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Equipment and Utensils for Plant-Based Living

Starting a new lifestyle may require some new hardware, but we recommend you add these slowly unless you have the financial means to purchase them all at once. Some of them you may already own and use.



Knives don’t need to be expensive. They just need to feel comfortable in your hand and be sharp. A sharp knife is a safe knife, less likely to slip, slide, or bounce off what you are trying to cut and end up cutting what you didn’t intend to, like fingers. You also won’t need many knives.

  • Serrated Bread Knife – A good bread knife makes a big difference when you slice good whole-grain breads. A bad knife will squish the bread before cutting. A good one keeps the soft, fluffy interior pristine.
  • Chef’s Knife – This should be an 8 to 10 inch knife that you will use for slicing and chopping vegetables. You will use this one most often and should keep it clean and sharp.
  • Paring Knife – This smaller knife comes in handy for precision work like peeling, coring, or cutting around bruises.
  • Sharpener – A stone sharpener is relatively inexpensive and will save you time and frustration. Many are very easy to use, just slide the knife through blade down.

Pots and Pans

Any cook, vegan or not, will need several types and sizes of pots. As you add more plant-based foods, these will be the most important.

  • Sauce Pans – You will want a couple sizes to make sauces, soups, stews, chilies, steamed vegetables, pasta, and grains. Choose a medium one around 3 quarts and a larger one around 5 quarts to be ready for anything.
  • Sauté Pan with Lid – A high sided sauté pan can be used to fry, sauté, and braise vegetables. It will also prove useful when making small amounts of sauces or making small rice or pasta dishes.
  • Glass Baking Pan – For making casseroles, lasagna, enchiladas, and a multitude of other recipes.
  • Skillet – For grilling breads and vegetables or heating tortillas. Choose a cast iron one for the bonus of additional iron intake and to avoid the chemicals used in non-stick coatings.
  • Cookie Sheets – These come in handy for much more than cookies. Use them for cookies, scones, biscuits, roasted vegetables, or to toast breads with the broiler.
  • Bread Pan – To make wholesome, fresh, sweet or savory breads.
  • Cake Pans – You will probably want a square and a round one to make different types, amounts, and layers of cakes.
  • Pie Pan – To make delicious fruit, nut, or vegetable pies.
  • Baking Dish with Lid – A baking dish makes making small meals in the oven easy. It also can be used to reheat leftovers or cook frozen vegetables.
  • Muffin Pan – To make muffins.
  • Wok – This isn’t actually a necessity, but it does make stir fry much quicker and hassle free.


Most of these are a staple in any kitchen. Even the ones that aren’t absolutely necessary are still very helpful.

  • Peeler – You can peel most vegetables with your paring knife, but it is much more efficient with a peeler.
  • Measuring Cups – Dry measuring cups are vital to baking if you want recipes to turn out well. You will also need at least one liquid measuring cup.
  • Measuring Spoons – Also vital to baking and helpful with other recipes too.
  • Mixing Bowls – Mixing bowls are useful for hundreds of things. Use them for mixing ingredients for baking, as large serving bowls, for someplace to put those cut vegetables while preparing soups, or to coat vegetables with lemon juice or olive oil before grilling.
  • Strainer – A mesh food strainer lets you remove pulp and seeds from fresh citrus juices, wash grains, and strain teas.
  • Colander – To drain pasta and cooked vegetables. A colander also can serve to clean and rinse fruits and vegetables before use or to clean dry beans.
  • Cutting Board – Vital to preparing almost any meal. Choose a wood or glass one. That way you won’t eat bits of plastic and they can be used as placemats for hot food too.
  • Spatulas – You will want both a rubber one for baking and a metal one for the stovetop and grill.
  • Rolling Pin – Helpful in baking and making your own tortillas for wraps and veggie burritos.
  • Tongs – Great for rotating vegetables while grilling, sautéing, frying, and roasting. Also handy for moving salad from bowl to plate.
  • Whisk – A whisk is helpful when baking or mixing any liquids including when making or thickening soup.
  • Masher – For mashing potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, other root vegetables, or cauliflower.
  • Hand Planer – Extremely useful for grating ginger, garlic, citrus zest, or nutmeg.
  • Funnel – For pouring liquids like sauces, syrups, purees, and soups into smaller containers.
  • Marinade or Pastry Brush – Convenient for brushing liquid over roasted or grilled vegetables.
  • Scissors – Kitchen scissors should be washable and are helpful in opening packages, cutting greens and herbs, and trimming vegetables.
  • Wooden Spoons – These are a must-have in any kitchen. You will want regular and slotted.
  • Steaming Basket – Perfect for steaming vegetables.

Special Non-Essential Equipment

These are optional but also extremely helpful in preparing plant-based meals. We recommend picking them up bit by bit as your finances allow you.

  • Blender – Blenders make many recipes easier to purée , mix, whip, and make smoothies.
  • Immersion Blender – This hand-held blender is great for blending soups without waiting for them to cool enough to use a regular blender. They also come in handy making quick marinades and salad dressings all in one container.
  • Rice Cooker – You can cook rice on the stove, but a rice cooker takes almost all the work out of it.
  • Toaster Oven – Perfect for quick toasting or rewarming.
  • Mixer – Makes baking recipes easier and quicker.
  • Food Processor – Cuts, chops, grates, and mixes large amounts of ingredients quickly.
  • Spice Grinder – Provides freshly ground herbs and spices for better flavor and more antioxidant power. You can use an inexpensive coffee grinder.
  • Juicer – Fresh fruit and vegetable juice when you want or need it without the added sugars and preservatives found in store-bought juice.
  • Crock Pot – Makes many recipes easy and worry free as you fill it, set it, and let it work for hours while you focus on other things.
  • Pump Sprayer – Uses less olive oil to coat surfaces or vegetables for fewer calories when cooking.
  • Dehydrator – Dehydrate herbs, vegetables, and fruit to preserve food without cooking much nutrition out of them.
  • Spiralizer – A great way to get healthy pasta from zucchini, eggplant, squash, carrots, celeriac, mushrooms, and sweet potato. Also turn carrots, cucumbers, apples, and melons into fancy strings for salads. Or slice fruits and vegetables thin to use in sandwiches, cakes, baked as chips, or added to salads.
  • Salad Spinner – The easiest way to wash and dry your salad ingredients.
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