Best Vegan Kitchen Essentials
With a change to your diet, comes a change in your kitchen. If you're switching up your meals by going meat-free, you might be missing some essential kitchen tools to help you make the transition. And even if you've already adopted this new eating regime, there are still probably a few tools that you never knew could be so helpful in cooking up your daily breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Veganism has never been more popular. Thanks to its impact on overall health, animal welfare and the environment at large, celebrities from singer Miley Cyrus to director James Cameron have gone vegan along with a slew of athletes, most of whom claim it's improved their performance.
A continually growing trend, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports it too, stating that a vegan diet is “healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain disease.” Whether you're transitioning to a vegan, raw food or plant-based diet, or you're a current vegan looking to become a bit more efficient in the kitchen, there are plenty of vegan kitchen tools out there to make meatless life easier.
Cooking at home is a wonderful way to save money and eat more healthfully. You’re in complete control over what you make, what goes in your food, and how it’s prepared. To make the cooking experience enjoyable, it’s important to stock your kitchen with the right equipment that will help you bring delicious plant-powered dishes to life.
Vegan cooking is remarkably easy to learn and delivers all sorts of unexpected payoffs. While most hobbies will cost you money, learning to cook will save you piles of cash compared to eating at restaurants or buying frozen foods. You’ll invariably eat fresher, tastier meals made with higher-quality ingredients.
As your cooking skills develop, you may also grow to love the calming, meditative time spent in the kitchen doing simple tasks like starting rice or chopping vegetables. The basics of vegan cooking are easily mastered. Unfortunately, many beginners don’t know where to begin. So that’s where this guide comes in.
What Does Plant-Based Mean?
If you're not sure what the difference between veggie and vegetarian is, you can always check out the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) website for a more detailed definition. The best thing about vegan meals is that they don't necessarily have to be bland or boring. Though there are plenty of plant-based foods that do tend to be a little bland, these vegan boxes from RAWrBoxes.com provide a great assortment of different plant-based meals that really do live up to their name.
“Most people don't understand the term plant-based and may think it's a new trendy diet,” Marlo Fleischman, Owner/Chef of Fleischman Wellness says. “But plant-based isn't a diet; it's a way of life. I think it's an evolution of a natural, delicious approach to eating that balances diet, health, and body.”
Fleischman's background includes working in some of the country's most prestigious kitchens. In 2013, she made the move to South Florida to pursue her lifelong interest in holistic health. She opened Fleischman Wellness, an organic, sustainable restaurant and wellness center, in November 2017.
Adapting To Vegan Cooking
If you're following a vegan diet, there are a number of essential kitchen tools you should own, to help you get through the process and feel confident that you can cook a vegan meal. And, if you've been vegetarian for a while, but have felt overwhelmed when it comes to having to learn to cook as a vegan, there are even a few tools you should also consider getting.
Making your new diet as hassle-free as possible is important. Cooking healthy vegan meals shouldn't be a chore, nor do you want to spend countless hours scouring the internet for tasty recipes, only to burn yourself out in the kitchen.
Going vegan is relatively easy if you know what you're looking for. You won't be faced with egg replacer cans or weird-looking vegan soups with weird fake meats in them. The best vegan brands and products focus on providing you with the best meat-free options. The latest instant oatmeal craze is vegan. Made from coconut sugar, applesauce and raw honey, this really tastes like a yummy hot bowl of porridge, without the added sweeteners. It can also be made into a hot chocolate mix to keep you feeling healthy and full of energy.
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The Food Processor
Sure, you might be familiar with how to make hummus at home, but have you ever considered using your kitchen appliance for other meal prep items? The food processor does a great job of pulverizing nuts, making pesto sauce and mashing cauliflower to make mashed potatoes. You can also make macaroni and cheese, fusilli pasta and white rice, among other items.
To help you get a jump start on planning your meals, make your recipes the night before and freeze them in one-cup portions in separate containers. You can even freeze food in a number of different shapes, such as round or square or even by type. These single-serving size containers can be great for creating healthy lunches for you and your partner that you can grab and go.
If you're making breakfast, you need a reliable device for churning out your batter, mashing up vegetables and mixing things up in the batter. The food processor has all of the functions you might want in your kitchen — basically, it's the perfect tool for eating healthy — while being compact enough to fit in your bag or drawer.
The Rotisserie Chicken
If you're eating meat-free, you might not have access to your beloved rotisserie chicken. But using a piece of organic poultry in your vegan meal is a great way to incorporate meat into your diet without actually adding it to your meal. Plus, there are plenty of different recipes out there that can be prepared with rotisserie chicken or roasted vegetables.
Before you replace your food processor with a food processor you can buy at a store, try turning your current food processor into a double-duty workhorse. There are a few ways to do this. First, replace the blade with a ceramic one for optimal versatility. Second, for easier blending, use a food processor attachment, like the mini chopper or juicer. Third, you can put your food processor on its side and use it in both upright and inverted positions for a variety of different chopping, chopping, chopping tasks.
The Spray Can
You might think the spray can is just a clever way to get excess oils out of your food, but if you have a food processor, you can turn it into a convenient, more consistent, and faster way to make pesto.
The Veggie Bullet, like most portable blenders, can handle whatever you throw into it. It's got a strong motor that can handle even strong-packed greens and smoothies and uses a lightweight, easy-to-carry container. It's also small enough to hold and blend on the go, whether that's for a quick-prep morning smoothie or a family smoothie-making session at the beach or pool. Because this blender can be used on the go, it's great for anyone trying to cut down on the amount of plastic in their home.
The Multifunction Kitchen Tool
This handy multitasking tool is great for anyone that cooks often or frequently needs to prepare both vegan and non-vegan meals.
The power of a good blender is why you've probably made that huge smoothie or made sure to make plenty of DIY healthy smoothies at home. However, you might not have a standard size blender at home. And a standard size blender is needed for making those thick, creamy smoothies you find at coffee shops.
And even if you have a standard size blender, it can sometimes be easier to pour all of the ingredients in, and then blend everything together when it's done. However, if you have a blender that has a capacity of over three litres, you're going to need something to store that smoothie that you've just made. Whether you've got one of those huge, easy to clean, wide-mouth blenders or something more practical, the NutriBullet is the tool that you're going to need.
Whether you want to make vegetable noodles or use them to make spirals of roasted cauliflower or sweet potato, the spiralizer is a must-have kitchen tool. This device is a great way to get small vegetables, like zucchini or squash, into your favourite dishes. Get one that can fit most food sizes in the spiralizer below, and it'll cut a spiral of veggie into noodles or rounds of roasted veggie rounds for soups and other easy-to-cook recipes. Herb Mincer – It's a miracle worker's herb press that makes quick work of chopping your herbs. Simply pour in a large bowl full of your herbs, and place your herbs in the centre of the press.
Perhaps one of the most beloved and useful kitchen tools, a spiralizer is a tool for all use cases. And for vegan eaters, there are definitely some handy uses for a tool. One of the most common (and practical) uses for a spiralizer is for making quick-cooking noodles.
While there are plenty of varieties of spiralizers on the market, we love the idea of whipping up your own homemade noodles — simply by adding chopped vegetables to your spiralizer and then inserting the spirals. The vegetables are then sliced and fed through the spiralizer until they reach the desired thickness. And with a spiralizer like this one, you can create simple noodles for breakfast, noodles for lunch, or even noodles for dinner.
The Muffin Cutter
Whether you're making baked goods for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the muffin maker will make life much easier. The press releases the perfect-sized muffin at the end of the process so you can get to eating in no time!
The Kitchen Sink
When you're vegan, your options for bowls are basically limitless. If you've got a container on hand for leftovers, or just want a great-looking drink for your lunch, this is definitely a useful addition to your kitchen.
“It's a little-known fact that knives aren't sharp enough without a sharpener,” says Lisa Marques, owner and co-founder of personal care product company Good & Go, who recently launched a line of vegetable peeler tools in partnership with The Takeout. “They never fail to emerge unscathed unless you need a dainty, delicate chef's knife.” Paring knives work well, too, though marques recommend getting a small and delicate knife to achieve precision for soup making.
Plus, Marques adds the process of sharpening your knives can sharpen your cooking techniques. “Everyone goes through phases of simple dishes that require a lot of precision. By sharpening your knife, you'll learn to move your hands and your food around in the bowl, always knowing exactly how much pressure to exert.
There are some amazing vegan products on the market right now, but you're still going to need some of your own. Something that will not only save you from spending an arm and a leg at the shops but help you get the most out of your recipes. If you have trouble finding vegan spices you'll be able to make your own blends using olive oil, ground-up seeds or fruits.
While we love our knives to the hilt, they are not immune to breaking. If you don't want to scrimp on sharpening your knives, having one of these compact, portable sharpener types might be what you need.
We don't always use much salt in our cooking, but if you're one to prepare or season your food in a meat-heavy manner, it can easily add up over time. Having a salt grinder on hand will help you balance your sodium intake, especially if you eat out a lot.
There are multiple styles of kitchen shears on the market to fit every preference. Whatever you're comfortable with in terms of its weight and width, you want a pair that is stable and durable.
This handy gadget is perfect for turning the blandest of veggies into a colourful and exciting side dish. A mandoline can slice vegetables into thin, tasty ribbons, ensuring that they don't get stuck between your teeth. Whether it's sweet potato, pumpkin or zucchini, all you need is some olive oil to season them, some lemon juice to give them that added punch, and some herbs like fresh dill or cilantro, and you're good to go!
Cauliflower Chop – Skip the soft roasted cauliflower and try a more ‘ruthless' approach. A cauliflower chop is basically the same thing as cauliflower, but it's chopped and mixed with spices, lemon juice and a bit of garlic, and it's often paired with the same spices as your roast.
Vegan kitchen hacks are aplenty, and one of the most useful is using a mandoline to slice ingredients thinly for speedy cooking and chopping. But it's not all about the speed. A mandoline will be useful for chopping all types of veggies, which are tricky to handle if you don't have one. And you can use it to slice raw and cooked veggies or fruit as well. If you've never tried one, this tool can save you a lot of time. It might also help you get some free time there too.
Silicone Baking Mat
After years of following a gluten-free diet, many of us have depleted our baking resources. But this versatile baking mat is filled with silicone, which will keep your baked goods baked to perfection.
Plating up a huge platter of vegetables to eat on the weekend and winding up with a kitchen full of greasy fingers might seem a little daunting, not to mention pricey. However, no matter how creative you are in your food creation, it will surely not look as great if it has all been done with a knife. The mandoline is your saviour. Even if you aren't quite skilled enough to use one, the kit you can get from Veg Kitchen Essentials has you covered. With these tools, you can have perfectly cut vegetables ready for your plate.
The Oven Batter Mixer
Just like the pasta maker you see at supermarkets, you can buy a cauldron, a colander, baking cups and spatulas at your local vegan shop. If you're a new vegan, you might be confused as to what you can use in place of this equipment.
When making vegan food, it's best to first freeze whatever you plan on eating in order to prevent freezer burn. But once the fruit, vegetables and grains have been placed in the freezer, there's still some work that's left to be done. And what better way to avoid the temptation of chips, baked goods and other snacks by packing them away into a big container to let them freeze?
Next, grab a dehydrator and place the food into a plastic bag (this will keep your dehydrator clean, and you can toss the bag into the garbage once it's all dried). The dehydrator works by dehydrating food in a relatively short period of time. To put the food in the dehydrator, simply fill the plastic bag with the food and place it into the top rack of the dehydrator.
Let's get this out of the way: most dehydrators are not for beginners. They require more skill and patience than you might be ready for, so if you're a fresh-from-the-farm type of person and want to practice your barbecue skills, buy a protein model from the store. This one by OXO is a solid brand, but also not a cheap one, so there's a strong chance it'll take you a few years to master your dehydrating technique.
This low-tech kitchen item makes cooking meat-free easy because you don't have to buy and process your own protein. Dehydrating your own foods such as beans, nuts and veggies is quick and easy — and far more efficient than continuously trying to extract juicy, delicious flavours from plant foods.
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Make Your Meatless Journey Easier
There are a lot of vegan-friendly kitchen essentials to keep in mind, but without a doubt, the knives are probably at the top of the list for most vegans. First up, a knife block for any extra knives, plus a sharpener and some kitchen shears. If you prefer your knives to be somewhat bigger than your bread and pizza cutter, look for a set with multiple knives, or stackable storage containers with separate sharpening cubes.
If you prefer to cook with wood, look for a Japanese chef's knife that is large enough to handle a lot of items at once, and serrated at the ends for super-sharp slices. To keep things clean and organized, get a utility knife with a glass jar with an open lid.
According to Jess McDonald, Certified Holistic Nutritionist and founder of McDonald Wellness, the best tool you can have to help make a better-for-you meal, is an extra set of eyes. “Paring down recipes is great, but one of my favourite ways to go from batch cooking to having leftovers ready in your fridge is to pair recipes with prepared ingredients,” says McDonald.
“Pressing, cutting, mixing, and chopping can get overwhelming, especially when you're trying to create your own masterpieces. Using prepared, pre-cut ingredients, like bell peppers or onions, gets all of the ingredients to the table so you can be the chef.”
So in the end, veganism is all about choice. The more conscious you are about what you're putting into your body, the better chance you have of successfully veganising your diet. It's very important to start with a clean slate.
More and more vegans are embracing their plant-based diets and dropping animal products from their diets. Not only is it better for the environment and better for you, but it's also the most ethically sound choice when considering where your food is sourced from, where your meat is from, and the fact that it only takes seconds for the flesh of an animal to end up on your plate.
I trust you enjoyed reading the article about the Best Vegan Kitchen Essentials. Please stay tuned. There are more blog posts to come very shortly.
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