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 lifestyle or you're a current vegan looking to become a bit more efficient in the kitchen, there are gadgets out there to make meatless life easier. From easily adding spice and flavor, to cooking entire meals with the push of a button, consider these essential kitchen tools every vegan should own.
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Vegans and omnivores enjoy spice more than most realize. Seasoning tofu is as much of an art and science as seasoning any meat. So, having a spice grinder can come in handy whether you're creating homemade veggie burgers, adding extra flavor to a plant-based roast or making a stir fry dish. Use electric spice grinders for quick results. If you prefer a more hands-on experience, a mortar and pestle will work, too. Just make sure you have a tool on hand that you enjoy using to help you grind those spices for more flavorful meals.
High-quality knives are among the cornerstone tools for any chef, and they're just as important for a vegan kitchen as any other. Vegetarian Times recommends investing in good knives and taking good care of them by cleaning and drying them by hand. Whether you plan on chopping fresh vegetables every day or simply need to cut into that vegan roast during the holidays, the knife you choose for your kitchen is an important part of preparing and serving meals for your family.
KitchenAid food choppers are indispensable in a vegan kitchen. Use them to make anything from dressings to dips. Vegan author and illustrator Kara Maria shared, "Not only is the chopper easy to clean and quick to assemble, but it chops, purees and blends ingredients into amazingly creamy and healthful dips in only a matter of seconds! I love it for making cilantro dressing, nacho cheese, hummus and pesto. Here's a tip for achieving a rich, cheesy and creamy consistency in your dips and dressings: experiment with ingredients such as cashews, sautéed onion, tofu, unsweetened nut milk and nutritional yeast."
With an entirely vegan kitchen, you won't have to worry about gross cross-contamination of salmonella from raw meats, so you can relax a little with your variety of chopping boards. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to have dedicated chopping boards for different foods. Bamboo and wood cutting boards are best and can be easily cared for, so they last for years.
OK, if you're a vegan, you're already doing great things for the environment by avoiding animal agriculture. However, there's always room for improvement. Adding glass jars to your kitchen can help avoid overusing plastic bags and disposable storage containers. Glass jars can easily be used for storing everything from leftovers to blended juices.
Preparing tofu is an art that most chefs perfect over time. It can be hard to get the hang of it right away. But a tofu press can make it much easier! A tofu press removes excess water from tofu, making it denser and ready for cooking. Choose between a plate-style tofu press and a box-style tofu press. Both leave your tofu with a pleasant texture. One Green Planet reports that firm or extra firm tofu is best for use in a tofu press.
Instant Pots may have once looked like a temporary trend as Instagram and other social media sites showed off the appeal of a one-pot meal. But the Instant Pot has lasting convenience and should be a mainstay if you want a simple way to throw together a nutritious meal and get the results of a slow cooker in a fraction of the time.
All-Creatures.org, an organization that advocates for a vegan lifestyle, recommends a garlic press for vegan food preparation. Freshly crushed garlic adds flavor to savory meals and offers health benefits, too. Happily, garlic presses are inexpensive and easy to use, making them a no-fuss tool for the kitchen. With a garlic press, you can prepare fresh garlic for any meal in under a minute.
Ice cream maker
Cuisinart frozen yogurt and ice cream maker
With Ben & Jerry's now making several vegan flavors and companies such as Breyer's making vegan ice cream too, your options for frozen treats are plentiful. Nevertheless, the power to make your own vegan ice cream is irresistible. With an ice cream maker, you can easily use fresh ingredients such as bananas to make delectable concoctions in the flavor of your choice. If your favorite flavor isn't available in the frozen section of your grocery store, just whip it up yourself.
If you don't plan on doing a lot of cooking in your vegan kitchen, there are seemingly endless options these days for vegan microwaveable meals in most grocery stores. From enchiladas with beans and faux cheese from Amy's Kitchen to Field Roast vegan corn dogs, you can find vegan versions of any comfort food imaginable, making it easy to indulge. If you're not ready for more serious cooking, a microwave can give you access to dozens of vegan meal options that can be ready in under 10 minutes.