easier.<br><br>
You should be aware that this is a forum for vegetarians. Just FYI, talking about how you want to keep eating some meat isn't going to serve you very well here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>RunnerVeggie</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2972430"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
You should be aware that this is a forum for vegetarians. Just FYI, talking about how you want to keep eating some meat isn't going to serve you very well here.</div>
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Would you prefer me to lie when asked a direct question? So far, the omnivore negative stereotypes of veg*ns seem to be being reinforced with how often people are objecting about this. Seems a little bit like sneering at and taunting someone for being overweight and trying to jog a couple miles a day for exercise instead of sitting at home in front of a bowl of potato chips, since they don't fit in with the sleek marathon runners.<br><br>
I have most things listed. (Including the stock pot, which collects dust because it makes vastly more food than we are actually able to use) It's 'what do I need for things that get used over and over' that I was puzzling over. For example, I heard somewhere that a lot of recipes required tofu to be 'pressed' to be used. I'm not clear on what works best to do that, or how often that comes up with a fairly diverse selection of recipes, even if one just looks at recipes for making tofu. I would like to learn to make those recipes. So I ask, incase there's some things that pop up a lot as important that managed to fall under my radar with my previous cooking knowledge.<br><br>
I already cook most things from scratch. I AM TRYING TO EAT MORE VEGETARIAN DISHES. Right now? I want to be able to have a couple of 'vegetarian days' in a row, more often, without my wife being embarrassed by health annoyances (such as 'i'm sorry, I probably shouldn't have had all those bean dishes..') by the meals I cook. Then after that, i'd like to be able to have vegetarian weeks. After that I dunno because I haven't gotten to that point and I have a lot of things to worry about in my life right now beyond what i'm eating, and I don't know what sort of things i'm going to have to deal with in a month. So far, eating out occasionally and not having any real choice as to where because of annoying sequences of events beyond our control has come up a couple times.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>JusticeZero</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2973324"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Would you prefer me to lie when asked a direct question? So far, the omnivore negative stereotypes of veg*ns seem to be being reinforced with how often people are objecting about this. Seems a little bit like sneering at and taunting someone for being overweight and trying to jog a couple miles a day for exercise instead of sitting at home in front of a bowl of potato chips, since they don't fit in with the sleek marathon runners.</div>
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You're missing the point here - this is not just a vegetarian board, but a board FOR vegetarians, which is a difference. If you intend to go veg*n eventually, then you're more than welcome to ask questions here to your heart's content, but by signing up you agreed to the rules that state that this is supposed to be a safe haven for veg*ns.<br><br>
Besides that, cooking veg*n meals requires no different tools from omni cooking. I use my food processor more now but that's because I cook more extravagant things in general, it's not specific to veg*nism. Just experiment and add tools if you think you could do with them. (As in, if you find yourself every week tired from grating five pounds of potatoes by hand, it might be a good time to invest in a processor that'll do the chopping for you <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"> )
 

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Really sounds like you need more education on veg*n diets and cooking than need for special utensils.<br>
1. Using meat takes up more time and kitchen space. You have to worry about cross contamination-different cutting boards, different knives.<br>
Main reason omnivores use so many frozen veggies in the microwave.<br>
2. You seem to be perusing the "organic" aisle. Stop. It's the bulk section for beans and grains. The produce aisles for fresh veggies. Organic fruit and veggies may cost more, but I bet you'll eat them all, because in general, they taste better. I know so many people who trash fresh vegetables and fruits bought cheap because they just weren't good.<br>
3. Beans don't have to be gassy. They never were for me, but I always rinse, soak, rinse and cook well. Using a bay leaf or a piece of sea vegetable called kombu is supposed to help. You may just need adjustment.<br>
4. I use a mandolin slicer, microplane for ginger, garlic, and citrus zests. Food processor gets used more now. Cast iron skillet! When only used for plant products, it's just wipe and it's clean! Can be stored in stove.<br><br>
I hope you succeed with vegetarianism! It can be local, cheap, healthy AND delicious!<br><br>
Instead of focusing on the negetive stereotypes of veg*ns, you should think about the anger omnis have for them! This forum is the only place veg*ns can discuss without addressing animals used for food. We don't see them as food.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>JusticeZero</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2973324"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Would you prefer me to lie when asked a direct question? So far, the omnivore negative stereotypes of veg*ns seem to be being reinforced with how often people are objecting about this. Seems a little bit like sneering at and taunting someone for being overweight and trying to jog a couple miles a day for exercise instead of sitting at home in front of a bowl of potato chips, since they don't fit in with the sleek marathon runners.</div>
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RunnerVeggie was just letting you know (rather politely I must add - no need to be so defensive) that this board is a safehaven for veg*ns, who generally have to put up with a lot of abusive and intolerant behaviour towards what is a positive lifestyle in so many ways, and that it would probably be best not to mention your omnivorous/carnivorous tendencies <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
If you're trying to eat more vegetarian dishes that's fantastic. I hope your aim is to go totally veggie, or possibly even vegan. you would be doing your colon, your arteries, your planet and other earthlings a great benefit.<br><br>
Back on topic, as I (and others) have stated there really is nothing extra you need. You mention pressing tofu. I simply wrap the tofu in paper towels, and put something heavy on it for half an hour - a few books, a large bowl of water etc. Repeat with fresh towels after about 20/30 mins and voila - pressed, dry-ish tofu ready to soak up the condiments and spices of your choice. Some people say to freeze the tofu but I personally believe it ruins the texture.<br><br>
You don't need anything extra generally. If there was a specific preparation technique you needed advice on just ask, but you certainly don't need to be buying lots of extra equipment. It depends on what you are going to make. Even then, most "specialist" dishes can be made using conventional equipment (frying pan instead of a wok, plastic bags instead of an ice cream maker etc)
 
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