If you’re anything like me, your kitchen was vastly under stocked when your curiosity, convictions, etc. led you to become vegan. I was sorely missing awesome appliances, decent prep tools, an oven…the list seems to go on and on. Okay, it was basically a pan and two electric burners.

Since then, I’ve learned what can really help to make or break a delicious meal and, sadly, the limit I hit before I just grab a box of cereal and some soy milk and give up entirely.

Preparing food is certainly not everyone’s forte, but with a few of these nifty little gadgets and a few pretty common items, you’ll be so inspired, there will be no stopping you. Creativity will abound and I’m sure you will be checking all of the awesome new recipes posted on OGP’s Recipe Monster page just to see what you can make with your shiny new toys.

The excellent news about these preparation tools is that they have a range of prices from a few bucks up to a few hundred if you go for the shiny models with the extra button. Here’s my list:

1. Cheesecloth

A cheesecloth is a loosely woven fabric that has many purposes including making holiday crafts and, of course, making cheese by using it as a flexible sieve to extract extra liquid. Did you know you could also use it in a lot of great vegan recipes? Cheesecloths make straining so much easier in recipes for homemade tofu, vegan ice cream, and vegan cheeses. Try using this instead of a regular mesh strainer to get more out of your mixtures!

2. Blender/Food Processor

Oh my god. If you’re new to vegan cooking or want to try a few new recipes, do yourself a favor and get yourself one of these bad boys. It saves so much time between chopping, blending, mixing, etc. This essential tool can be used to make everything from delicious energizing smoothies to hummus. HUMMUS! Need I say more?

3. A Good Knife

Do yourself a favor: splurge a bit and get yourself a good knife. It will take a whole lot of the effort (and muscle strain) out of the preparation phase of cooking. Plus, getting new kitchen cutlery is always inspiring. Try this delicious recipe for Raw Nori Wraps with Spicy Dipping Sauce and chop that produce with your new axe.

4. Slow cooker and pressure cooker

Slow cookers are excellent because they help to save you some active cooking time when you’d probably rather be working on a crossword puzzle. Just me? Okay, fine. Grab your ingredients, toss ‘em in and voila! Dinner is ready in a few hours with minimal work on your end. Pressure cookers are also a great tool because they help to make some quick and easy vegetable broth or soup, beans, or whole meals (like this tasty Lentil Kale Vegan Risotto) in a much shorter amount of time.

5. Juicer

Your first use might feel like a bright white light was shining down on you. This thing is incredible. If you’re super busy, don’t worry about having to map out all of the nutrients you plan to ingest to maintain your vitamin regime, instead, toss everything into the juicer! There are a ton of great juicing recipes out there (including this page with 5 to try) or you can simply go off book and toss in your favorites! Have a juicy day!

What are your favorite preparation tools? Share in the comments to inspire others!

Image source: Betsssssy / Wikimedia Commons