Essential Vegan Kitchen Tools

Essential Vegan Kitchen Tools

I’m all about appliances that have multiple uses. My kitchen isn’t big, and storage is at a premium, so everything I have needs to be practical and versatile. As I moved towards plant-based, I found myself changing the kitchen tools I depend on to make meals. So here are some of my must-haves as my essential vegan kitchen tools:

  1. Strainers – I use my strainers daily to drain and rinse canned beans and rice.  
  2. Tofu Press – a tofu press makes getting the water out of tofu blocks easy. No more wrapping it in paper towels and putting a Dutch oven on it, hoping it doesn’t fall over or smush it. The press is compact and fits nicely in the fridge. 
  3. Salad Spinner – I love my salad spinner. I use it for salad and other greens, but I use it to clean leeks. 
  4. Rice Container Bin – I never thought I’d like a container so much, but this rice container with a pour spout and measuring cup is excellent. I plan to purchase a couple for lentils and other grains. 
  5. Calphalon Elite Nonstick Essential Saute Pan – This is my everyday pan. I cook with this pan every day. It is well worth the cost as it is functional and nonstick. 
  6. Rice Cooker – For the longest time, I resisted even thinking about rice cookers thinking they were a waste of money and space. We ate a lot of rice. When researching rice cookers, I wanted a cooker that could do more than make rice. The Zojirushi allows me to make different types of rice, grains, and oatmeal. My son likes rice, so the rice warmer function is excellent that I can make a big batch, and he can serve himself whenever he wants. It is worth the investment as we use it at least five times weekly. 
  7. Slow Cooker – A slow-cooker is a must frankly for every household. And slow-cookers aren’t just for making meat-based dishes as it is excellent for plant-based meals like Aloo Gobi. Some very cool slow cookers are out there, but I went with a simple one like Hamilton Beach 4-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. 
  8. Food Processor – I researched and settled on the Braun FP3020 12 Cup Food Processor because it was so versatile. I make hummus, hazelnut spread, sauces, oat/nut flours, and doughs. 
  9. Grater – A lot of plant-based meals call for grated vegetables. I got a very sturdy one. 
  10. Baking Sheets – Roasted veggies are great and versatile for vegan meals. A good set of baking sheets is essential. 

These are some of my essential vegan kitchen tools. What are your must-haves in your vegan kitchen? I love my kitchen gadgets so I’m always looking for new tools to make cooking easier and better. 

Vegan Poke Bowl

Vegan Poke Bowl

Recently I’ve noticed poke bowls on menus. And I became intrigued. Traditionally, a poke bowl is raw marinated fish that been cubed and layered with rice and pickles. Its origin is from Hawaiian where fishermen would season the cut-offs from their daily catch eating it on their boats. Poke is considered their national dish. On a days it is such a diet staple that it is freshly made in most convenience stores.

I’ll be honest, but the idea of raw fish is not appealing to me and my guys. And that these days being mostly plant-based, I’m not eating a lot of fish. But you can still have a plant-based poke bowl. It is a lovely way to pack in amazing flavors and textures. And a poke bowl is all about  different textures in every bite. It isn’t a boring meal.

To make a plant-based poke bowl is easy and quick. Swap out the fish for tofu or tempeh, You can use white or brown rice though I like the nuttiness of brown. Pickled items are important so adding picked red onions and sauerkraut. I always have picked red onions on hand, but I’ll share a 5-min pickled recipe that you can do while making this dish. Instead of using white cabbage, I prefer to use red cabbage beet carrot sauerkraut as it add a nice flavor and a burst of color. To bring a different sense of texture, add a sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, micro greens, and cilantro. Adding a can of kidney beans gives it more nutrition. The sauce for this dish is sweet chili sauce and tamari. The tofu or tempeh and beans are cooked in the sauce with garlic and ginger.

This recipe is based on The Happy Pear’s “Easy poke for weight loss in 5 min” recipe. I encourage you to check out the recipes.

Vegan Poke Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup Sauerkraut
  • Block of Tempeh or Tofu - If using tofu then drain well
  • 12 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 4 tbsp tamari
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Small red onion
  • 50 ml rice vinegar
  • Cucumber
  • Coriander
  • Handful cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Preparation

  • Rice
  • - Prepare brown rice. You can use pre-cooked or make it in rice cooker like I do.
  • Picked Red Onion
  • - Slice red onion thinly placing in glass jar then add the rice vinegar and water if need to make sure the onions are covered.
  • Tempeh or Tofu
  • - Slice up tempeh or tofu
  • - Head pan on medium high.
  • - Add tempeh or tofu until it browns
  • - Add garlic and ginger then the sweet chili/tamari sauce mixture coating
  • - Remove onto plate then add the kidney beans coating them until they are warm
  • Ensemble the bowl with all the goodies.
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Vegan Yogurt

Vegan Yogurt

I love yogurt, but it no longer loves me so I decided to make vegan yogurt. I know the grocery stores are filled with options today so why attempt to make my own? Two reasons. One is I can choose my own flavor combinations. The other reason is quantity as this recipe makes 4 servings which as far as I know you can’t buy big tubs of plant-based yogurt yet.

I guess there is a third as since I have all the ingredients handy always. So then why not? I like making food from scratch. I know what’s going into it and I can modify to my tastes.

 

 

Vegan Yogurt Made Easy

It is pretty easy to make. I’ve tried to make my own dairy yogurt before. It failed miserably on more than one occasion. So when I saw how easy the recipe was for making plant-based yogurt, I thought I’d try it.

Five ingredients: frozen fruit, extra firm tofu, cashews, maple syrup, and lemon juice. I used a frozen cherry berry blend, but you could use frozen peaches or mango. Or a combination. As I attempt to be plant-based, I use maple syrup, but you can use honey.

It is nice to have yogurt back into my breakfast routine as it was creamy. I will continue to refine this recipe as I wasn’t so sure of the texture of cashews.

Are you looking to top the vegan yogurt with something then try my granola recipe.

 

Homemade Vegan Yogurt

 

Vegan Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Frozen Mixed Berries (or frozen fruit of choice.)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Cashews
  • 12-14 ounces Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/4 Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice

Preparation

  • 1. Put everything in a blender blending at high speed until very sBlend everything together on a high speed setting until very smooth about 5-7 minutes.
  • 2. Store in a container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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BBQ Lentil Sandwich with Cole Slaw

BBQ Lentil Sandwich with Cole Slaw

Quick Plant-Based Weekend Meal

Looking for a super quick plant-based weekend meal in less than 30 mins? BBQ Lentil Sandwich with Cole Slaw fits the bill. Between all of our schedules, we often need a quick meal without ordering pizza online. I’ve made this meal a couple of times to rave reviews.

 

Time Saving Sandwich

It keep time to under 30 minutes, I use canned lentils, bottled BBQ sauce, and packaged Cole Slaw mix. If time is super short, you can buy ready-made Cole Slaw, but the homemade dressing gives it a tangy taste that contrasts the sweetness of the lentils. As for the BBQ sauce, I’m thinking of making my own using this recipe.

Looking for more plant-based recipes like this meal of BBQ Lentil Sandwich, visit here.

BBQ Lentils Sandwich with Cole Slaw

Ingredients

  • BBQ Lentils
  • 1 15oz canned lentils drained, rises
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup bottle BBQ sauces
  • 4 Brioche buns
  • Cole Slaw
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1?½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Cole slaw mix package

Preparation

  • BBQ Lentils
  • 1 15oz canned lentils drained, rises
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup bottle BBQ sauces
  • 4 Brioche buns
  • 1. Combine lentils and BBQ sauce in small sauce pan and heat throughly.
  • 2. Ladle onto Brioche buns and top with cole slaw.
  • Cole Slaw
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1?½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Cole slaw mix package
  • 1. Whisk mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, pepper, salt, and mustard together in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
  • 2. Combine with Cole slaw mix.
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Slow Cooker Curry Dump

Slow Cooker Curry Dump

Yes, you read that correctly: slow cooker curry dump. Doesn’t sound very appealing, but this curry is yummy and a family favorite. It is my go-to plant-based curry for the slow cooker on busy days which seems to be every day as a restart my business. It is all about convenience these days and you can make this recipe year round. And the slow cooker provides it for me to make healthy, hot meals for us without fuss.

 

The Foundation

What makes this is a slow cooker curry dump is that there is minimal preparation for this meal. For me, all of the items in the recipe are pantry items like canned coconut milk, baby yellow potatoes, canned fire roasted diced tomatoes, squeezable mince ginger, frozen peas, and bottle minced garlic. I always have fresh cilantro in the fridge. So like my black bean quesadillas, I always have ingredients to make it on hand. When making this recipe you can add a can of chickens or if you have some extra veg, you can  throw in some sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or eggplant. The base of the curry is the coconut milk, fire roasted tomatoes, curry powder, minced garlic, fresh ginger, salt, and cilantro.

I throw it all in the slow cooker. And to make life even easier, I make rice in the rice cooker. While I resisted in getting a rice cooker, I have to say how much I love it and it is used 2-3 times a week. I use it to make rice, but also porridge.

Slow Cooker Curry Dump

Ingredients

  • - 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • - 2 T curry powder
  • - 1 T minced garlic
  •  - 2T grated fresh ginger
  • - 1 tsp kosher salt
  • - 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • - 2 handfuls of yellow baby potatoes halved or 2 large potatoes diced
  • - 1 cup frozen peas
  • - Chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

  • 1. Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker
  • 2. Cover and set to high
  • 3. Cook 4-6 hours
  • 4. Serve over rice
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Asparagus Butter Bean Soup

Asparagus Butter Bean Soup

The Weather Calls for Soup

Asparagus Butter Bean Soup is fast becoming a family favorite. I don’t know if it will rival my potato leek soup, but it is in the top five favs. My son who is not pro-asparagus even enjoys the soup. So that’s a huge win in my book.

I came across this recipe in ForksOverKnives Spring 2021 magazine (you can order their magazine online or pick them up at the grocery checkout) and decided to make as we love soup and I’m always looking for new interesting soup recipes to try. I’m glad I did make it. The flavors are so fresh and interesting. And it is an easy, simple recipe to make. I did have to buy a couple of new ingredients like mustard seeds and white balsamic vinegar. The mustard seeds will last forward and many ForksOverKnives recipes use the white balsamic vinegar. Outside of that, all the other ingredients are supermarket staples though today I had trouble finding leeks. Go figure.

I put my own mark on this soup because I didn’t read the recipe correctly so what is below is how I make it. Put this on your menu soon and enjoy. Looking for other soup then visit here.

 

 

Asparagus Butter Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sliced and washed leeks
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 cups white potatoes such as Yukon gold or Maine baking
  • 2 15-oz cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon what balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • Sliced green onions

Preparation

  • 1. Cook leeks in large Dutch oven over medium heat until softened. You can use broth or olive oil to keep them from sticking.
  • 2. Add broth, potatoes, butter beans, mustard seeds, and cayenne pepper increasing heat to high and bringing to a boil. Cover reducing heat simmering for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.
  • 3. Add asparagus and dill cooking about 5 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.
  • 4. Stir in vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  • 5. Ladle into bowls topping with dill and green onions.
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