When you start cooking from scratch and creating new plant-based recipes, it’s handy to have some time-saving devices to hand. After all, there can be a lots of chopping, grating and blending involved! I have a selection of kitchen gadgets, some are more useful than others, some are extras rather than essentials.
I am often asked which ones I recommend, so as Day 4 of my Sensitive Foodie Advent calendar, I thought it might be useful to give you some suggestions. After all, Santa might as well bring you something you are going to use! There’s a full range of prices too, depending on how much you want to splash out. Just to let you know, the photos linked to Amazon are connected to my affiliate account. This means if you order them with the link, I get a little commission. You can of course choose to buy them wherever you like!
If you have a favourite gadget I haven’t included, do let me know what it is.
1) Hand blender and small grinding pot. You may be surprised to see this at the top of my list, but it’s the most frequently used gadget in my cupboard! I have a Bosch one that has lasted me well. I love this kit because it’s:
- Perfect for blending soups when I’m too hungry to wait for it to cool down to use the blender
- Comes with a blender jug to whizz up mayos or sauces
- The grinding pot is perfectly sized for making pestos and chopping small amounts of veggies
- Comes with lids to keep things in the fridge so you don’t need to waste plastic
- Doesn’t need much storage space
- Is pretty cheap for so many functions
2) Food processor. When I first started eating a whole-food plant-based diet I had an old Kenwood food processor, a wedding present that had been abandoned to the back of the cupboard collecting dust. It certainly started earning it’s keep though and chopped, blended and grated on a daily basis until it finally refused to work no more! Needing to upgrade, I went for durability (and Mother-in-Law’s recommendation) and invested in a Magimix. It was a good decision.
- It is powerful so can deal with anything you throw at it. The power used varies according to what you put in it as well – clever stuff!
- It has multiple functions – chopping, blending, whisking, slicing and grating.
- There are 3 bowl sizes to choose from for different roles and different overall machine sizes so you can buy one with a smaller capacity if you are cooking for less people
- It comes in easy to clean finishes
- The customer service is excellent and the guarantee worth having
- It looks lovely on the worktop.
There are a couple of down sides as well.
- It’s very heavy so not so practical to move in and out of cupboards
- The accessory holder takes up space in the cupboard (although it’s very neat)
- It is more expensive than other brands on the market, but not excessively so for the quality of product.
3) Silicon baking mat. The cheapest gadget on this list, and the only none electrical item. It may not seem like the sexist gadget but once you have one you’ll wonder how you managed without!
When you’re cooking without oil, or making pastry without fat or gluten, a silicon baking mat makes all the difference. Of course you can always use baking paper, but I prefer to have a non-disposable item for less environmental impact.
These mats are durable and fold away into a drawer. They do need washing well if you are cooking with strong odours. Plus I would suggest using a scent-free washing up liquid otherwise it can take on some of the aromas which may not go so well with your cookies!
4) Soup maker. Now full disclosure here – I don’t actually have one of these. But there have been a flurry of these being bought by people who have done my Eat Well Live Well course that maybe Santa might like to bring me one this year!
Soup features a lot in my course, and my upcoming book (which is not out until February otherwise it would be on this list 😉 ). It’s so automatic for me now that it doesn’t take long to chop, pop in a pan and cook up. But if you’re new to it, or have little time to spend in the kitchen, this soup maker could be the answer. You just add the ingredients, press the button and it does the business.
Word of warning – the chopping bit is quite loud so don’t disappear and do something else then wonder if someone is trying to break into the kitchen! It cooks at a temperature that keeps the nutrients intact too. The full-sized ones make 6 portions, so you may have some left over for another day. If that’s too big, there is a small one on the market too.
There are other brands than this Morphy Richards one, but this is the one highly recommended by my group, so I’m trusting their judgement.
5) Thermomix. This is a big ticket item, but could be the ultimate gadget you’ve been looking for. Again, full disclosure – I don’t have one of these as I love spending time in the kitchen. However, if you are short on time, or just don’t enjoy the process, this machine gives you the opportunity to cook healthy, fresh food without being a slave to the oven. The people I know who have bought one swear by it.
The main benefits of this piece of kit are:
- The machine does most of the work for you
- It chops, sautés, braises, boils, stews, blends. You can even steam things on the top.
- Variable cooking temperatures means you have control. Also, as it cooks at a lower temperature, it retains many of the lovely vitamins and phytonutrients that can be lost.
- You can access a huge range of Thermomix recipes online – although still come back to my Foodie blog for inspiration!
You can’t buy Thermomix in the shops. Instead they are sold through independent consultants. That’s good as you can actually spend time learning about and experiencing the equipment before making the investment. Beatriz, the lady I know who sells Thermomix, will even come and cook a meal for you and some friends so you can see and taste just what it does. Click on her photo to go to her website or send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org