Rotating between salad, stir-fry, or steam? Getting more veggies into your diet can be quite monotonous and there’s only so much hummus one can eat before your insides start rumbling (or is that just me?). I’m always encouraging people to think differently about their veggies and educating on ways to get more in. The health benefits of a plant-based diet are numerous and I’ll tell you my favourite gadgets to transform these for even the most picky eaters. I’m not talking about fancy, high-tech, totally obscure gadgets, I’m talking about easy, multi-use, oh-so-practical gadgets. Here are my 3 kitchen must-haves that I cannot live without:
#1. A food processor. This is the #1 best gadget in my kitchen. I’m not a meat-eater and the thought of eating plain beans and lentils is far less appealing than black bean burgers, tacos, spaghetti and meatballs, tacos, falafel, tacos, and, of course, tacos. I generally try to educate my patients on the value of incorporating more plant proteins into their diet due to the overwhelming research backing the associated health benefits and investing in a basic food processor is a great way to do that. This will not only transform your beans, chickpeas, rice, quinoa, lentils, and veggies into something completely different, exciting, and delicious, but will also help you make some amazing snacks such as energy balls and granola bars. Many processors will also have a grating/slicing blade that helps to quickly slice things like potatoes, beets, and apples into fine slices ready for baking into homemade chips. So, with one gadget, we’ve made healthy burgers, chips, meatballs, and snacks. That's what I'm talkin' about.
#2. A good, high-powered blender. These blending machines, such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, function quite differently than a standard blender and can do more than just whiz up milkshakes. These are the easiest way to make smoothies, sauces, creamy soups, almond/rice/coconut/cashew/etc milk, sorbets, and even flour. I use my blender daily since I’m partial to smoothies: this is where lots of my fruits, veggies, whole flax seeds (it’ll grind for you), coconut shreds, and whatever-else-I’m-feeling-that-day go into for my “brain juice” to get me going.
#3. A spiralizer. Got kids? You need this one. Raw veggies are much more exciting when carrots and beets are in fun noodle shapes and these are great additions to simple summer salads. Spiralizing a zucchini is a great way to sneak more veggies into spaghetti or mix with spaghetti squash for some different noodle textures. This gadget doesn’t make too many main dishes with the exception of spaghetti noodles, but it sure does make a star out of a side dish!
Bonus! The immersion blender deserves an honourable mention for a couple of reasons. I have a soft spot for this one since it was my first ever favourite kitchen gadget. I've run two into the ground so far. The are great because I don’t like pouring anything hot into my blender because it’s plastic. Even though it’s BPA free, some of those new substitutes are proving not to be any better. A stainless steel immersion blender helps to puree anything that’s hot and I love it for soups, sauces, and dairy-free nacho cheese dip. It’s also incredibly easy to use and a great starting point if you’re just getting into home cooking since many come with a mini food processor attachment so you can test drive it.