When I was working on my cookbook, I was in the kitchen for hours upon hours. I cooked, baked, and prepped multiple recipes every day and there were a few tools that made life a little bit easier. I haven’t shared a lot of the behind the scenes, so this seemed like a good place to start! Here are some of my kitchen essentials for healthy cooking!

A colander that hangs in the corner of the sink.

Alex got me this colander a few years ago and it’s handy because it hangs in the corner of the sink so the rest of the sink is still accessible. Not only is it helpful for pasta but when I’m washing berries or drying zucchini noodles, they often need to sit in the colander for about 10 minutes. This way I can still use my sink while they’re hanging out!
draining zucchini noodles helps remove excess moisture

A high powered blender that can pulverize ice.

For me, that’s my Vitamix, but they’re not cheap so if your budget doesn’t allow for one, it’s ok! There are other great products out there. Look for a blender that can crush ice. That’s something cheaper blenders can get stuck on. If you do have the money for a Vitamix, do it. I got mine 7 years ago and still use it regularly. You can save a few bucks by gettinga refurbished one but they’ll still run you over $300. (Source: https://howtohome.com/kitchen/best-quiet-blender/)

blender smoothie

A food processor for big and small jobs.

I know, I just told you to get a blender and now I’m telling you to get a food processor. But you don’t have to get a fancy one. If you get a large one, look for one with a shredding disk. It will save you tons of time when it comes to making chopped salads. (I use my shredding disk when I make this Brussels sprout salad.) I got this Hamilton Beach Food Processor which has a larger cup that is great for chopping or shredding but it also comes with a smaller cup size that is perfect for things like sauces and pestos. It’s nice to only have one appliance to store but two options to use it.

small blender

Nonstick pots and pans for easy sautéing.

I got these Calphalon pots and pans a few months ago and I love them. They’re nonstick, scratch resistant, and they stack neatly. I know there is an argument against nonstick pans because it can be harder to develop a “crust” on things and you might not get the same browning you would from a stainless steel skillet, but for me, it’s worth the trade-off. Nonstick pans generally don’t require as much oil, so you can cook anything from green beans to tempeh bacon without having to worry about things getting stuck in the pan.

calphalon stackable pots

A sharp microplane for grating cheese.

For years I had a dull cheese grater that sat in a drawer and I didn’t pull it out unless I really had to. Then I got one of these microplanes and my whole life changed. (Ok, that’s a little dramatic, but it changed my shredded cheese process.) A microplane is great for zesting lemons or grating ginger but it’s also perfect for shredding cheeses like Parmesan and Pecorino Romano. It produces a super fine, fluffy shredded texture. One ounce of Parmesan can be transformed into a giant pillow of cheese that mixes beautifully into a salad. Yes, I said pillow of cheese. It’s a great way to get lots of flavor out of just a little bit of cheese.

kale salad

Parchment paper for a nonstick surface…and easy cleanup.

I know this is a simple one but I love baking with parchment paper. It creates a great nonstick surface and it makes clean up a breeze. If you hate the kind on a roll because it doesn’t like to lay flat, try single sheets like these.

zucchini with sauce

With all of the cooking that has been happening in my kitchen, having the right tools has made a huge difference. These are some of the items that I’ve found useful in my own cooking endeavors but I want to know which products you love!

Is there a utensil that changed your life? A gadget that saves you tons of time? Tell me in the comments below!

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