I didn’t have many kitchen appliances before I started eating whole-food plant-based, just the usual, oven and microwave, oh and a slow cooker gathering dust in a forgotten corner! What more does a person need when living off processed food and whatever was easiest to heat up or throw together with the aid of the microwave.
My first purchase when I was faced with actually having to prepare meals from scratch!!!! was a Ninja food processor including blender. Next came an air fryer and then an Instant Pot. All of these now get a great deal of use because eating wfpb takes some planning and can take a lot of preparation. The good news is you can save time when preparing delicious healthy meals by investing in some appliances. Believe me, they will not be relegated to sitting in a corner gathering the afore mentioned dust!
Ninja Food Processor
I think the first thing I made in my Ninja Food Processor was Cashew Cream. This is quite calorific so I try not to have it too often. I love it on whole wheat toast – this from someone who had to have toast with lashings of butter – and ate it despite it causing acid reflux! I have a dollop of cashew cream on top of Buddha bowls and also add it to some pasta and curry recipes. It is important to soak cashew nuts before blending and the Ninja handles this very well, providing a lovely smooth cashew cream. The ninja is also a time saver as it has attachments to slice and chop vegetables – which needless to say, saves a lot of time.
What’s an Instant Pot? – found this on a couplecooks.com
An Instant Pot is a programmable digital pressure cooker (Instant Pot is the brand name). There are many other brands available. The concept is to cook foods at high pressure, which cuts down on cooking time – verses traditional cooking , crock pot or slow cooker. I do remember having a Pressure Cooker at some point many years ago but if I recall correctly, I didn’t do a great deal with it. I use my Instant Pot a lot. It’s great because you put all the ingredients in, set it to the desired programme and then leave it to do its thing! Then you are free to do something else because you are not constantly having to stir, add etc. Here’s a recipe from a couple cooks.com for a very simple but tasty pasta dish.
Instant Pot Spaghetti
- 2 cups water
- 28oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (I use water to sauté)
- 1tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves (chopped)
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- 8oz spaghetti
- In a medium bowl, stir together the water, tomatoes and their juices, olive oil (if using), balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, salt (if using), spinach and whole basil leaves
- Ladle just enough of the tomato mixture into the instant pot to cover the bottom
- Break the spaghetti in half. Working in batches, add the noodles to the Instant Pot in a fan shape so that they stack on each other – this will prevent the spaghetti sticking together.
- Pour remaining sauce over the spaghetti
- Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Note that it takes about 10 minutes for the pot to ‘preheat’ and come up to pressure before cooking.
- Quick release: vent the remaining steam from the Instant Pot by moving the pressure release handle to ‘venting’, covering your hand with a towel or oven glove. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam.
- Once all steam is released (the button near the vent will pop down), open the lid and stir. Then remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot and allow to cool for about 5 minutes for the sauce to thicken. Ladle into pots and serve.
I have a really small Weight Watchers brand Air Fryer. Not big enough for a family, so I tend to cook in batches if we all eat together because you need to lay your food in as flat a layer as possible. The air fryer makes fantastic chips. I par boil my chips first, dry them on kitchen paper then place in the air fryer. The boys like them sprinkled with a little garlic salt. I’ve air fried baked potatoes – so good!
What else can you cook in an Air Fryer?
Tender vegetables – approx 10 – 15 minutes, shaking a couple of times during cooking
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower
- Soft vegetables like, peppers and tomato
- Thin veggies like asparagus – all of the above can be done quickly in an air fryer.
Firm vegetables – approx 20 – 30 minutes – shaking the pan a few times during the cooking process to promote even cooking
- Root vegetables (carrots, beets, potato, parsnips)
- Winter squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin)
How to air cook frozen vegetables
Determine which category your frozen veg falls under (tender or firm) then add a few minutes cooking time to allow for your frozen veg to thaw. Allow space between your veg for the water to evaporate during the cooking process so the veg is perfectly roasted.
Of course, you can find lots of plant based recipes on the internet suitable for the appliances shown here. All of them will save you time in preparing wonderful healthy meals. Don’t be afraid to create your own recipes either as you become more confident in planning, preparing and cooking.
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