If you’re new to vegan or vegetarian cooking — or cooking in general — you might wonder what tools you need for the kitchen. After all, the world of kitchen equipment can be overwhelming! Walk into any store and you’ll find rows (and rows) of pots, bowls, and gadgets in every shape and size.
Instead of picking up random items and hoping for the best, consider these 11 essential kitchen tools for vegans and vegetarians. Take it from us: These pieces not only cover the basics, but make healthy cooking a breeze. Before you know it, you’ll be whipping up nutritious homemade meals in the comfort of your own home.
1. Cooks Standard Classic 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Cover all your bases with this classic cookware set by Cooks Standard. This stainless steel set, which includes two saucepans, two skillets, and a stockpot, is ideal for novice and experienced cooks alike.
2. Kitchen Knife Set with Oak Wooden Block
No kitchen is complete without a trusty knife set. Yet, that doesn’t mean you need to drop more than $2,000 on a deluxe collection, like this 36-piece knife set from Williams Sonoma. For just 50 bucks, you can snag a modest 7-piece collection that gets the job done.
Besides, as a vegan or vegetarian cook, something tells us you won’t need fancy steak knives.
3. Cuisinart 9-Cup Food Processor
From cashew cheese to dairy-free dressing, most vegan and vegetarian foods are cheaper to make at home. But in order to make that happen, you’ll need to invest in a quality food processor like this 9-cup version by Cuisinart. You’ll thank yourself later.
If you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind manually processing food, check out this $20 food processor by Zyliss.
4. Ninja Professional Countertop Blender
While Vitamix has a cult following, some of us can’t swallow the $400+ price tag. But thanks to Ninja, you can score a professional countertop blender for just over $100. With its 4.5-star rating and a 72-ounce pitcher, this useful appliance will blend everything from ice to whole fruits.
5. Spiralizer 7-Blade Vegetable Slicer
One of the tastiest (and easiest) ways to up your veggie intake is to spiralize veggies into “pasta.” We’re big fans of zucchini noodles, but you can also use veggies like potatoes, beets, and carrots. Plus, with seven diverse blades, you can make chips out of apples, radishes, and more.
Don’t have a lot of space? This $7 hand-held spiralizer might be exactly what you need.
6. Mueller Multi-Blade Mandoline Slicer
Whether you’re meal prepping or cooking for a crowd, a mandoline slicer can instantly save the day. With five interchangeable blades, you can quickly slice, grate, and julienne veggies for a variety of meals. This particular mandoline slicer by Mueller Austria also features adjustable blades, so you can easily change the thickness of each cut.
7. Mueller Onion Chopper Pro Vegetable Chopper
Say goodbye to “onion tears” with this clever onion chopper by Mueller. With a single motion, you can dice onions and keep those pungent odors in one small box. According to product reviews, it can also chop veggies like tomatoes, peppers, and celery.
8. EZ Tofu Press
Tofu is a staple in vegan and vegetarian cooking. But in order to properly cook and enjoy this plant-based protein, you’ll need to remove all the water from each block. That’s where this handy tofu press comes in. After just 15 minutes, you can evenly press tofu bricks until dry. Crispy baked tofu, anyone?
9. Progressive ProKeeper Herb Keeper
There’s nothing worse than starting a recipe only to find that your fresh herbs have wilted. But with this compact storage unit, you can keep your herbs fresh for an extended amount of time. Not only does it fit up to three bunches, but it’s ideal for storing asparagus stalks, too.
10. OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer
Long gone are the days of prying out pits from avocados. With this avocado slicer from OXO, you can safely de-pit an avocado with a single twist. The tool also neatly cuts avocados into separate strips, making it a must-have gadget for every avocado lover.
11. Premium Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
Last but not least, you’ll need a variety of sturdy mixing bowls. A 6-piece set like this collection is useful for tossing salads, kneading dough, whisking sauces — just to name a few. To top it off, these bowls nest together, so they’re perfect for saving space.
Feature photo: New Africa/Bigstock