Most of us, when we made the switch to vegan (or even vegetarian), realized that our kitchens were suddenly poorly set up for our diets. It can take a long time and a lot of confusion and frustration to get your kitchen really in shape for your lifestyle. I'm here to make that a little easier on you.
Here are 10 items every vegan kitchen needs:
1. Spice Rack
Every good vegan cook needs a well-stocked spice rack. After all, tofu is quite bland by itself.
Wood, screws, and hook: Lowe's
Paint and chalkboard paint: Michael's
Jars and measuring spoons: World Market
Similar items can be found here:
2. Food Processor
I use this thing ALL the time. From smoothies for breakfast to cashew cheese for vegan mac n cheeze, this is a lifesaver. I think I would die without my mac n cheeze.
I am pretty sure I got mine at Sam's Club (or Costco?). You can get one on Amazon:
3. Silicone Baking Mats
I use this all the time because I avoid added oils. It allows me to bake things like tofu and fries and all kinds of other deliciousness without having to put unnecessary grease on the pan! It also helps protect my nice pans (I have a nonstick baking sheet that I don't feel like scratching and getting Teflon poisoning).
I got mine on Amazon. They come in a set of two! And they're super durable.Artisan Metal Works mat on Amazon
They also have the Silpat brand available (a super popular version of this):Silpat mat on Amazon
4. Beer/Wine/Liquor Glasses
Okay, this one isn't exactly vegan-specific. EVERYONE needs a set of these (watch comment section become aflame with "Jill advocates alcoholism!!!!").
My set is mostly an amalgamation of pieces from thrift stores, garage sales, and Ross/TJMaxx. However I do know that you can find the set of beer glasses I got for Tyler last Christmas on Amazon:
They're Libbey, so they're nice and sturdy, plus they make a really awesome gift for a man who likes beer. They're great for women who like beer too, of course, but I suggest it particularly for men just because they can be so damn difficult to buy for.
5. Storage Containers
These are super important for a vegan kitchen because you'll find yourself up to your ears in various beans, lentils, rice, nuts, seeds, grains, and so on. As you can see in the picture I've upcycled quite a few used jars to supplement my nice containers, and I highly recommend it. The nice containers pictured are OXO brand and they are expensive but completely worth it. Airtight and tough. You can get them on Amazon, and they're reasonably priced, but I recommend keeping your eye open for a sale at Costco if you can wait, because you can get a big set for a steal.10-piece set on Amazon
6. FreezerKitty not included.
I understand this is not in everyone's budget, but if you can manage it, it will make your life SO much easier. I buy giant bags of frozen fruit and veggies from Costco and store them all in there, plus I have tons of tupperware full of soups and chilies and such that I made in bulk and froze for lunches (especially handy if you or your S.O. sometimes works through dinner too, like my poor Navy husband).
I got mine at Costco, on sale. I'd link to Amazon for this one but that just seems silly! ;) Costco is great if you can manage it but otherwise I would think Sears or some such appliance store would have a good price on these too. Be sure to choose a freezer that's well-rated for energy use, even if it's a little pricier--it will save you money in the long run, plus it's more responsible!
7. Hanging Basket
You have no idea how useful this thing is until you have it. Mine is fairly empty right now (it's grocery day, I'm out of food, and I am ignoring hunger pains in favor of the internet), but normally this thing is full of potatoes, onions, avocados, garlic, oranges, etc., which frees up a LOT of counter space.
I got mine at World Market:Available at WorldMarket.com
...but you can also get a similar item at Amazon for a little less (how full is your Amazon cart by now? Lol)Wire Basket on Amazon
8. Coffee setup
If you're a coffee drinker, you know how important the coffee setup is. I have a whole section of counter dedicated solely to coffee (and as you can see, I have several kinds included Turkish/Armenian). And everyone knows vegans need a good pick-me-up in the morning to keep them from grumpily stabbing all the people who will inevitably ask them that day how they get their protein and/or iron.
I love my coffee pot (a generous hand-me-down from Tyler's grandparents) because it holds the coffee inside the pot (which keeps it warmer) and you just eject the amount you want at a time straight into your cup. It feels futuristic. A newer version of it is available on Amazon:Hamilton Beach Brewstation on Amazon
...but the important part is the briki (that copper thingum with the handle in the photo). It's how you make Armenian coffee (also known as Turkish/Greek/Arabic/every-other-Mediterranean-and-Middle-Eastern-country Coffee):Copper Briki on Amazon
KitchenAid Ceramic Knives
9. A Few Decent Knives
I'm not going to try to sell you some super-expensive knife set. That's bullshit. Unless you're a professional chef, you don't need that. But if you're trying to live a healthy vegan lifestyle you will be doing a lot of cooking and a lot of cutting, and you will need a few knives that don't make you want to throw them (generally bad practice).
I adore my ceramic knives, because they stay super sharp and they are perfect for just about everything. They're a bit delicate, so you wouldn't want to use them to, like, carve a watermelon, but they're excellent standard knives and you really only need a few.
I have the KitchenAid set from (you guessed it) Costco. They were around 30 bucks, which is really not bad at all. You can get this same set on Amazon:
...or get them individually at Target:Ceramic Chef Knife at Target.com
10. A Pantry for StorageMy makeshift pantry--don't mind the Carnation in there, that's from before the vegan days! #timetocleanoutmycupboards
Last but not least, if you live in a home without a built-in pantry, like I do, you'll need a space for all your shit. I repurposed a Craigslist liquor/china cabinet into a pantry.
I recommend Craigslist, thrift stores and garage sales for this one, because buying it new can get pricey. But if you really want a new one, World Market has cool furniture like this!
What do YOU use in your vegan/vegetarian kitchen that you just couldn't live without?
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