The Right Tools
Learning to cook in an entirely new way requires a bit of an investment in some new tools for the kitchen. There can be a wide range of prices for appliances so we will link to the exact items we use in our own kitchen and also try to list a few options that we know will work well on a tight budget. All items can be scaled up in quality over time as budgets allow. Items marked as ESSENTIAL are items we consider to be must haves to successfully live a plant based lifestyle because you will be cooking a lot more of your own food and the tools that make the cooking process faster and more enjoyable are key to sticking with the plan.
We try to list a range of options where possible for special ingredients and tools to help stay within a budget, but we do view investment in these base items as an investment directly into our health and wellbeing so we have learned to take them seriously and buy the best we can afford, both for quality of ingredients and tools. We have burned out more than our fair share of blenders, dehydrators, and toaster ovens over the years.
ESSENTIAL: High Powered Blender
A high powered blender is a central tool for a plant based diet, and these are not the typical appliances most people have in their kitchens as blenders. We have owned and extensively used high powered blenders from Vitamix, Blendtec, and Nutribullet. These blenders can easily liquify fresh and frozen produce and make the most wonderfully creamy sauces and soups. You will do well with one of the following:
- Basic Blendtec
- Basic Vitamix
- On The Show: Nutribullet Pro – if you do get one of the larger high powered blenders above we still recommend getting a Nutribullet as it is essential for traveling. We use the Nutribullet Pro every day in our kitchen and on the show.
- On The Show: We use a Blentec 800 Pro which has the awesome noise reducing sound hood.
ESSENTIAL: Food Processor
The food processor is one of those appliances you don’t need until you need it, but for the jobs it does, nothing else quite works as well. There are going to be great recipes in the course that need a food processor instead of a high powered blender to make properly. Many of our dessert recipes like our various cookies and pie crusts need the food processor touch.
- On The Show: We use the Cuisinart FP-12DCN Elite Collection
ESSENTIAL: Sharp Knives
A set of sharp knives with a sharpener, along with some light cutting boards, can make all the difference in the kitchen. We recommend:
- On The Show: Chef’s Knife – this is the knife we have used in our kitchen for years.
- Paring Knife
- Flexible Cutting Boards – we use these multiple times a day and find them useful because of the ability to pick them up and dump scraps in the compost and then easily wash them off.
ESSENTIAL: Salad spinner
We marked this as essential because you will be eating more and more fresh salad greens as you work through the course. It is possible to buy pre-washed so you wouldn’t need the spinner but if you plan to buy bunched kale greens or even grow your own greens it is an essential tool for quickly cleaning greens.
- On The Show: We use the Cuisinart CTG-00-SAS Salad Spinner
ESSENTIAL: Pressure Cooker, Crock Pot, InstantPot
There is a bit of a toss up here on which one (or all) of these cookers is essential. We have ended up purchasing one of each over the years and use them depending on the recipe we are making but you could get by with one of them and just adjust the recipes accordingly. The InstantPot is the most versatile since it is really a pressure cooker and a slow cooker combined and can be left alone with the auto timer while at work. So if we were going to only get one it would be the InstantPot.
- On The Show: We use the Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S-A 6-Quart Cook & Carry
- On The Show: We use the InstantPot DUO60
ESSENTIAL: Waffle Iron
It may seem strange to consider a waffle iron an essential appliance but once you make our waffles or waffle hash browns recipe you will understand. Being able to have delicious and healthy gluten free plant based waffles is such a treat, we tend to have them for breakfasts and dinners when the mood strikes.
- On The Show: We use the KRUPS Belgian Waffle Maker
The remainder of these items are optional and are only needed when venturing deeper into plant based cooking or to make cooking and food storage more convenient.
- On The Show: Dehydrator – Excaliber – we use this model on the show and in our kitchen regularly.
- Spiralizer – spiralizing zucchini for noodles is a revelation. The units are so affordable and can be a regularly used tool in the kitchen.
- Air Popper – making popcorn without oil is a tasty snack that we make on a regular basis.
- Glass storage containers – we cook to make leftovers so we have easy lunches the following day. Getting a decent set of storage containers, for food storage and transport, has proven to be very handy. We recommend glass storage containers to help avoid all the food exposure to plastic and chemicals.
- Mandoline Slicer – we tend to do a lot of chopping and vegetable prep for cooking and a mandoline slider can help speed up the work.
- Stainless steel pots and pans and large soup pot with lids – we always recommend cooking in stainless steel. The non-stick products are known to wear out over time and leave traces of chemicals in the food. The only exception we make to this rule is the waffle maker because it is used much less frequently and we don’t use any kind of utensils on the iron.
- Good can opener – we use a lot of canned beans and chic peas, when we don’t have time to cook them from scratch, and have found cheaper can openers end up breaking so often that we finally opted to get a better built one that can stand up to heavy use in a plant based kitchen.
- Cast iron flat griddle – the main use of the griddle in our kitchen is for heating up tortillas (and we eat a lot of burritos) so it tends to stay on our stove top at all times.
- Big mixing bowls – these just make cooking easier.
- Ladle & Big Spoons – these also just make cooking easier.