There’s a lot you can do in the kitchen with just a good couple of knives, a cutting board, a bowl or two and a wooden spoon. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you have to have lots of kitchen equipment in order to cook. On the other hand, some good kitchen equipment can help you make a larger variety of things.
First things you’ll need are things to cut with. Get good ones, and you’ll be a much happier camper. Plus you won’t have all those little uncut onion pieces.
You’ll need at least two types of knives. The first is a chef’s knife. Truth be told, this
is not the knife I own, but it’s the one that I want. There is nothing like a good knife for being able to get a fine dice. Nothing, I tell you! Regardless of the knife you have, the only way it will work for you over time is if you keep it sharp. Dull knives are more likely to slip while cutting, putting you at more risk for getting cut! Fortunately, it’s not hard to find a knife sharpener
The second type you’ll need is a paring knife
. This does things like help you chop and peel apples, pit dates and cherries, take the stem off of tomatoes and cut fancy shapes in radishes (oh, how I wish I could do that). Same rules apply as above for keeping it sharp.
This one is optional. It might seem strange to see a cleaver
on a vegan blog, but they’re really helpful in opening young Thai coconuts. And you can make tasty things like raw chocolate cream pie
with young Thai coconuts! Don’t worry, you can also use your chef’s knife for that purpose if you need to.
are a tricky thing. A large one is a must-have, as this makes the task of dicing vegetables much easier. Space is key. But food safety is another matter. If you’re vegan and only cook vegan, it’s not so much an issue when it comes to cutting boards, but if you’re an omnivore who has made your way here, you must be careful when cutting meat. If that’s the case, I’d highly recommend using a plastic or silicone
Pizza & Bread Making Equipment
You don’t need an expensive pizza stone to get the job done. This, or something like it will do the job quite nicely. The stone is the key to getting crispy bottoms on pizza or bread. I actually find it helpful even when I’m making a frozen pizza. It will get pretty messy looking after a while, as things like loose cornmeal with burn onto it, but don’t worry about it; just wipe it down periodically.
A pizza paddle is an awesome, awesome thing. It’s that magical piece of equipment that helps you get the pizza (or bread) actually on the pizza stone. That, and a whole lot of coarse cornmeal. It can also be used as a cutting board. One caveat, this particular model split a bit down the middle when I first used it for Vegan Pizza Day. I might try this onein the future instead.
I’ve been in to no-kneed bread lately, and have found my new cast iron dutch oven
to be indispensable. Not only does it work anywhere you might use a dutch oven (like making soup or boiling water), but the lid doubles as a skillet! It’s perfect for making things like frittatas
, where it goes from the burner into the oven. Love this!
Pastry Making Equipment
Pastry making doesn’t have to be completely daunting! If you’re trying to make your pastries with a couple of forks to crumble your Earth Balance and flour, it may take some time, but there is equipment to help you out!
A pastry brush is helpful for well… brushing things. 🙂 Earth Balance, oil, jam, and cornstarch slurry are all things that you may find that you need to spread on something. This is probably the least specialized of the pastry tools- you’ll find that it’s useful for more germane things like brushing barbecue sauce and marinade. It’s even helpful for scallion pancakes. A clean (never used) paint brush can be used as well.
A pastry scraper is also a tool that has some versatility. Aside from its use with pasty and breads (splitting and scraping), it’s also useful for scraping up chopped/diced/minced vegetables, like onions.
A pastry cutter
is less versatile than the others, but you don’t have to be making fancy pastries to use it. If you’re doing anything that requires a crumb topping that contains margarine or shortening, this would be helpful. On the other hand, you can also use two forks for the same purpose.
Yes, these things are more money. But they’re so worth it! Maybe you have someone who doesn’t mind dropping a bit of money on you for your birthday or other holidays, or just thinks you’re really special. 🙂
If there was one piece of equipment that you were going to invest in, I highly recommend a Vitamix
. It’s not just a blender. Yes, you can make some awesome green smoothies, but you can also make almond milk (from scratch!), some types of juices, hummus, cut vegetables, and with the dry blade
, you can even mill your own grains! I know it’s a lot of money, but it’s something that you’ll use for the rest of your life.
Less expensive, but no less useful is a good food processor
. This can also be used for things like cutting vegetables and making hummus. It’s also helpful for things like a raw pie crust
! If you were to have to choose between the Vitamix and this, I’d go with the Vitamix, but if you can’t afford the Vitamix, this is a good start. I use this more for things like hummus and veggies and dry mixtures, with the Vitamix for the rest.
You know you want one. Little girls dream of putting this on their wedding registries someday. Yes, I’m talking about a KitchenAid Stand Mixer
. You don’t have to wait to get married to own one of these. It’s okay as soon as you’re a grown-up. Or at least have your own kitchen with room to store it. 🙂 It’s amazing not only for regular mixing tasks, but for kneading dough, too. There are also attachments
for making pasta!
I will continue to add more to the list in the future, but do check some of these out!