We all have them – The appliances that sit on the counter collecting dust because for whatever reason they just aren’t a part of our cooking routine. Maybe they were a well-meaning gift or a purchase made just after the new year as part of a New Year’s Resolution. Whatever the reason is, they take up space and to be fair, most are useless.
I love to cook, but I also love when I can use something that makes it go a little faster or easier. I put together this list of awesome appliances because some are just better than others! The best way to save money is to not spend it at all, and you can do this by using these simple pieces of equipment rather than getting ALL the stuff. If you have only the most useful pieces of equipment, you won’t need all the little, weird ones that take up space and are never used.
The first list I put together is of the common appliances that are not too pricey and will make a big difference in your kitchen. The second list is of the items that I sometimes wish I had, but don’t need. The last list is the dream item list! They are not necessary, but amazing to have when you have the money.
When buying appliances, purchase the best quality one you can within your means. They will last longer and it will save more junk from ending up in the landfill because it is poorly made.
I have put these in order of how often I use them, with the most used on top.
This was the first appliance I ever purchased, and it has been through every move with me. As a result, it is tattered and torn, and I need to hold the lid down pretty hard when I am using it because it no longer locks (roommates, am I right?!) I’ll be totally honest with you, there is duct tape holding certain parts in place.
The reason I use this piece of equipment so much is because it really can be used for anything, and if you cannot afford or do not have room for any other appliances, this is the one to have. It can blend through the thick and sticky stuff that a blender can only dream of (I’m thinking dates), and it can do the thinner stuff that the blender is made for. It is also super easy to clean which is always important.
The food processor can be used for raw desserts like pie crusts and the fillings or energy balls, banana ice cream, snack bars, hummus, sauces, and salad dressings. Using the different blades, you can also grate and chop vegetables. It can also be used to make nut butters, nut meal, smoothies, blending hot soups, and nut milks, just not as efficiently as a blender.
As with anything, getting one that is a little more pricey will mean that it will last longer, but there are things you can do to take it easy on this machine so you can have it for as long as possible.
The first food processor I killed was my mum’s, and it was because I was processing dried dates without soaking them first. Oh man, that poor thing sounded terrible and died within the first 5 minutes of processing. Dates are sticky and dense and can send any food processor to the grave if not prepared properly.
TIP- always soak dried dates in boiling water for a few minutes, until they are soft. This is especially important if the majority of your recipe is made of dates, like energy bars or pie crust.
Another thing I have learned through years of using a food processor is to not overfill the container with liquid because it will leak and it will continue to leak. There is no stopping it once it starts. I was making a salad dressing, and I filled the ingredients over the liquid fill line (because back then I had no time for authority!) As soon as I started processing, major leak from the bottom. There is a hole where the blade fits over and this is what got me. It was a ridiculous mess, but I learned my lesson.
The food processor is an amazing piece of equipment and is great to have because it can function as many things. I highly recommend one for every kitchen.
If you are able to have another appliance, I would recommend a blender. It picks up where the food processor drops the ball. You do not need an expensive model, just something to help with liquids like nut milks, smoothies, and salad dressings. You will also be able to blend up nut flour and get a finer consistency than with the food processor.
I love blenders but they are no good for the thicker, dense stuff like dates. It is sometimes fun to try the same recipe in the food processor and the blender to see which one will create a more perfect result because that is something we all want.
It is a cold, winter day as I write this, and so I am reminded about the delightful slow cooker. Is it not everyone’s dream to come home to a hot, home-cooked meal? The slow cooker is your personal chef while you are at work. Granted you need to prepare all the food to go into the pot, but after that, you are set.
Create healthy, whole food meals and have them ready for when you walk in the door. Stew, chili, one-pot meals, and even beans can be made this way. My favourite time saver right now is cooking dried beans during the day and then packaging them up to freeze when they are ready. I have never had such an easy time cooking beans.
Small, Hand-Held Blender
What’s with all the blenders? I had never had one of these before I met my wife. She brought this appliance into my life. At first though, I didn’t get it – why did I want yet another blender to do the same thing I could with the other, just less of it?
These definitely are not necessary, but they are super handy for salad dressings and thin sauces. I like to make a few dressings for the week, and I use the hand-held blender because it is the perfect size and easier to set up. They cannot process thick stuff at all though. Their motors are just too weak. These are for liquids only.
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Items I Wish I Had – Sometimes
Okay this is nuts. Why are there so many different types of blenders out there? I have a hard time thinking that we actually need all of these, but if you like gadgets, this is a good one. I do not own one of these myself, but every time I make a soup that I want blended, I dream of having an immersion blender in my hand so I do not need to ladle or pour the soup into the blender – and some outside of the blender!
We had one growing up, and it is a pretty sweet tool. When the soup is cooked, turn on the blender and start blending it right in the pot. Think of all the creamy soups you could make!
I have never had one of these before, but the reason I would sometimes like one is to toast little things that are too small to turn on the oven for – a single pita pizza or smashed avocado toast. They are probably pretty handy when you have one, but I don’t know if it would be used enough to have one as a permanent fixture on the counter.
These are an amazing piece of machinery. I used to dream of the day I would get one of these beauties. I heard of so many cool things you could do with them, and they sounded amazing.
I have had mine for a few years now, and I use it almost every day. I love making really thick smoothies, banana ice cream, blending soups, nut butter, nut milk, coconut yogurt, and the base for cashew cheese. These blenders will blend things up so smooth and so fast. Mine has a tamper that can be used to push down the product while it is being blended.
You definitely want to do a bit of research on the best blenders out there because they are expensive and you don’t want to waste your money. I have a Vitamix and I love it, but I have heard that there are many new high-powered blenders out there that are equal to or maybe even better than the Vitamix. I like going by word of mouth. The only reason I have the brand that I do is because when I was first introduced to raw food, the Vitamix was the blender everyone was talking about and the idea was just in my head.
Growing up, my family had the classic round dehydrator, and I remember using it quite often, but as I got older, we stopped using it. As I got more into raw food, I kept seeing this item in recipes, and I was interested to see how these foods would turn out.
After spending a few years with the round version, I finally purchased my dream dehydrator – The Excaliber – and I have been in heaven ever since! It has a lot of trays and the shape of each is square and there is no hole in the middle. When you make things, they can be in a square shape. It was a big win for me!
You can try out raw pizza, bread, crackers, fruit leathers, whole dried fruit, dried herbs, and even nut cheeses and yogurts to help them culture and thicken up.
Sad dehydrator story: When I was a kid, we would make banana chips quite often, and I loved them. One day I ate some when I was pretty sick. To this day, I cannot even smell a dehydrated banana without getting a little nauseous.
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That’s the list. What do you think? Appliances are only useful if they are used, and some are just silly. This list will help you navigate the kitchen store shelves so you can come out with the best product for you and your lifestyle.
Vegan eating can be made so much more adventurous and delicious with the right appliances. What is your favourite appliance in the kitchen? Did I miss one that you love? Let me know in the comments below.