• Sumo

Being vegetarian offers all sorts of health benefits that are worth the extra effort of avoiding meat. We feel better, are less likely to die early, and have lower chances of contracting or developing all sorts of diseases and illnesses. It’s also a joy to work within the constraints of cooking without meat for every meal. We must constantly invent and reinvent dishes in order to eat new, delicious meals throughout the days.

We can all get stuck in a rut, though. It can be a drag to eat the same fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains day in and day out for months, even years, at a time. One way to get yourself out of this rut is to invest in some new kitchen gadgets that will help you expand your culinary vocabulary in the kitchen. There are all sorts of cookware to choose from, and most of them are junk – they aren’t versatile enough to do more than they’re designed for.

Here are 5 cooking tools that are sure to help you create new, unique meals. They are relatively affordable and easy to use. Give them a shot and see what they can do for you in the kitchen!

Immersion Blender

This is a relatively simple tool that is invaluable when making soups. It’s a simple, hand held tool that allows you to blend soups without having to pour it in a blender. They’re pretty darn cheap, and won’t run you more than $25 at the store. This can seem like a narrow-use device at first glance, but when you consider all the types of blended soups you can make – and the number of servings you get out of them – it quickly becomes clear that this is a tool worth having around. You can also use it to blend any sort of drinks together, like hot cocoa or powdered drinks. Quick, easy to use, and cheap!

Food Processor

Having a small food processor in your kitchen’s repertoire will instantly widen the array of foods you can make. Food processors can chop and mince anything in an instant, mix together fine ingredients, puree anything, and are necessary to create a whole host of recipes. It’ll also replace the blender in your kitchen, as you can easily make smoothies with this, as well. They run the gamut from cheap to expensive. I recommend spending anywhere between $75 – $100 on a medium-small food processor that is of higher quality. You want it to last, so better to pay a little extra for something well made.

Mortar and Pestle

This often gets stigmatized as a somewhat snobby kitchen tool, but it has a wide variety of functions that it can serve (alright, it does look nice on my kitchen counter). Grind up garlic and herbs by hand with this, and save time by not having to bring out any heavier device, or doing with a knife. A mortar and pestle will give you a nice mash. Try making herb butter with this – a brilliant way to add flavor to a nice piece of bread or anything you’re cooking up.

Pizza Stone

This is the one exception to my rule of being multi-functional. I just love having a pizza stone in my kitchen – I love eating pizza made from scratch (a cheap way to eat good food). Pizza stones work in two ways: they help spread heat evenly across the bottom of a pizza, and help suck some of the moisture from the dough so that it crisps up nicely. The best part about pizza stones is that they won’t break the bank – you can get a nice stone for $30-$40. Don’t be fooled by stones that are upwards of $100 – at that point you’re just paying for the packaging. Most are identical – it’s just a slab of rock, after all.

A Really Nice Knife

Having at least one really nice, sharp knife on hand will make cooking much easier. Being able to slice through the skins of vegetables with minimal effort not only expedites the process, it’s much safer. You’re much more likely to cut yourself using a dull knife, because it can slip off the food and cut your fingers. You can find high quality vegetable knives for $50-$100, and it’s well worth the investment. Make sure to sharpen your knife between use, each and every time. It will keep your sharp edge for much longer, and it only takes a few second to do.