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Expert Shopper Kitchen

13 tools for meat-free cooking to make easier, tastier meals

Tools you need for vegetarian and vegan cooking

Whether you've just turned vegan or vegetarian, have been eschewing meat for decades or simply want to add some more meat-free meals to your diet, the right tools can go a long way. Although meat-free cooking isn't all that different from cooking with meat, certain tools and kitchen gadgets can make the cooking process easier or help you pack a flavorful punch. 

If you're a keen cook, you probably already own a range of tools that can enhance your veggie cooking, but you may find some handy extras. These tools for meat-free cooking will help you make easier, tastier meals. 

Best tools for meat-free meals

J.A. Henckels International Classic Chef Knife

When making meat-free food, you're likely to be chopping up more vegetables than when cooking with meat, so the primary tool in your arsenal should be a decent knife. It's better to own one high-quality chef's knife than a full set of subpar knives. This one is versatile and well-balanced, making food prep a breeze.

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AnySharp Pro Knife Sharpener

Your quality knife won't keep cutting effectively if you let it become blunt, so you should also own a knife sharpener. Sharp knives will make your life in the kitchen far easier, especially when chopping tough veg like butternut squash. This knife sharpener is affordable and easy to use.

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Zulay Manual Citrus Press Juicer

Citrus juice adds more flavor to your food, whether it's a zing of lime in guacamole or fresh lemon juice to cut through the sweetness in a carrot or winter squash soup. This nifty handheld citrus press makes juicing citrus fruits quicker and easier, so it's no hassle adding extra flavor to your meals.

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TofuBud Tofu Press

Tofu is an excellent source of protein in meat-free meals, but it can be tasteless if prepared badly. The TofuBud squeezes tofu to remove excess water and allow it to soak up flavor and give it a firmer texture more easily. Once pressed, chop and marinate your tofu before cooking. You won't be disappointed with the results.

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Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester and Grater

It's important to add plenty of flavor to your vegan and vegetarian dishes because under-seasoned veggies and legumes leave something to be desired. You can use this nifty little grater to quickly grate garlic and ginger and zest citrus fruits, all of which add flavor to various recipes.

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Ninja Professional Plus Food Processor 

If you're finding yourself bogged down with food prep when making meatless meals, you can speed things up with the help of a food processor. Take the pressure off and let a food processor do some of the prep work for you. This one can chop, slice, shred, puree and even knead the dough. It's easy to use and has a 9-cup capacity.

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Kitchen Mama One Touch Can Opener

Cooking meat-free meals can mean opening more cans than usual because beans and lentils are an affordable and nutrient-packed vegan protein source. With this one-touch battery operated can opener, you can open cans in seconds without any hassle. It's especially beneficial for people with arthritis or other conditions that affect grip strength.

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Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

Whether you're looking to get that perfect crisp on tofu, fry up some veggie burgers or lightly char asparagus, you'll get the best results using a cast-iron skillet. You can't quite achieve the same delicious browning with nonstick pans, so it's a worthwhile investment that will up your cooking game.

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OXO Good Grips 3 Piece Y-Peeler Set

This set of peelers will speed up food prep when making meat-free meals. The standard straight peeler is great for hard veggies and has a built-in potato eyer. The serrated peeler is ideal for peeling soft fruits like plums and for removing tomato skins. The julienne peeler makes uniform strips of veggies and is a cheap and compact alternative to a spiralizer.

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Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

You can make all kinds of meat-free dishes in an Instant Pot but where it really shines in the time-saving stakes is cooking dried beans. For instance, it takes at least an hour to cook dried chickpeas on the stovetop but only 15 minutes in an Instant Pot, so it's a great tool for anyone who wants to eat more legumes and save money by cooking them from scratch.

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KitchenAid Artisan Mini Stand Mixer

You can make some delicious additions to meat-free meals using a stand mixer. It's a great tool for kneading dough for homemade bread or pizza bases or for kneading seitan dough to make your own mock meats. Use the whisk attachment to whip up aquafaba for vegan meringues and other recipes that usually call for whipped egg whites.

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Mueller Austria Ultra-Stick Hand Blender

Stick blenders might not be as powerful as full-size blenders, but they're incredible for blending soups since you can help them right there in the pot. They're also great for blending up smoothies and small quantities of ingredients that a larger blender might not tackle well. This model comes with a whisk attachment and a milk frother and at an affordable price.

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ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set

A mortar and pestle can help you add some extra flavor to meat-free meals. You can toast your own spices and grind them with your mortar and pestle to make the most flavorful curries or make your own pesto from scratch using vegan or vegetarian hard cheese since some store-bought pestos use rennet-containing cheese that isn't vegetarian. This model has a generous 2-cup capacity and a non-slip base for easier use.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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