Kitchen Equipment Essentials

Post by Paula Jahn, Dietitian and Co-owner at Nourish Northwest

A few weeks ago, we did a post on pantry staples. It is true that in order to set yourself up for success in the kitchen, you need healthy, basic ingredients. In order to turn those ingredients into a meal, you need the right equipment.

Anyone who has taken a cooking class at Nourish Northwest knows that we are not proponents of having lots of kitchen gadgets. We especially despise bulky items that serve only one purpose (i.e., a bread machine or an onion chopper). But, there are a few essential items to stock in your cupboards to ensure you can transform fresh, raw materials into a delicious and nourishing dish.

An inessential item.

First, I’ll start with the bare minimum:

  • One good chef’s knife
  • A large heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron skillet
  • A large, solid wood cutting board
  • A few wooden spoons
  • One large pot (for soup, pasta and potatoes) and a medium saucepan or pot
  • A 13×9″ casserole dish for roasting or baking
  • One or two large rimmed baking sheets
A good chef's knife is indispensable.
A heavy-bottomed 12" skillet: Can't cook without it.

There are a few other utensils and pieces of equipment that are not absolutely imperative, but are items I use multiple times a week.  I agree with most of the Kitchn’s suggestions for essential kitchen utensils. Following recipes would be difficult without liquid measuring cups, measuring spoons and mixing bowls. I would add to that list a silicone spatula and a whisk.

Microplane multitasker: Citrus zester, ginger shredder, cheese grater

I make a pureed soup at least once a month in the winter (celery root and carrot ginger are favorites). This would not happen if I had to transfer steaming ladles of soup to a blender or food processor. So, for me, an immersion blender is an essential item. They are inexpensive, versatile and way easier to clean than a regular blender.

An immersion blender makes pureed soups a snap.

Finally, an item that I lived without until recently: the food processor. This is one of those “How did I ever cook without this?” items. I recommend getting at least a 9-cup capacity food processor. I use it mostly to make dressings, sauces, cashew cream and to chop large quantities of nuts. Most also come with attachment blades that include a sliceer, shredder and a pastry blade.

Food processor is a versatile "essential".

What are some of your kitchen essentials?

Happy cooking!


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