If you are new to vegan cooking, you might find that your preparation time runs a bit long. So much chopping, juicing, grating, and other work involved for fruits and veggies to taste their best. Luckily, there’s a lot of kitchen equipment available to help you out and significantly reduce your prep time. In addition to pots and pans and other basic kitchen items you probably already have, it is worth looking into purchasing the following:
Tofu Press: If you’ve ever tried to drain tofu before, you know that it can take up to an hour and about a million paper towels. A tofu press saves time (and trees!), giving you perfectly drained tofu in about 15 minutes.
Olive Oil Spritzer: One ubiquitous ingredient found in vegan cooking is olive oil. Instead of dumping a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan or drizzling it straight from the bottle over veggies, use a spritzer to evenly coat your food or cooking surface with the desired amount of oil. This saves olive oil and calories!
Cutting Board: This one is a no-brainer. You need a large, sturdy surface to chop your veggies and herbs.
Combination Mandolin/Julienne Slicer: Many vegan recipes call for veggies sliced very thin, or sliced like sticks or noodles. Using a mandolin or Julienne slicer makes quick, easy work of an otherwise tedious process.
Citrus Juicer: Fresh lemon juice and lime juice are common ingredients in dressings, salsas, and other vegan recipes. A juicer helps you get the last bit of juice out of each piece of fruit. The one featured here even strains the seeds so they don’t end up in your food.
Microplane: A microplane is useful for zesting lemons and limes, as well as grating foods like garlic, ginger, and whole spices.
Veggie Peeler: Another no brainer. Peeling veggies with one of these is much easier and safer than using a paring knife. This particular peeler does double duty as a scrub brush.
Food Processor: If you hate chopping vegetables, then invest in a food processor if you don’t have one already. Vegan recipes involve a lot of chopping, but if you throw everything in the food processor instead of chopping it by hand, you can shave at least 15 minutes off your prep time. Also, these are great for making soups, salsas, tapenades, and dressings. The one I linked to is pretty pricey, so if you’re on a budget you can find one for much cheaper.
Quality Chef’s Knife: Again with the chopping. A good knife will make it easy to chop vegetables and herbs quickly and safely, thereby cutting down your prep time. In addition to a good knife, I recommend taking a knife skills class at your local cooking school, if you have one.
Mini Processor: The Magic Bullet is a life saver. This little guy makes smoothies, dressings, vegan “cheese” blends, and minces small items like garlic and herbs in just a few seconds. It’s very handy when you don’t feel like dragging out and cleaning up after the big food processor.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good start. What are some of your favorite kitchen gadgets?