Having your very own kitchen can be daunting. What exactly are you supposed to fill all those cupboards with? Chances are you’ll be spending most of your time in your kitchen, so it may as well be properly stocked.Have prop equipment can actually make cooking more fun for those that dread entering the kitchen. We’ve been cooking for a while, both good and bad, but over the last two years these ten items are what we would call our ‘kitchen essentials’.
After spending nearly my entire vegan journey in the kitchen I have compiled a list of my top ten kitchen essentials that any vegan or any cook in general should have. If you plan on cooking for yourself at all, these ten kitchen essentials will make a world of a difference. Not only can proper equipment mean you do things right, but it also means your cooking is quicker, easier, and a lot more fun.
Items that are both expensive and inexpensive, this list may run you a pretty penny. That shouldn’t deter you from buying them, think of some of the more expensive items as an investment rather than a purchase. We promise if you take care of any one of these kitchen essentials they are going to last you years and maybe even a lifetime (we’re looking at you cast iron pan).
Amazon, $35 / Amazon Canada, $51.99
Even if you aren’t a chef you should invest in a good chef’s knife. The difference a good knife can make is like night and day. They are designed for people to cut quickly and efficiently. It makes prep work smooth and quick and significantly more fun. I know this sounds weird, but trust me. A high quality chef’s knife is the most important tool for any kitchen. Chef’s knives can cost a pretty penny, but if you shop sales you can find a decent one for around $50. This is without a doubt THE kitchen essential every cook needs, whether your beginner or professional.
High Speed Blender
Amazon, $529.99 / Amazon Canada, $699.99
Any vegan will tell you to get a good blender, it can completely change your life. There’s nothing worse than a green smoothie with leafy chunks, at that point you are literally just drinking salad (and nobody wants that). It’s important that your blender can handle everything you need it to do, so investing some money into this should be expected. Most vegans need a blender that can make a smoothie, cheese sauce, peanut butter, hummus, sauces and so many other things. As a vegan you’ll probably have a closer relationship to your blender than you do with most people. Unsure whether to purchase a Vitamix or Ninja? Check out our battle of the blenders video for more details.
Cast Iron Pan
Amazon, $14.88 / Amazon Canada, $64.99
This is one of the best investments you could make. Once you start to use one, I promise you’ll never stop. Not only is a cast iron pan safe for the stove and the oven (and the BBQ!), but it also distributes the heat very evenly when cooking. You can literally cook whatever you want in a cast iron pan and it will most likely turn out better than in any other pan. Taken care of, a cast iron pan can last a lifetime. Purchase a cast iron pan and it will be your new best friend (but just don’t tell your blender).
Amazon, $10.52 / Amazon Canada, $21
Having some good baking sheets can really change the way things are cooked. I have cooked with lighter baking sheets and darker ones, and definitely prefer the darker sheets. The cook seems more even, which is always beneficial. It’s also good to have these in all different sizes, because nothing sucks more than washing a giant pan that you only used a quarter of.
Amazon, $14.98 / Amazon Canada, $32
These mats are amazing. Can’t say much else, they are the best things I have ever received as a gift. Not only do they save you a ton of money because you don’t have to buy parchment paper, but they also save you a lot of cleaning time because you aren’t putting food straight on the baking sheet. These sheets are also great for oil free baking as they don’t stick to the sheet and the allow the food to still get crispy. If you don’t own a silpat mat, you need one, now.
Tip: I have owned both Silpat and cheaper varieties, and the Silpat vastly outlasts the others.
Amazon, $6.29 / Amazon Canada, $10.66
Did you know your oven is a liar? They all lie, yours is no exception. For a more accurate bake I always recommend buying an oven thermometer. They’re super cheap and save a lot of food from being under cooked or burnt. You may not believe this, but my oven said it was preheated at 350F when it was actually only 260F. If that doesn’t convince you to get an oven thermometer, I don’t know what will.
Wood Cutting Board
Amazon, $39.80 / Amazon Canada, $145.24
Cutting boards can take a beating if you use it frequently, which is why it is so important to get a high quality hard wood one that is at least 2 inches thick. These types of cutting boards can withstand any abuse to it and will last you a really long time!
Amazon, $26.49 / Amazon Canada, $74.99
Stir Frys are one of my go to quick meals. Pick a grain, throw in some veggies and tofu and you have one heck of a delicious dish. Especially paired with a good teriyaki sauce or peanut sauce. Woks work best when super hot and have a huge cooking surface, so everything cooks fairly evenly. I use woks for a lot of things and many of those aren’t stir frys. This is one pan everyone should have, especially if you like Asian food as much as I do.
Amazon, $15.99 / Amazon Canada, $12.99
If you haven’t noticed, we use a citrus juicer in almost every single recipe. They are inexpensive and super handy when making dips, sauces, dressing, and marinades. By buying a simple tool like this, your limes and lemons will go a lot farther. Believe it or not, you are probably missing out on a lot of delicious juice by simple squeezing by hand. Kiss that problem goodbye with this handy gadget.
Not a tool, but just as important as everything we’ve listed prior. Spices add so much flavour to your dishes, especially when you’re a vegan. Start out by buying small amounts in bulk to see what spices you like and use the most. Eventually you may even be like Kat (spice obsessed) and owe almost 50! If you’re normal, a good mix of about 15 spices is a great start.