Five kitchen essentials for a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle

Eat meat-free with ease.

plate of tofu and greens
You really don't need to eat meat.Hermes Rivera via Unsplash

Whether you’re ditching meat for ethical, environmental, or health reasons, you’ll be happy to know eating plant-based is easier than ever before. Yes, there are ample vegan convenience food options, but in order to have the most positive impact on the planet and your health, you’ll want to cook most of your meals at home. Thus, it’s time to stock up on high-protein meat substitutes and other products that make your commitment easy to honor.

Here are five gadgets and pantry items that will help your transition to a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Tofu Press by Tofuture

Tofu Press by Tofuture

Crispy tofu at home.Amazon

To make tofu as crispy and flavorful as your favorite restaurant’s, you’ll want to invest in a press. Tofu is filled with water, which makes it hard to get a decent crusty edge. Trying to squeeze the water out with your hands can end in crumbles more suited for a tofu scramble, but this BPA-free tub, strainer, and press will slowly squish the water out of your block while preserving its shape. Just drop your protein in the press just before prepping your veggies. If you’ve avoided tofu because the texture just doesn’t seem to fry up right, give this press a try. For anyone who’s ever tried pressing tofu with heavy books, a dish towel, and a cutting board: it may be time to upgrade. You’ll never go back.

OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Peeler Set

OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Peeler Set

Prep with confidence.Amazon

Does your recipe call for julienned carrots, tomatoes without the skin, or peeled turnips? There’s a tool for each in this handy set, which may inspire you to expand your vegetable preparation beyond the mashed potato and roasted chunks of root veggies and broccoli (though those are excellent methods too). You’ll get a julienne peeler to create strips, a serrated peeler designed for waxy and slick fruits and veggies, and an all-purpose swivel peeler. Be sure to use the safety cover for the sharp julienne peeler before tossing it in your flatware drawer.

Bob’s Red Mill GF Large Nutritional Yeast (8 Ounce)

Bob’s Red Mill GF Large Nutritional Yeast (8 Ounce)

Get your vitamin B12.Amazon

Many vegans love nutritional yeast—or “nooch"—in their dairy-free mac and cheese recipes, on top of their popcorn, or folded into their risotto. Blended in a sauce, you’ll enjoy a cheesy and nutty umami flavor packed with B vitamins (in this product, one-quarter cup gives you 290 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin B12). People who have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant will appreciate that Bob’s Red Mill produces this in a gluten-free facility and does R-5 ELISA testing to ensure it’s free of gluten contamination.

Ener G Egg Replacer, 16 Ounces (Pack of 2)

Ener G Egg Replacer, 16 Ounces (Pack of 2)

Veganize your baked goods.Amazon

In baking recipes that call for eggs, vegans need a reliable substitute to act as a binder. Adding this kosher and gluten-free blend of starch and leavener to your pantry makes it simple to whip up something delicious. Please note that it’s not a one-to-one substitute for eggs—you won’t get an omelet out of it—but it is a convenient ingredient to have for fluffy pancakes.

Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender

Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender

Say hello to your personal smoothie bar.Amazon

Don’t buy this blender if you get an occasional craving for a smoothie. Invest in it if you want a versatile and powerful kitchen tool for smoothies, soups, batters, hummus, salsa, nut butters, cashew cream sauces, and more. This model is at the low end of the price spectrum for Vitamix, but still features 10 speeds and a 48-ounce pitcher. Stainless steel “aircraft grade” blades and a 2 horsepower motor do the hard work of pulverizing—and allow you to clean up quickly by blending hot water and soap in the container.