When it comes time to shop for new kitchen supplies, it can be tempting to go out and blow your savings on the newest, most trendy item to hit big-name retailer shelves. If you’ve been saving your money in order to score the glitziest, most glam, and hyped up kitchen appliance on the market, hold on! You might actually be able to find an equal or ever superior-quality gem at your local thrift store for a much more reasonable price, which is great for those of us who adhere to a budget. Not only does thrift shopping help the planet, but best of all, your thrifted goods were once used (we like to imagine) with love.

Below, we’ve called out five items you should be keeping an eye out for next time you go browsing through your local charity shop, as well as a few pointers to make sure you know how to care for them properly once they settle in their new home with you.

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1. Food Processor

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This is the holy grail of items you could find at the thrift store. Food processors are often hefty items that take up a considerable amount of counter space, so if you don’t have any extra storage room, they might not be the most realistic option for you. However, if you have space, they can be invaluable appliances.

You can use a food processor to chop, shred, slice, or julienne large quantities of vegetables, and also make different kinds of purees, such as dips, spreads, hummus, and sauces. You could even toss some frozen bananas into a high-speed food processor to make a creamy nice cream base.

If you want to make Nut Butter, food processors will chop up your nuts for you, which also makes them a useful tool for making plant-based pestos (learn How to Make Pesto Without Cheese — It’s Easy!) and other food purees. You could even use them to grind your stale bread into breadcrumbs for a variety of recipes, like this Summer Tomato Bowl With Herbed Bread Crumbs, or make a dough in them.

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Check out this article about Why a Food Processor is Just as Essential as A Blender for Your Kitchen!

2. High-Speed Blender

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How do high-speed blenders differ from food processors, you ask? Well, while food processors are suitable for your more labor-intensive tasks, blenders are able to handle liquids with ease. The blades of a blender are not super sharp, but they go incredibly fast, which makes them ideal for making smoothies, soups (like this Chilled Zucchini, Orange, and Basil Soup), frozen cocktails, salad dressings, and assorted purées.

If you want to make non-dairy milk, for example, look no further than your high-speed blender. You can make seven delicious things alone just from your own non-dairy milk. For more tips, check out this Cinnamon and Clove Nut and Seed Milk and this Quick and Easy Condensed Coconut Milk.

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Different vegan cheese dips and sauces can also be whipped up in a blender. Check out these recipes for Life-Changing Cheese Sauce and this gluten-free Green Chili Nacho Cheese Sauce to get started.

Here a cool tip if you find something like a Vitamix that’s missing its lid or tamper at the thrift store: You can e-mail the company and oftentimes, they’ll send you one! This is true for a lot of appliances.

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3. Slow Cookers

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If you are someone who adhered to an active or busy schedule — and sometimes feel like you have to compromise on your nutrition in order to accomplish all of your goals — then, a slow cooker could be a useful tool for you. Not only does cooking with a slow-cooker make loading up on loads of plant-based protein and vegetables super easy, but more often than not they require minimal effort on your part and produce delicious meals.
Check out this feature on 10 Amazing Meals You Can Make in Your Slow Cooker and then look at all these Slow Cooker Recipes like for these Slow-Cooker Sloppy Joes and this Slow Cooker Summer Tomato and Chickpea Curry that we have featured on the Food Monster App.

4. Cast Iron Skillet

Cast iron skillets are — as their name implies — made of iron, and they are excellent to invest in, as they can withstand a lot of abuse and heat and still stay in tip-top shape. Not only are they non-stick, but you can grill with them, bake with them, and more.

To make your cast iron skillet nonstick, season it correctly by wiping it down with a thin layer of oil and then baking it in a 250°F oven for about an hour and a half. Then, let it cool down and finish by wiping it clean. Voila!

In the mood for some delicious sweet vegan dessert? Then whip up these Cast Iron Chocolate Chip Cookies with your new thrifted cast iron skillet. More of a savory person? This recipe for Cast-Iron Skillet Bibimbap is sure to satisfy. Finally, if you’re in the mood to browse loads of recipes, check out these Complete Dinners You Can Make in a Skillet.

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5. Glass Baking Dishes

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Brands like Pyrex are ubiquitous at many thrift stores, and can be utilized in a number of capacities in the kitchen. When shopping for glassware, make sure you deeply examine the products you are considering purchasing. Do you notice any hidden cracks, chips, or if your product is painted, do you notice any powdering? If so, move on from the bargain. True tempered glass is pretty much indestructible in the kitchen, and will last you a long time, provided it isn’t damaged. Also be sure to check your glassware is microwave and dishwasher safe, and fits your particular culinary lifestyle!

If you’re able to score a casserole dish, check out this recipe for gluten-free Cheesy Rutabaga Casserole, or even this gluten-free Delicata Squash Bake.

If you’re interested in learning about more budget-friendly vegan tips, we recommend reading these Money Saving Tips for Eating Vegan on a Budget and this guide on How to Eat a Healthy Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet on $50 Per Week.

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Africa Studio/Shutterstock