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16 Essential Cooking Tools for Vegetarians and Vegans

The best knives, pots, appliances and utensils to make veggie prep a breeze—and every meal tastier!

essential cooking tools for vegetarians
WILLIAMS SONOMA / LE CREUSET / OXO / BREVILLE

With a change to your diet, comes a change in your kitchen. If you're switching up your meals by going meat-free, you might be missing some essential kitchen tools to help you make the transition. And even if you've already adapted this new eating regime, there's still probably a few tools that you never knew could be so helpful in cooking up your daily breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just Cooking Tools compiled some of our favorite kitchen essentials, from chef's knives and vegetable peelers, to air fryers and cast-iron skillets, to give you all the tools you need to make that switch to a meat-free diet. Check out the top picks below.

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1 Wüsthof Classic Chef’s Knife
Williams Sonoma
Williams Sonoma williams-sonoma.com
$143.95

Available in 6", 8", and 10" versions, this classic knife makes slicing, dicing, and chopping your veggies a breeze. "I purchased three knives a short while ago and wish I'd done this years ago," one reviewer said, dubbing it the best knife she's ever used. Another noted, that the knives perform beautifully, stating, "The 8" is great for everyday chopping on larger dense vegetables and fruits, whereas the 6" is great for quick tasks and smaller ingredients." Plus, the high-carbon steel that the knife is crafted from makes this kitchen tool resistant to staining and corrosion over time. 

2 Wüsthof Precision Edge 4 Stage Knife Sharpener
Amazon
Wüsthof amazon.com
$40.00
$29.95 (25% off)

No one wants to have to buy new knives year after year because their old ones are dull and useless, and this precision edge knife sharpener is here to rectify that problem. With a rubberized base for secure grip, the machine uses carbide steel blades for a coarse sharpening stage, and fine ceramic rods for honing and polishing blades.  "I am incredibly picky about my knives," said one reviewer. "This sharpener is incredibly easy to use . . . and my knives went from incredibly dull to outlandishly sharp with about seven pulls through the coarse side and three through the fine."

3 OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Cutting Board Set
Amazon
OXO amazon.com
$19.99

Prep boards are essential when chopping and dicing your veggies and other ingredients, and this 2-piece set is a must because of it's durability, and odor-resistant, non-porous construction, which lowers the risk of cross contamination. There's even a drip catcher to trap any liquids that may run dangerously close to the edge of the board, helping to eliminate unnecessary mess. "The sizes are great and the rubber feet hold it steady on the counter. You can use both sides and clean off quick and easy," said one reviewer. 

4 Nest 9-Piece Nesting Bowls Set with Mixing Bowls, Measuring Cups, and Sieve Colander
Amazon
Joseph Joseph amazon.com
$49.99

An easy-to-store set that includes measuring cups, a colander, and mixing bowls? Sounds like a major win! Drain salads or pasta with ease while using the various bowls to mix up marinades for veggies, create a colorful fruit salad, or the perfect sauce for a vegetarian pizza.  "This set is pretty and practical and saves a lot of storage space because everything nestles easily within itself," said one reviewer. "My only regret is that I waited so long!"

5 Rubbermaid Brilliance 9-Piece Food Storage Containers
Amazon
Rubbermaid amazon.com
$22.99
$16.60 (28% off)

Leftovers are always a bonus to cooking a big meal, and with stackable containers and leak-proof lids that create an airtight seal, any of your meatless recipes, whether it be peanutty edamame and noodle salad or shiitake tacos, will stay delicious and fresh, and taste like you just whipped them up at a moment's notice. According to one reviewer, the containers check all her boxes. "I have put liquids like pasta sauce in my Brilliance container and have not had any leaks or stains," she noted. "I have microwaved and refrigerated them. I run them through the dishwasher with no issue." 

6 Kitchen Mama One Touch Electric Can Opener
Amazon
Kitchen Mama amazon.com
$34.88

Since lentils and beans are a great source of protein in lieu of meat, you'll most likely find yourself cracking open a lot of cans as you tackle more meat-free recipes. But there's always that one can where the pesky lid just won't budge. This one-touch electric can opener helps eliminate that issue (and is actually safer than using a hand-held since it lowers the risk of cutting yourself on a sharp edge). One reviewer described it as "Super easy to use, works by itself and is safe. The edge ends up smooth, nothing sharp to cut fingers on." 

7 Le Creuset Toughened Nonstick 10" PRO Fry Pan,
Amazon
Le Creuset amazon.com
$114.95

Sear up some seitan, tofu, edamame, and more in this nonstick, easy-to-use pan. The reinforced surface helps this pan create crispy and delicious meals time after time, without any wear and tear, or any intense scrubbing in the after diner cleanup.  It's the perfect pan to create tasty stir fries, creamy pasta dishessavory frittatas or just a simple omelet. Although a bit on the pricier side, it's completely worth it, according to one reviewer. "It was totally worth the splurge," she said. "One can feel the quality simply by picking it up. Once I used it a few times, nothing sticks." 

8 10.25" Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with Silicone Hot Handle Holder
Amazon
Lodge amazon.com
$22.97

Not only are cast iron skillets non-toxic, non-stick, oven safe, and super durable, they also are great for creating easy one-pot meals. Create meat-free pizzas, pasta dishes, baked goods, and breakfast scrambles, like Shakshuka, that can be cooked and immediately brought from oven to table and shortly after, happily gobbled up. This Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet was a favorite with customers, one of which noted her family has used it for "everything up to this point except eggs."  Another reviewer said she loved the skillet, and that she had used it over both gas and electric stove, as well as over fire outdoors. "I've made different foods in this . . . and all have come out perfect. I would say I would buy this again, but I see this skillet lasting forever!" 

9 Breville 10XL Control Grip Immersion Blender
Amazon
Breville amazon.com
$189.90

Use a high-powered blender to blend up fruits and veggies for protein-packed smoothies, crush up bread crumbs and seasoning to coat vegetables with before baking, chop vegetables or combine ingredients together to make fresh veggie burgers from scratch, and so much more. This immersion blender, that has adjustable speeds, easily blends ingredients and makes for easy clean-up, according to one reviewer. "For me, the blender works better at making liquid based creations (smoothies, milk shakes, soups), however, it does a decent job of chopping vegetables, onions etc. using the chopper attachment."  

10 NutriBullet Blender Combo
Amazon
NutriBullet amazon.com
$139.99
$114.99 (18% off)

Create delicious soups, sauces, nut butters and more thanks to this powerful kitchen essential. With three different speeds to choose from you can customize the amount of power the machine blends at so that you get the exact consistency you want. Many reviewers say its a great way to get your leafy greens or not-so-tasty veggies into your daily diet since you can blend them into smoothies and other mixtures. "The blender is perfect and much better than any others I've used at that price point." said one reviewer. "It's been able to handle whatever I throw in it. Very impressed."

11 Premium Classic Series Zester Grater
Amazon
Microplane amazon.com
$16.00

Use this simple tool to add flavor to all the meals you serve. Zest citrus fruits, cheese, or spices to add flavor to salads, stir fries, dressings and marinades, and vegetables. "It's easy to settle for any old zester. " said one reviewer. "But I'm convinced that the better the quality of the tool, the more often you'll likely use it, and this Microplane fits the bill. I use it for cold chocolate, hard cheeses, citrus, ginger, and garlic, and it's also perfect for nutmeg and other hard spices."

12 Premium Silicone Spatula
Amazon
GIR: Get It Right amazon.com
$14.95

Heat-resistant and flexible when using, this silicone spatula gets into the nooks and cranies of pots, pans, containers and more with ease. "It is very sturdy, no flimsy bending or curling," said one reviewer. Another reviewer noted, "Used for everything. All other larger spatulas may get donated!"

13 Instant Pot 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker
Amazon
Instant Pot amazon.com
$89.00

Instant pots have slowly become more and more popular over the years, and with good reason. They create meals in minutes that used to take hours to make. No more panicking when you forget to take something out for dinner.  This 7-in-1 appliance acts as an electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan and food warmer, which makes it a great investment seeing as it can do cook almost any recipe. "With all the safety features the Instant Pot has, I'm not afraid to use it — hard-boiled eggs, rice, stews, and veggies have all come out fabulous!" said one reviewer. 

14 OXO Good Grips 3 Piece Assorted Prep Y-Peeler Set
Amazon
OXO amazon.com
$14.99

It's pretty clear — going meat-free means you'll be eating a lot more veggies than you used to, and that means you need a sturdy peeler to help you prep before any meal. This 3-piece set includes a straight, serrated and julienne peeler, and the comfortable and compact grip allows you to peel vegetables of any size or shape easily. One reviewer said, "If I could love a fruit/vegetable peeler, this would be it. I love the julienne peeler, it works amazingly on carrots."

15 OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs with Silicone Head
Amazon
OXO amazon.com
$14.99

These sturdy, stainless steel tongs will stay sharp and fresh through all your cooking and baking. Available in 9-inch and 12-inch lengths, these dishwasher safe tongs are heat resistant and have a soft non-slip grip that makes food easy to transfer from the pan to the plate. "What is nice is that these are very sturdily made," said one reviewer. "They are not flimsy at all (and) they lock at the end of the tong handle makes it easy to open and close."

16 Ninja Max XL Air Fryer
Amazon
Ninja amazon.com
$159.99
$139.99 (13% off)

Cook, crisp, roast, broil, bake and reheat in minutes thanks to the Ninja Max Air Fryer. Make everything from rolls and baked goods to roasted cauliflower and other veggies. "I was going to get a steamer for veggies," said one reviewer, however with (the) air roast setting, there is no need to buy a steamer." 

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