These 10 essential vegan kitchen essentials will help make plant-based cooking easy, simple, and quick! You don’t need a lot of fancy kitchen gadgets, these basic kitchen staples will get you started!
When you’re starting a WFPB diet, having the best vegan kitchen essential tools is very important. Plant-based cooking is simple, and as such it’s best to keep your kitchen simple too. With just a few vegan pantry staples, you will find yourself working smarter, not harder, to create delicious vegan meals.
You don’t need a ton of gadgets clogging up your cabinets, and many of the things you do need you likely have on hand already. How can you decide which tools you really need to cook delicious vegan meals? You actually only need a few in order to have an efficient kitchen. So, before you spend your hard-earned money on expensive tools, read on to see if they are really necessary for a vegan kitchen.
Cross-check your kitchen inventory with my top 10 vegan kitchen tools, and don’t forget to grab my Pantry and Fridge Stapes Guide HERE!
Why It Is Important to Have these Vegan Kitchen Essentials
As you’ll see below, each of these kitchen gadgets will be a huge help in your kitchen when you are cooking vegan meals!
- These vegan kitchen tools will make preparing your food much easier!
- All of these kitchen gadgets will help expand your meal options.
- They are all kitchen items that you will find yourself using very often.
- These are all things that I frequently use in my kitchen and they help me create delicious vegan meal options!
- With only the kitchen items on this list, you are able to create hundreds of different vegan meals.
When I was putting together my wedding registry eons ago, my mom insisted that I register for a food processor. I had no idea what I was going to do with a food processor. As a kid I watched my mom use hers for a number of meat dishes she made, as well as her superb and delicious gazpacho, but I wasn’t sure as a vegetarian (at the time) if I needed one. I registered for one per her request, and I am so glad I did! Since following a whole food plant-based diet my food processor has become one of my essential vegan kitchen tools.
I use it several times a week. I use my food processor to make veggie burgers, veggie loaves, and banana nice creams, quickly chop or shred vegetables, prepare the dough, and so much more! It dramatically cuts back on my food prep time, which as a busy mom of two is necessary in order to make meals for my family fast. I recommend getting a 9-cup food processor at a minimum. The smaller ones just don’t hold as much and you’ll end up needing to work in batches. It’s so much easier to throw in all the ingredients at once and pulse. A food processor is at the top of my vegan essential kitchen tools list for good reason. You’ll find yourself using it almost every day! A good food processor is definitely a vegan kitchen staple.
A high-speed blender is one of those things I waited a while to purchase because of the price tag. I had a blender that I received as a wedding gift. It did the job for smoothies okay, but when I added my leafy greens I still had tiny pieces floating around. I didn’t mind that too much, but my kids didn’t like it at all. When my blender’s motor died, I decided to upgrade to a high-speed blender. No more tiny spinach pieces floating in my smoothies anymore! I was also able to make nut butter in my blender, and creamy dairy-free soups. The Vitamix is the most versatile but also the most expensive. A good mid-range high-speed blender is the Blendtec Classic. The Ninja Professional is an excellent high-speed blender at a very affordable price. Having a good blender will make a world of difference in your kitchen! There are so many things that you can make in a blender on a vegan diet that will pack fruits and veggies into your diet.
Making vegetable noodles is a breeze with a spiralizer. My husband ate veggie noodles a lot when he would go on a low-carb diet. He’d pick up the pre-packaged spiral noodles from the grocery store in the pre-cut vegetable or frozen section. They were extremely expensive. I figured the cost of a spiralizer would pay for itself, and it has! This spiralizer comes with a cookbook, and handy attachments to make vegetable pasta, vegetable chips, and beautiful salads. It’s a great way to sneak extra veggies into your kids’ meals too. A spiralizer is definitely something to add to your list of vegan kitchen essentials.
4. Crockpot or Instant Pot
My crockpot/slow cooker is one of my best friends in the kitchen. This is another one of those kitchen tools I remember from my childhood. My mom worked full-time as a teacher. Her time-saving trick was to throw a protein, a can of tomatoes, a few vegetables, and maybe a chopped potato in the crockpot, and when we all got home from school our house was filled with the scent of dinner.
I make plant-based crockpot meals at least once a week to cook dried beans, which saves a ton of money compared to buying canned beans. I also use it to make curries, soups, and chilis. You can use your crockpot to prepare breakfast too. I prep a fruity oatmeal or warm quinoa before I go to bed, and in the morning I wake up to the smell of cinnamon.
An instant pot is another option for pulling together a quick meal when you get home from work. Either or both are great time savers for cooking vegetables. making flavorful soups, preparing lentils, and beans, and should be on your list of vegan pantry staples.
5. Tofu Press
If you’re going to introduce tofu into your plant-based lifestyle and you want the meat-eaters in your family to actually eat it, you need a tofu press. It’s one of those vegan kitchen essentials you probably don’t have in your kitchen.
For the longest time, I prepared tofu by cutting it into chunks, marinating, and then throwing it into a stir-fry or bowl. I’d serve it to my kids and husband, and they’d push the tofu to the side of their plates. They hated the texture.
Then I got a tofu press. It presses out the water in tofu improving both the texture and the taste. With firmer tofu, my family gave it another chance. Now they actually like tofu! For tasty pressed tofu, a tofu press is a vegan kitchen essential.
One-pot meals are one of my favorite ways to get dinner on the table. A large dutch oven or stock pot works perfectly for making chilis, soups, and curries. I also use mine to boil water for pasta, then toss it with sauce and veggies.
I love the Calphalon Stainless Dutch Oven because it’s safe to use in the oven, and on the stove, and clean-up is a breeze because it’s dishwasher safe too. Although, I find it cleans up quite easily with warm water and soap. It cooks evenly and has straining holes making it easy to drain pasta or remove excess liquid. I’m slowly converting my non-stick cookware to stainless cookware for safety reasons, and I find that this stainless dutch oven works just as well as the non-stick one I used for years. Either of these would be beneficial to have in your collection of kitchen gadgets.
For pancakes, veggie burgers, tofu, veggies, and stir-fries, a large frying pan or cast iron skillet is a necessity. It serves so many purposes. I like a frying pan that also has a lid for versatility. There are so many delicious vegan meals that can be cooked in a large toxin-free frying pan. It is definitely a vegan pantry staple. When you’re reducing oil or not using oil at all, having the ability to sauté veggies and make pancakes can be tricky if you’re not using a non-stick pan. As I mentioned above I’m phasing out my non-stick cookware for safer Teflon-free cookware. I discovered a brand called Green Pan that makes 100% toxin-free non-stick cookware. I use their 10-inch frying pan and 4.5 qt sauté pan. You can also get a set that includes an 8-inch and 11-inch covered frying pan.
Roasting vegetables, baking your own fries, or making a batch of vegan cookies, an extra large sheet pan is just the thing to save you time. You will find yourself using this pan all of the time. It is a must-have for your collection of vegan kitchen equipment.
As I’ve been phasing out my non-stick cookware, I’ve also thrown out all my old plastic food storage containers, and have replenished my supply with glass storage containers. Having glass storage containers in various sizes is great for keeping chopped vegetables, storing leftovers, or making single-serving meals with leftovers to take for lunch. I have this 24-piece set. I like it because it’s leakproof, making it perfect to bring lunch on the go. It’s also completely safe as it’s BPA-free, FDA-approved, and can be thrown into the dishwasher or microwave. Don’t let any of your pantry staples go to waste – these glass storage containers are great for making ingredients last longer. They are airtight and will help keep your leftovers fresh.
A super simple and inexpensive tool to amp up the flavor in your plant-based meals is a Microplane. I use mine to zest lemons, limes, and oranges for a citrusy flavor in dressings like my maple dijon oil-free dressing on this Summer Berry Salad. I grate fresh ginger for curries, stir-fries, and other recipes. You can use it to shred fresh coconut, or chocolate for desserts too. This is something that you won’t find in every kitchen, but it is definitely an essential vegan kitchen tool to slice your vegetables to perfection.
Other Vegan Kitchen Tools
While the tools that I have listed above are all handy to have, there are some basics that I feel that everyone, vegan or not, should have in their kitchen that didn’t make the list.
- A sharp, quality chef’s knife set will help speed up your cooking.
- I also like to use a vegetable chopper to help prep my veggies. These can cut large amounts of vegetables at one time, saving you a lot of work!
- An extra large cutting board is also a plus in a vegan kitchen. You’ll find yourself chopping a lot of veggies, and it is nice to have room to do all of them without having to use multiple chopping boards.
- An air fryer is a game-changer! One of my favorite things to make in my air fryer is this Air Fryer Squash and Zucchini.
- A steamer basket is another one of my favorite vegan kitchen gadgets. It makes steaming your vegetables a breeze.
- Mixing bowls, stainless steel measuring spoons, and cups, as well as a few good spatulas, are essential for all your vegan baking needs.
Be sure to grab my Pantry and Fridge Staples Guide to build your plant-based pantry.