Being vegan has never been easier – but it’s always nice to have a little extra help in the kitchen! These 5 vegan kitchen must-haves will make your life easier (whether you’re a new or a long-time vegan)!
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5 VEGAN KITCHEN MUST-HAVES (TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER!)
1) A TOFU PRESS
Ok. This vegan kitchen must-have has been a GAME-CHANGER. A tofu press squeezes some of the water out of the tofu, not only changing the texture of tofu but also making it easier to cook with (it’s less likely to crumble). Pressing tofu also helps it absorb marinades better…which only helps it taste yummier!
(Also ….you will no longer have to gather all your heaviest books and frying pans into the kitchen to press your tofu – if you’re vegan, you know what I’m talking about!).
There are a few different tofu presses available. My favorite is the EZ Tofu Press, available on Amazon. It is super easy to use, and easy to store.
There are other tofu presses (like this popular one) that are fully enclosed, to collect the water that is drained from the tofu (the EZ Tofu Press requires a plate or bowl underneath it to collect the water). The fully enclosed tofu presses do tend to be larger, however….so something to consider if you don’t have a lot of storage space.
2) AN INSTANT POT
Another vegan kitchen must-have is an Instant Pot. I have to admit that when I first received my Instant Pot as a gift, I was a little scared of it. Ok….I was a LOT scared of it! (Ummmm…..all the buttons….and a “steam release valve”…scary! Ok, I’ll just put this thing away and out of sight for a couple of years. Literally).
But once a few friends started raving about everything they were making in their Instant Pots, AND after watching a few “how-to” videos on YouTube, I fell in love.
This Instant Pot does EVERYTHING, and it’s a MUST for vegans who love beans (no soaking or boiling for hours!). . It is an electric pressure cooker, a rice cooker, a slow cooker (bye-bye hand-me-down Crock-Pot!), a yogurt maker (yes, homemade VEGAN yogurt!), a steamer, a sauté pan, and a food warmer.
The Instant Pot has really gone down in price….and I promise, it will MORE than pay for itself with all the uses you get out of it!! Even if you just swap cooking dried beans in the Instant Pot over purchasing canned beans….or start making your own homemade yogurt.
I have the 6 quart Instant Pot – and it is probably a bit TOO large for just one person? But perfect for two or more. The Instant Pot is also available in 3 and 8 quart sizes.
3) A HIGH POWERED BLENDER
I think everyone could benefit from a high-powered blender!…not just vegans. My vegan friend and her non-vegan husband are self-proclaimed junk-food junkies! They subsist on packaged, processed, and fast food (did you know Taco Bell has a veg menu?) After hearing me blab on and on about how much I loved my Vitamix – and trying a smoothie sample at a Vitamix demo at their Costco store (this one) – they invested in one. And now they have a delicious smoothie packed with fruit and vegetable every morning. It’s literally their one healthy food each day.
But high-powered blenders aren’t just for smoothies. They can also make any kind of nut butter (homemade peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter….yum!!), flours, even soup (and they’ll heat the soup up for you too!).
I have had my Vitamix since 2010 (two years before I went vegan), and I pretty much use it every day to make a healthy and delicious green smoothie (like this one!). But I have also used it to make oat flour out of whole oats, and almond butter out of almonds. It comes with an amazing warranty – and the one time I had to send it in for repairs, they fixed it in less than a week and sent it back to me with a brand new container! I love my Vitamix (I think I use it more than every appliance in my kitchen…. except my fridge!).
This is the exact model I have – but there are several models to pick from, and you can even save money by purchasing a refurbished model!
There are other high-powered blenders my friends swear by, including the Blendtec and the Ninja Foodie. All have different features so you can find the right one for you!
4) AN AIR FRYER
When I first heard about air fryers I thought they were kind of gimmicky. Then I learned they could fry food with no oil, and I was kind of interested in one. THEN I tried air-fried tofu at my friend’s house and was sold!! (Have you ever had air-fried tofu? An air fryer makes firm and extra-firm tofu the perfect amount of crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside…..so good!)
I think my air fryer is now my third most used appliance in my kitchen (after my fridge, and my Vitamix as announced earlier). I use it to make healthy, delicious, and crispy no-oil potatoes and fries, cauliflower wings, and crispy burritos (chimichangas). And you can pretty much throw any vegetable into the air fryer with a little seasoning, and it will come out tasting delicious!
After much research (because I’m a nerd like that!), I ended up buying this Ninja Air Fryer (4 Quart). I have had it for two years now and love it. It not only air fries it also roasts, (think potatoes!!), re-heats (for leftover vegan pizza or to freshen up day-old vegan pastries), and it dehydrates (although I have never used the dehydrate feature).
There is a HUGE variety of air fryers being sold now. You can find one that is big enough for one person or a family of four. You can find one in any color and any style, to fit any kitchen. For me, I just wanted something simple to use, with a safe non-stick surface….and that ended up being the Ninja!
5) A GOOD SET OF KNIVES
Most people don’t think of vegan and knives together??….but a good set of knives is SO important for cutting fruits and vegetables….and opening a package of tofu (haha).
There are SO many options of knives out there….at every price point. The knives that I tend to use the most since going vegan are ceramic knives. These tend to be SHARP – great for dicing veggies and slicing through tomatoes. And they STAY sharp – without sharpening.
My favorite ceramic knives (and the knives I turn to most often) are made by Kocera. But I have also found cheaper ceramic knives (that I actually keep in my camping kit) at Home Goods that work amazing as well!