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Culinary Tips #3 - Vegan Kitchen Equipment

August 29, 2019

Whether you're new to the vegan lifestyle, or have been vegan forever but have avoided the kitchen like the plague due to a fear of cooking, cooking can be an intimidating topic to talk about.  Where do you even start?
Image from vitamix.com

Besides the obvious of having great recipes for inspiration, we feel like owning a few good kitchen appliances helps tremendously in gaining confidence and excitement with cooking.  In general, vegan recipes tend to rely on appliances slightly more than recipes you might be used to cooking while on the S.A.D. diet.  For this reason, it might be easier to just eat out or else limit yourself in the kitchen.  But we're here to tell you that it doesn't have to be this way.  Assuming you have the basics at home (a good Chef's knife, cutting board, mixing bowls, vegetable peeler...you get the idea), we've found that only two or three larger appliance purchases might be necessary to be able to cook almost any recipe out there.

Now the first thing you might be thinking is 'money', but keep a few things in mind.  First there are ways to get around the ridiculous prices that some companies are charging [see below].  And second, the items on our list are meant to last.  They will give you the freedom to really create in the kitchen, and in the big picture, can be seen as one-time purchases.

So with that, we present you with a short list of suggested kitchen appliances for the vegan foodie.  [Side note:  The Mint Bunny is not affiliated with any of the products mentioned below.  We're just satisfied customers spreading our recommendations].

  1. High-speed blender ($300 - $400).  Although vegan cooking is possible without a quality blender, we find that it limits the amount of dishes you can produce simply by not having one.  Besides the obvious use of making smoothies, high-speed blenders are equally as handy for savory dishes.  We use it to turn raw cashews into cream for sauces, make sour cream for our favorite Mexican dishes, make vegetable-based cheese sauces, thicken up soups, create peanut butter from nothing but peanuts, as well as create a silky smooth base for mozzarella cheese.  In addition to wet mixtures, high-speed blenders also do wonders on dry ingredients, such as turning oats into oat flour in a matter of seconds.  To get the best of the best without going broke, we recommend getting a certified reconditioned Vitamix.  We went with their standard model (pictured above), and haven't had a single complaint.
  2. Food processor ($180 to $200).  A food processor is something you'll either absolutely fall in love with, or hate with a passion, depending on the size and quality that you end up with.  You might have seen cute little models that start at $40 or so...but steer clear!  Trust us on this...  A food processor worth purchasing needs to have three things going for it.  First, it needs durable and sharp blade.  Think of it as a mini Chef's knife.  If it's dull, you'll just bruise whatever veggies you attempt to chop.  Second, it needs enough power.  The best test for this is to see if it's strong enough to knead dough without jamming or overheating.  Lastly, the bigger the bowl, the better.  There's not much explanation needed for this point; it's just a fact that when you have more space, you can accomplish more is less time.  We use our food processor for whipping up hummus, making pizza dough, making raw dessert crusts from dates and nuts, as well as chopping and dicing herbs and veggies for things like falafel and soups.  We recommend going with the Cuisinart Custom 14 Cup food processor[Side note:  Being familiar with restaurant-grade food processors such as the Robot Coupe (which will set you back at least $1,200) the model we recommend is totally comparable on all levels (except price!)].
  3. Air fryer ($70 - $90).  This last one we initially held off on including, solely because we lived years without one.  But ever since we purchased our air fryer earlier this year, we've found ourselves using it almost on a daily basis.  We have never deep fried anything at home (part health-based and part not enjoying our house smelling like oil for weeks—hah).  But because of this, we either held off on recipes that required frying, or else used our oven to make food crispy.  With the air fryer, you still get that crispiness that deep frying achieves, only you use so much less energy and little to no oil.  We use ours for french fries, veggie burgers, falafel, warming up pita bread, roasting veggies, and so on.  And we still have our fair share of experimentation coming up, which hopefully will include yeast donuts, cauliflower wings, and homemade seitan chick'n tenders.  After a decent amount of research, we landed on the GoWISE USA 5.8 Quart model.

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