Today’s post was supposed to be a video version of this, but I filmed it and unfortunately, I didn’t program the audio recorder correctly, so the video had no sound.
Total fail. But alas, I wanted to still bring you this content, because I’m always asked, “What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?”
So, bookmark this post and when you’re ready to stock your kitchen for a lifetime of healthy cooking, you’ll be set.
I’ve only been cooking since 2008, the fall of my senior year of college. I became a vegan that August and had to slowly teach myself to cook, because in 2008, in North Carolina, the vegan options were few and far between. Unless I wanted to settle for garden salads and baked potatoes at restaurants, I knew I had to learn to cook.
Thus, from the beginning of my culinary career, I focused on finding creative ways to prepare and cook vegetables. Therefore, I’ve slowly collected kitchen tools that help the healthy cook.
All of the items you see in this post are the actual products I use in my own kitchen!
This is my “must-have” list. I use these tools every single day, always. They’re the basics, and I couldn’t prepare 90% of my meals without them.
Well, obviously. This is my branded, designed spiralizer and is exclusive and proprietary to Inspiralized. It’s the best spiralizer out there.
A Quality Chef’s Knife
A quality Chef’s knife will change the way you cook, no exaggeration. Food preparation will happen more precisely, more quickly, and with more ease. If you’re a beginner cook, this is an investment that will change your game and expedite the process of learning how to cook. It’s like the mascara to my kitchen – I couldn’t go a day without it! I use Wusthof knives, and I love my 6″ Cook’s Knife.
Get yours: Wusthof: 6″ Cook’s Knife
I have 90235 skillets, but the ones I use the most are my 10″ and 12″ skillets. We received an Analon set for our wedding, and I love it. Because I cook mostly vegetables and not much meat, these non-stick pans are perfect. If you cook a lot of meat, these pans won’t work as well for you.
Get Yours: Analon non-stick 10″ and 12″ pans
Along with my 90235 pans, I also have another 90235 saucepots. Okay, I’m obviously exaggerating, but I have a lot. However, the ones that are crucial are my 2 quart and 4.5 quart. The 2 quart allows you to heat up sauces easily and quickly, while the 4.5 quart allows you to make soups, like my Zucchini Noodle Ramen.
Cutting boards – veggies & meats
It’s essential to have separate cutting boards for your meats and your veggies to avoid cross-contamination. I’m pretty “pyscho” when it comes to that. I use my plastic, easily-washed cutting boards when I’m handling poultry and meat and then when I’m doing my day-to-day veggie dicing, I use my nice wood cutting board.
How can you spiralize a beet without a peeler? Exactly! A vegetable peeler lets you make ribbon salads and of course, peel vegetables. I’ve been using the same OXO peeler for YEARS and have never had a problem.
Get Yours: OXO Good Grips Peeler
Spatulas & Spoons
These are absolute musts, I use them for everything, from tossing spiralized veggies to making soups. I have about 15 different types of spatulas and spoons, but the ones I couldn’t live without are a spatula, tongs, and a wooden spoon.
If you want to make spiralized rice, you need a food processor. If you want to make healthy sauces like homemade pesto, you’ll need a food processor. I honestly mostly use my Mini-Chop and it works just fine. I’ve had it since 2008!
Get Yours: Cuisinart Mini Chop Food Processor
Cleaning Brush for the Spiralizer
If you try to use a sponge on the blades of any spiralizer, it’ll tear apart your sponge. SO, I’ve found that this OXO Palm Brush is the safest and most effective. This one is great because it comes with a little older, so it fits compactly and cleanly next to your sink.
Get Yours: OXO Palm Brush with Storage
Measuring Spoons & Cups
Pretty basic, but I figured I’d include this on the list, because some people may not think they’re necessary. If you follow recipes, they’re especially important. If you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda person, they may not be necessary. Since I write recipes every day, they’re a must.
Get Yours: Measuring Spoons & Cups set
If you’ve ever made my recipes, you know that I LOVE roasting foods. It’s an easy cleanup and is a good way to avoid frying your foods. I love oven-roasting meats and veggies. Sometimes, I’ll make the entire meal in a sheet pan! There are actually books about that! I use two pans most of the time.
Get Yours: Farberware 3-piece set
Salt and Pepper Grinders
I don’t use fine salt and pepper unless it’s in a soup or baked goods. I always use fresh grinders – the flavor is taken to a new level and it’s a way to use a less processed salt and pepper. Plus, you can have fun with cool salts like pink Himalayan salt!
Get Yours: Salt and Pepper Grinders
Whether you’re rinsing beans (it takes off all that excess sodium) or draining your zucchini noodles, you’re going to need a colander. No way around it!
Get yours: OXO Colander
Being prepared with the right tools can make the difference between a happy cook and one that gives up. Having a proper set of mixing bowls can help you keep your workspace clean and get that recipe coming together quickly.
Get yours: Mixing bowl set
These are items that I use regularly, but are used for more complex recipes. If you’re a beginner cook and just want what’s absolutely necessary in your kitchen or you don’t cook very much, this list is something to work up to but isn’t necessary at first.
I use my Nutribullet as a blender. I also have a powerful, high-speed blender, but honestly, I’m only really ever making things for 2 or 4 servings at max, so the Nutribullet works for me. I use it to make healthy smoothies, my own sauces and dressings, and sometimes, I’ll use it to chop up nuts. It’s a great investment.
Get yours: Nutribullet
Whether you’re grating ginger or cheese, you’ll need a quality grater. Grating blocks of cheese is better than buying pre-shredded/grated cheeses (additives are added to the pre-packaged varieties!)
Get yours: Box grater
I have to say, ever since I bought myself an oil pourer for my olive oil, I use way less of it. When you pour olive oil straight out of the bottle, you can overdo it – it’s easy to see 1 teaspoon turn into a full tablespoon and 1 tablespoon turn into a quarter cup! By having one of these, you’ll be able to moderate your oil use. Plus, it’s pretty and clean!
Get yours: Rachael Ray olive pourer
12″ Covered Pot
Especially for those who spiralize sweet potatoes, I really recommend having at least one large covered pot in your arsenal. A covered pot helps you make dishes like tagines, where you can avoid the use of a Dutch oven. It’s great for sweet potatoes because they tend to take up a lot of space once spiralized and if you cover the pot, it slightly steams them as they cook and cooks them more quickly and allows you to use less oil. This is the one I use at home!
Get yours: 12″ Covered Pot
I’ve mentioned wok cooking before – it’s a must if you cook for more than 1-2 people at a time. Whenever I make zucchini noodle stir fries, I grab my wok (so, like, all the time) – you can fit more noodles in because it’s large and wide and the science behind wok cooking is great – it cooks more quickly and develops flavors well. I use this one that’s affordable and environmentally friendly.
Get yours: Wok
These tools are ones that would be “great” to have if it’s in your budget, but if not, you can cook/live without them.
If you’re on a weight loss journey or you like to follow recipes to a T, a kitchen scale is a great investment. I use it a lot to measure out meat portions. This scale is small, compact, and I even keep it displayed on my kitchen shelves – it’s chic!
Get yours: Kitchen Scale
If you follow me on Snapchat, you know I love pinch bowls. When you’re measuring out spices, dicing shallots, scallions, or mincing garlic and ginger (or something else small!), pinch bowls are hugely helpful. If you prep properly into the pinch bowls, cooking becomes that much more organized and relaxing.
Get yours: Colored pinch bowls
If you dread mincing garlic, get a garlic press – and you’ll never mince garlic again and be so happy you got a press! Sometimes I go through 2 full heads of garlic a week (I know, it’s crazy), so sometimes when I’m minced-out, I grab my press.
Get yours: OXO Garlic Press
You may think, “Well, I have a box grater, why do I need a microplane?” Well, microplanes are great to have for quick zesting. You may skip the zest if you have to get out (and clean) your box grater. I use the zester to grate garlic and zest citruses.
Get yours: Microplane
I almost put this at the top with the spatulas and tongs, but I use a slotted spoon a bit less than the others. Slotted spoons are best for when you’re making soups or cooking different things in batches and want to keep the juices or oil in the pan, but need to transfer your food to a plate. It’s just one of those necessary things.
Get yours: Slotted Spoon
Some of you may have started julienning veggies before spiralizing! I still use my julienne peeler on veggies that are too small to spiralize, like super thin carrots. A julienne isn’t necessary in your kitchen if you have a spiralizer, but sometimes, it’s great to have on hand for a quick fix or a garnish.
Get yours: Julienne Peeler
Many of you probably would consider this a “must-have”, but since I don’t use it as much as I should, I’m putting it in the “Greats” list. It’s definitely an investment, but every time I cook with my slow cooker, I say, “Wow! I should totally cook in this more.” It’s just the best – it builds flavors slowly, it’s low-maintenance, and you can literally make anything in it! If you’re a busy person and you come home late during the week, a slow cooker can literally be your healthy savior.
Get yours: KitchenAid Slow Cooker (the one I use!)