The Daily Beet

10 Jul Guest Post: Lindsay Nixon (Happy Herbivore) Kitchen Essentials

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Lindsay with Rip and some plant-strong guys at a potluck in Austin!

Today we have a guest post from our friend, Lindsay Nixon from Happy Herbivore!

Every so often I hear someone tell me “I’d love to eat healthy but I can’t afford fancy kitchen equiptment.”

You don’t need a $400 blender to eat well. You don’t even need a $20 blender. You only need a few pots and pans, maybe some bakeware (like a cookie sheet and casserole dish), a knife and some basics like a spatula. You don’t even need a fancy brand. The spatula at the dollar store works just as good as the expensive one at Williams Sonoma.

Here’s the bare bones list:
3 pots (varying sizes), 1 skillet, cookie sheet, baking dish, cheap blender, a big spoon, a spatula, a cheese grater, 1 colindar, mixing bowls (though not entirely necessary if you have other bowls, for cereal or salad, whisk, standard utensil plus a good knives and measuring cups/spoons. If you plan to bake: bread pan and muffin tin and a blender if you want to make pureed soups or oat flour.And to prove that’s all you need: I spent an entire year with this list and nothing more, cooked 3 meals a day for my family AND wrote Everyday Happy Herbivore ;)

Beyond that list are some helpful, but not essential items:
rice cooker, food processor, steamer, stainless steel, different size baking vessels.

If you had a friend who could not spend a lot on kitchen tools and gadgets, what advice would you give them? What things would you suggest they get with a budget of under $100.00 total?

Lindsay S. Nixon is a rising star in the culinary world, praised for her ability to use everyday ingredients to create healthy, low fat recipes that taste just as delicious as they are nutritious. She is the author of two bestselling cookbooks, The Happy Herbivore Cookbook and Everyday Happy Herbivore. Her third book, Happy Herbivore Abroad, will be released in December 2012. Learn more about Nixon and try some of her recipes at happyherbivore.com.

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Lindsay Nixon
Lindsay Nixon

Lindsay S. Nixon is a rising star in the culinary world, praised for her ability to use everyday ingredients to create healthy, low fat recipes that taste just as delicious as they are nutritious. She is the author of two bestselling cookbooks, The Happy Herbivore Cookbook and Everyday Happy Herbivore. Her third book, Happy Herbivore Abroad, will be released in December 2012. Learn more about Nixon and try some of her recipes at happyherbivore.com.

  • http://katesgreatkitchen.blogspot.com Kate

    When I got married over 30 years ago, we had very little money. I kept house with only 1 glass mixing bowl that doubled as a baking dish, one soup pan, and one knife. It was a bit challenging but not impossible. My kitchen is now very well outfitted. However, recently, we’ve been traveling a lot. On the road, I cook quick meals inspired by Jeff Novick’s videos for lunch and dinner with miso soup and green smoothies for breakfast with a small butane stove, a cheap blender, a soup pot, a wooden spoon, a can opener, a paring knife, one kitchen towel, one kitchen wash cloth, one tiny bottle of dish soap, little bags of spices, two large soup bowls, two Chinese soup spoons, and two quart sized jars. We eat very well and clean up is minimal. The whole compact kit fits in a small suit case, making our traveling kitchen incognito at hotel check in as well as functional.

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  • Jennifer Edwards

    If you live in an urban/suburban area, Big Lots is the best for cheap awesome cookware. My blender, cuttingboard, cheese grater, veggie peeler, and soup bowls come from there.

  • Debbie

    Even though I can afford to buy new when looking for basic kitchen gear I always check at thrift stores first when I think I need something — pots, pans, baking dishes, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, cutting boards, spatulas, etc. I’ve even found more “exotic” stuff, like the little rice cooker I got 15 years ago for $4. It finally died it’s final death last year and made perfect brown rice all that time. Really, at one time or another you’ll find just about anything you need there.

  • http://www.hearthealthyfamily.blogspot.com Miranda

    I would say a good knife for chopping veggies ( I am a little addicted to my Pampered Chef 5 in Santoku) I also use my Cuisinart food processor all. the. time :)

  • Marty Miller

    I have been plant strong for 9 months. I would forgo alot of gadgets and keep my emersion blender. I make a ton of soup and use it often. More than just a cool toy.

  • Jeannine

    I got myself a “Magic Bullet” blender for $30 when I couldn’t afford to buy one for $100+. And when I did save enough for an expensive blender, I still used it while I researched to find the best one. I have an expensive blender now, but I still use the bullet a few times a week for grinding nuts, oats, spices and recipes with mashed bananas or beans/bean dips. For xmas & birthdays my family always asks what I want, I usually gift them a list of needed household items since I don’t usually budget for things like that. Why not ask for a nice knife set, pot set, or a gift card to go towards a purchase of that sort?

  • Laurapcar

    An electric pressure cooker. I use it several days a week to
    make soups, pasta sauce and to cook beans, potatoes, beets, etc. I would not want to do without it.

  • Tina Lemna

    I agree with Ann that every kitchen needs a zester. I use mine almost every day to add lemon or orange zest for flavor. A good knife and heavy half sheet baking sheet for roasting veggies is also a must.

  • Lynnette

    With out college kids looking at first apartments, this is a great challenge. Lindsay’s list is a perfect for basics. Make sure to add a can opener. All that and “eating” dishes is a challenge for $100. I would include inexpensive hand held mixer for those who like baking. And now a simple stick immersion blender or regular blender for soups and such. My $3 yard sale special hand held mixer from my first college apartment finally died a couple of years ago. Deals are out there to be found. We got my daughter a hand held mixer and immersion/stick blender for her BD this summer. They were on sale & a good deal. And as a bonus, they both were purple.

  • Angela W.

    I’d invest in a plain skillet and a 4- or 6-quart pot… with a lid to fit both. I’d also get a decent flipping spatula and a rubber spatula, a big spoon, can opener, cutting board and two knives… a smaller serrated knife and a larger one for bigger chopping jobs. A veggie peeler a fine mesh strainer and a steamer. Finally, a big cheap plastic bowl for salads. If I still had money, I’d get a jellyroll pan or two (aka cookie sheet), two Corning Ware casserole dishes with glass lids. Oh, and some cheap plastic storage containers for yummy leftovers.

  • Jeff

    1) Can Opener – $7.00
    2) Scissors – $4.00
    3) Pots, & Pans – $50.00
    4) Jeff Novick’s Fast Food DVD – #23.90

  • Melissa

    I would add a salad spinner to this list! Otherwise get ready to waste thousands of paper towels drying your leafy veggies.

  • Barbara

    A good knife, a salad spinner and a cutting board. I use these three items every day and would not be without them.