As a vegan, who is passionate about both healthy and equally delicious food, I have accumulated a list of very helpful kitchen gadgets that have made vegan cooking fun and easy—as well as time-saving, which all of us Mommas’ need more of in our lives!
Learning how to cook new recipes and completely plant-based may seem challenging at first, but it is actually very easy and can be really fun as you explore new flavors and items, as well as new kitchen gadgets to take advantage of!
All of My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets
1.High-speed Blender: I am absolutely in love with my Blendtec! It makes my morning green smoothies easy and fast, which the whole family is very thankful for! It is basically what I use for a food processor too, and can even make blended soups and sauces—which you’re going to want for creamy vegan sauces! Also—my daughter’s favorite: Nice Cream—blended frozen bananas that make an ice cream consistency!
2. Cast iron skillet: Not only does it add a source of iron to your cooking, I swear it adds better flavor and all-around cooks everything tastier! I also love that you can make one skillet meals and you can put it in your oven if you want to.
3. Spiralizer: Because who doesn’t like zoodles, or at least saying the word zoodles?! I also enjoy making curly fries for the kiddos with this fun gadget!
4. Good knife set: Makes chopping those fruits and veggies are breeze! I love this colorful & durable set. I also recommend sharping them monthly.
5. Bamboo cutting boards: Bamboo cutting boards are what I prefer to chop on and will last a long time, they’re also pretty!
6. Collapsible strainer: This colorful handy dandy collapsible strainer has a minimal profile, so easy storage!
7. Instant Pot: Multi-functioning, easy, and fast are all things that this amazing kitchen gadget is capable of. You can make rice, soup, chili, yogurt, popcorn, pasta, steamed potatoes & vegetables, beans, and even vegan cheesecake! I’m always learning new ways to use my instant pot and am absolutely in love with it!
So, your friends invite you out after work or your family wants to go out for dinner, and you’re not sure how to do this vegan thing while eating out…don’t panic!
Vegan Momma to the rescue!
I fancy myself as a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to eating out as a vegan, I love going out to eat with family and friends, and I always say that no matter where we go, I can and will find something!
There are a variety of options at almost any restaurant.
Sometimes you’ll have to substitute or take off the dairy, but it is definitely
easy and do-able! I typically first look if there’s already an item on the menu
that’s vegan or vegetarian. If there isn’t, remove the meat and or dairy. Depending
on the type of restaurant you are at, you could add other yummy vegan add-ons,
such as avocado, potato, beans, rice, extra veggies, etc.
Google the restaurant and menu. Often times you can Google “[Restaurant name] vegan items” to see what is or can be made vegan. You could also look up the menu to see what your options are, that way you can plan ahead on what you can order, or if there doesn’t seem to be many options you like and you have a say in the restaurant choice, you can chose another restaurant that better suit you.
clear, nice and polite
If you’re making substitutions and changes, try to be
as clear and as polite as possible. Don’t just say “make it vegan”,
you need to be clear that you do not want any dairy, eggs, meat, or fish in
your meal. Be extra nice and polite about your requests, most restaurants will
be happy to accommodate you!
for codes on the menu
Many restaurant menus these days have a key code guide
that will list if an item is vegetarian or vegan. Sometimes it will be a leaf
or a green “v”, or some other type of icon. The guide will usually be
at the bottom of the menu. I’m always excited when I find these, since it makes
it so much easier to find items that will work. Some restaurants will even have
a vegetarian or vegan section of their menu, I get super excited when I see
this! Vegan win, yay!
What to order
Depending on the type of food you’ve gone out for, I
have go-to items that I tend to order at each type of restaurant. Here’s a
handy guide to show you some of the options at various restaurants.
Guacamole, salsa, and tortilla chips are a fav of mine! Bean, bean & rice, or veggie burritos, rice, veggie tacos, veggie fajitas, taco salad. Ask if there is cheese, sour cream, lard (in the beans), bacon (in the beans), or if the rice is made with chicken broth. Sometimes, the refried beans will have lard, but the whole black beans or pinto beans won’t. I like to add extra guacamole or avocado to most items as well!
Pasta (I like to add grilled veggies) with a non-dairy
based sauce. Bread with olive oil & balsamic, salad, bruschetta, olives,
grilled artichokes, veggie pizza with no cheese. Tips: Double check that there
are no cheese or eggs (in the pasta), also say no parmesan on top of anything.
I’m half Thai,
so I know my way around a Thai restaurant and love the vegan options you can
find. What I love is that almost any dish with tofu instead of meat and no fish
sauce. Fried rice with no egg, add tofu and extra veggies. I like to add
cashews to stir fry, noodle, and rice dishes. Curry, no fish sauce. Soups that
are veggie broth based. Vegetable spring rolls for appetizer. For dessert:
coconut sticky rice with mango!
Vegetable fried rice (no egg, add tofu), vegetable noodle dishes, vegetable dumplings, vegetable spring rolls, vegetable dumplings, vegetable soups (check that it’s vegetable broth base), bean curd, vegetable stir fry, steamed rice. Make sure that the dishes have no egg, no oyster, and no fish sauce.
Miso soup, make sure the base is vegetable broth. Vegetable sushi, avocado roll, vegetable tempura (make sure it doesn’t have egg), vegetable stir fry, seaweed salad, steamed rice, edamame. I love either doing miso soup and a vegetable roll and avocado roll or a bento box with a roll, vegetable tempura, and steamed rice.
French fries, veggie burgers or mushroom burger, veggie dogs, potato wedges, onion rings, baked potato. Ask about no dairy in the dishes you order. It’s usually easiest to pick items off of the side-item section and making a meal out of it. Unless you luck out and they have a veggie burger options, always double check that there is no dairy or egg in the veggie patty.
Yes, I have even found vegan friendly options at steakhouses and BBQ restaurants! The side-items list is going to be your best friend. Here you can usually find, fried pickles, French fries, sweet potato fries, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, green beans, and corn. House salad, mushroom “steak”, vegetable sandwiches, and sometimes vegetable chili can be found as well. Make sure to ask for no cheese, butter, sour cream, mayo, and any batters that contain buttermilk. I like to order several side dishes to make a meal, get creative!
samosa, channa masala, naan bread (check if it’s made with butter or yogurt), rice,
saag, dal, and there’s usually other veggie dishes. Make sure to ask for no
butter, cream, ghee, or paneer.
Greek salad, hummus, pita bread, tahini, grilled
veggies, pan-friend potatoes, vegetable dolmades, roasted eggplant, grilled
veggie wrap, falafels, tabuleh, cous cous. Ask for no cheese or yogurt to make
it vegan friendly.
VEGAN & VEGETARIAN
What vegan dreams are made of! You can order anything here, if it’s vegetarian, just make sure it doesn’t have any dairy in it. I like to order items that I can’t typically find vegan, like vegan french toast, vegan quiche, vegan breakfast burrito, and vegan cheese cake! Yum!
Last Tip: Use the Apps
Vegan eating has gotten easier with the awesome apps
you can download and use on the go right at your finger-tips! This is my
favorite way to find vegan friendly restaurants when I travel. My favorite apps
are: Happy Cow, Vegman, and VeganXpress (helps you find vegan options at chain
restaurants). I also like to use Yelp and search “vegan or vegetarian restaurants”.
Have fun finding vegan
items at any restaurant! Let me know what your favorite items to order are or
your go-to tips!
One of the most important things to do while following a vegan lifestyle, is to eat well-balanced and food that is packed with nutrients! This is what I have done for the last 19 years of living a vegan lifestyle, and I believe has accredited to the health, longevity, and sustainability I have had.
By focusing on whole plant-based food that are preferably minimally processed you will be able to live a long and happy vegan life! Later on, we will talk about any extra vitamins or supplements you may want to take as well, however, you can get almost all of your daily nutrients and vitamins just by eating a well-rounded diet packed with lots of vegetable and fruit sources.
Another tip I have is to focus on eating the rainbow, try to have different colors of fruit or veggies in your meals, and get a variety. Also, eating seasonally can help to round out those essential vitamins and nutrients.
Here is an example of a Vegan Food Pyramid, which will give you an idea of how easy it is to pack those needed nutrients in.
I find it so simple and easy to focus on whole plant based sources for the bulk of our meals. Here is a basic list of vegan staples that I always include.
My Go-To Vegan Staples
Beans (black beans & refried beans are our favs)
Field Roast Maple Sausages
Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream
So Delicious Ice cream
Nada Moo Ice cream
Go Veggie Cream Cheese
Field Roast Chao Cheese
Follow Your Heart Cheese
Dave‘s Killer Bread
Dave‘s Killer Bread Bagels (to go with the cream cheese!)
Condiments & Seasonings:
Everything Bagel seasoning
Avocado oil spray (for cooking)
Rice ramen noodles
GF pasta or whole wheat pasta
Nuts & Seeds:
All of your favorite fruits and veggies!
Make sure to get your dark leafy greens in, my go-to greens are romaine, kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. It’s also very beneficial to rotate which greens, fruit, and veggies you eat; eating seasonally and shopping farmer’s markets makes this easy.
I’m looking forward to continuing in helping you a long your vegan journey, next I’ll be sharing my vegan guide to dining-out!
So, it’s a new year, new you and you’ve decided to partake into this plant-based lifestyle trend. But where do you start? How do you transition? What do you add to your grocery list? What can you order when you eat-out?
Transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle can seem overwhelming and daunting, you may feel like you have to completely change your life and throw everything in your kitchen in the trash. Before you have a panic attack about whether or not plants have feelings or not, and if you’ll just have to survive on water & sun alone. Take a deep breath. I’m here to help, Vegan Momma to the rescue!
I’ve been eating plant-based for over 19 years, since I was 10 years old, and I think I know a thing or two about living a sustainable and delicious life through plant-based eating. I’ve also had 2 vegan pregnancies and have 2 vegan kiddos who are healthy, strong, and thriving! We don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything, in fact we feel like we are enjoying our lives to the fullest with the best health we can possibly have.
We’ll start this Vegan 101 series with a list of my favorite grocery staples! I will be keeping it budget friendly, but will also include some “treat” items that will help as you transition, such as my favorite vegan cheese and ice cream; because you’ll still want to treat yo’self once in a while!
Welcome to the Vegan Momma family, I can’t wait to help you on your vegan journey into health & wellness!