In our recent Virtual Healthy Eating Adventure, our coaches shared some of their favorite gadgets. Let me note that you don’t have to have these “gadgets” to cook great meals– but they can add fun, variety and different options for cooking. Do you have a favorite gadget? Send a picture and brief description to email@example.com! You can enjoy a video of our “Coaches Gadget Demo” and Dr. Liz’s “How Does a WFPB Lifestyle Prevent and Reverse Inflammation?”
Zoodles (aka zucchini noodles)
The Spiralizer is a fun favorite, and it’s easy! Carolyn demonstrated that “it’s easy as 1,2,3!” 1.Set up your spiralizer, being sure to push down to engage the suction cups. 2. Choose your blade. 3. Place your vegetable (a zucchini in this picture) and spiralize.
It’s so easy that my 11 year old granddaughter loves to pull one out when the garden is producing zucchini, squash, potatoes, and carrots.
Cook the zoodles about two-four minutes in a pot of boiling water or in a covered dish in the microwave. Zoodles make a fun nutrient-filled alternative to wheat spaghetti; this is a nice replacement to make a hardy, but less calorie dense, dish of noodles with tomato sauce. (Lentil and other legume pastas are also great options). The zoodles can be enjoyed raw in slaws, or add color and texture to salads too!
Curly Sweet Potatoes
Carolyn noted “Spiralizing encourages our creative side because of the many fruits and vegetables that can be used in this process including: carrots, beets, parsnips (most root vegetables), butternut squash, eggplant, potatoes (sweet and most other varieties), apples and pears plus so much more!” Spiralized beets and carrots add wonderful color and texture variety to a salad!”
These sweet potatoes were spiralized with the “flat” blade. They taste grate steamed, baked, or even air fried – with a little cinnamon and turmeric, or cumin, paprika and garlic powder. You could even make sweet potato or apple pie with this cut!
Immersion Blender Patti loves her blender. For example, you can take a chunky vegetable potato soup, blend it a bit in the pot, on the stove, to make it creamier but still textured, or you can blend it until completely smooth! Sooooo much easier than following the usual instructions to “pour two thirds of your soup into your food processor and blend, return back to the stove” which is always a hot mess, with spills and a blender to clean up!
One reminder – be sure to immerse the bender completely, or it will splatter all over! Also great for blending baby food.
Ultra fine Mesh Strainer Larry found this strainer, made with food grade plastic, at a kitchen shop. This is great for that whole grain rice or those lentils that the box tells you “be sure to rinse to remove any tiny stones that might have been missed.” You can rinse and inspect them easily in this.
Tofu Press Tofu is so handy for stir frying, in salad, on noodles, in soups, making creamy desserts and the list goes on. The most challenging part is the instruction “first, press the liquid out of the tofu.” This is always a messy adventure with many paper towels…. unless you’ve discovered tofu presses! Carolyn demonstrated this one. Place the tofu into the strainer tray with little legs, set the tray into the collecting box, put the press (bottom left) on top, close with the green clamps, give it a few minutes! Read about delicious tofu here!
Super Hand-Saving Gripper is highly recommended by Tanny (and I second that!) for significantly improving ease and comfort of jar opening. No more slippery tops, painful pressure on palms or twisting against wrists! Such a simple “device”, and your hands will thank you!
Insta Pots are popular as a real time saver, and also, because, as Jean says, “you can put in the ingredients, set the button, and walk away.” The Insta Pot is like a combination pressure cooker, crock pot, steamer and rice cooker. The buttons’ settings are great for soup, stew, cooking dried beans, grains all with no fuss, no boiling over, no stirring and done just right. Jean started her Sloppy Joes at the beginning of our demo. And it was done before our demo was over:
Sloppy Lentils Adapted from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 small red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 14.5-ounce can crushed no-salt-added tomatoes (if you can’t find crushed tomatoes, use diced, and blend them until smooth)
2 1/2 cups water, or combination of water/broth
2 tablespoons tamari or other soy sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon date sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Set Instant Pot to Saute. Saute onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes. Mix in chili powder.
Add lentils, tomatoes, water/broth, tamari, mustard, date sugar, pepper.
Secure lid to pot. Ensure valve is set to Sealing. Set on Manual for 10 minutes.
Allow pressure to reduce naturally. Let steam out after a while, if needed.
Stir and serve with a colorful salad! Great on a whole grain bun!
Air Fryer – If you’re thinking of getting a toaster oven, consider one with an air fryer setting. The circulating hot air at a higher temperature will have your favorite roasting veggie combo, sweet potato wedges, spiralized potatoes and crispy tofu – done in 20 minutes or less, light and crispy!
These Crispy Tofu Squares were so easy with the air fryer: Press moisture out of tofu, cut into desired size slices, season as desired (ginger and garlic on these) (No Oil), place spread out in basket, set on Air Fry – 15 minutes. Voila – delicious crispness – great on a salad, in a stir fry, in a curry……
Enjoy your colorful, nutritious whole foods plant based cooking with creativity, fun and ease!