If you’re interested in following a raw food diet, get ready to give your kitchen tools and appliances a workout!
With a raw food diet, you will be preserving as much nutritional content as possible by not cooking or baking anything, and you will be eating natural ingredients without consuming heavily processed items.
But you still will need to do some food preparation!
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Don’t take for granted tools you use on a daily basis, such as a sturdy knife set or cutting board. And don’t shy away from bigger appliances, like a high-speed blender or a powerful juicer.
All of these, and more, will help you safely, quickly, and efficiently prep your ingredients, supporting your healthy diet every single day you’re in the kitchen.
Gourmet quality raw food meals are definitely on the horizon, with the help of the following eight essential appliances and tools!
Here’s what you’ll find:
8 Essential Tools and Appliances for Raw Food Chefs
1. Knife Set
One of the most useful tools in any kitchen, but especially in a raw foods kitchen, is a knife set!
With the amount of chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing of assorted produce and other ingredients, you will want to buy the best collection of knives within your budget.
The Zwilling Professional 7-Piece Knife Block Set features the basic cutlery you’ll need for kitchen prep work, and they can all be stored in a birchwood knife block.
The collection includes a 4-inch paring knife, a 5-inch serrated utility knife, a 5-inch santoku knife, an 8-inch chef’s knife, kitchen shears, and a 9-inch sharpening steel.
If this will be your first knife set, or if you are finally updating the old and rusty ones you have owned for years, I recommend avoiding discount stores or buying online – at least at first.
I suggest initially going in person to a restaurant or kitchen supply store, somewhere you can see the knives in person and physically touch and examine the quality of the workmanship.
Combined with reading knife reviews and choosing reputable sources, you can use that foundation to then shop online for the best deals.
If you would rather start small, you should at least purchase a set of two knives that will both be important tools you’ll use constantly: a paring knife and a chef’s knife.
Consider the Wüsthof Classic Ikon 2-Piece Knife Set, which includes a paring knife with a 3.5-inch blade and a chef’s knife with a 6-inch blade. Each knife is forged from a single piece of tempered high-carbon stainless steel.
You can build your set from there with more specialty cutlery items when you start developing your menu and find you need other options.
2. Cutting Boards
As a necessary accompaniment to your knives, the cutting board is another important kitchen item to own in multiple styles and sizes.
Go to any cooking discussion site, and you will find a heated debate on the quality versus the antibacterial properties versus the knife-dulling properties of various materials of cutting boards.
Everyone has a favorite, as well as a favored theory.
There are multiple considerations to keep in mind, in addition to the material you prefer. You also need to understand the necessity of disposing a cheaper board when it becomes heavily gouged, warped, and scratched, or to resurface the more expensive boards when the time comes!
Having worked in professional kitchens for years, I personally prefer the cleaning ease and practicality of a rubber board that can be resurfaced, but do also appreciate the aesthetic and the feel of chopping into a nice solid wooden block.
And, believe it or not, wooden boards often harbor a much smaller bacteria load than a badly mauled plastic board.
I generally use my wooden boards with all non-protein food items, and keep a rubber Sani-Tuff board on hand for prepping meats and fish, or when I know I’ll be doing a lot of prep work.
Strong and resilient, the Sani-Tuff 12-by-18-inch cutting board will give you sturdy foundation and ample prep space. Purchase it now from Amazon.
Alternatively, instead of splurging on one high-quality item, you can purchase multiple cheaper plastic versions that you are willing to throw away and replace when they get too worn.
I try to avoid glass or stone – such as marble – for general prepping, instead reserving these as beautiful serving platters instead. These types of hard materials can wreak havoc on the edges of your blades.
Even with a nice new knife set, you may want to consider purchasing a mandoline slicer.
They nicely fill the niche of yielding thinly sliced fruits and vegetables that are consistent in shape, something that is difficult to achieve safely with a chef’s knife.
Though you still have to be very careful when operating it to avoid any serious injuries! You’re slicing veggies, not fingers!
Ensure you do the research to find a high-quality tool. The whole point is to slice ingredients swiftly by hand – do you really want to have your fingers near a sharp blade in a flimsy tool?
Read Foodal’s complete guide to choosing the best mandoline.
The OXO Chef’s Mandoline Slicer 2.0 has stainless steel blades, and can create up to 21 different cuts. A sturdy, nonslip stand keeps it stable as you operate it. Make sure you use the hand guard, which comes includes with your purchase!
4. Food Processor
For slicing, grating, shredding, and pureeing, a food processor will be your best multi-purpose bud in the kitchen.
Sure, you can do it all by hand with a knife or with a box grater… but if you have a lot of mouths to feed, and you often prep large amounts of food, why not gift yourself with an incredibly practical tool to assist you?
If this describes your preparation needs, I advise that you should stay away from the “micro” processors. For the amount of food preparation that you are likely to do, you may risk burning out the motor with a miniature version.
You need a larger version, for sure!
This behemoth has a 720-watt motor and a large-capacity processor that will hold an impressive amount of ingredients. Multiple styles of blades and attachments optimize its prepping versatility.
For more information on various makes and models, take a look at Foodal’s food processor buying guide.
For whizzing up velvety soups and sauces, fresh salsas and condiments, and refreshing smoothies and smoothie bowls, nothing beats the power of a high-speed blender!
Consider buying a blender with a powerful motor, which is more successful in breaking down frozen, solid ingredients.
There is nothing worse than trying to create the perfect on-the-go beverage with an underpowered appliance – no one wants to munch on half-pureed banana bits and pieces halfway through sipping on a smoothie!
If you frequently rely on a blender and need a lot of space for bigger batches, choose a food industry favorite with the Vitamix brand of blenders.
You’ll literally laugh like a maniac the first time you use a Vitamix blender, and realize what it can do with a quick click of a button and twist of a dial!
If a full-sized, high-powered blender like a Vitamix is too overwhelming for your own small-scale kitchen requirements, we have other suggestions for you to review.
If it’s because you’re trying to save minimal counterspace, or if you only need to prep food for personal use, the Nutribullet Pro 900 will be a more practical choice for you.
Make creamy single-serving smoothies, or small amounts of soups and sauces, with the Nutribullet Pro 900. It may be small, but its 900-watt motor base and 32-ounce cup will get you far!
6. Spice Grinder
A fast way to grind up small amounts of whole seeds and spices is by using a spice grinder.
With this nifty appliance, you can create your own spice blends in order to enjoy the freshest and most flavorful food experiences.
Savor the taste of freshly ground cacao beans in homemade chocolate date bars, or that spicy sprinkle of ground chili powder over juicy, ripe slices of mango.
This small gadget makes a big difference from the store-bought pre-ground spices and blends you purchase. When you own a tool like this, you can freshly grind your whole spices as needed for recipes.
And if coffee is permitted in your diet, you can also use your tool for freshly grinding whole coffee beans.
Unless you want everything to taste like your single-origin coffee beans – or your cup of coffee to taste like your savory homemade ras el hanout spice blend – make sure to buy one specifically for grinding spices, and another one for only grinding your coffee.
And don’t forget to label them!
The push-button design allows you to operate the tool with only a single hand, and the interchangeable spice pods accommodate individual spices – ideal if you don’t want to blend or cross-contaminate flavors.
Fresh vegetable and fruit juices are not only healthy to drink as a simple and refreshing beverage, but they are also key ingredients in many raw food recipes, such as soups and sauces.
Think of enjoying a beautifully concentrated carrot soup with a medley of fresh herbs, or a super green pesto combined with a hit of juiced spinach for added color and nutrition.
While a blender can quickly puree your food, you might prefer enjoying your juices without any fiber or pulpy bits intruding your drinking or dining experience.
And while you could remove the liquid from the blender through a fine-mesh strainer – that’s a lot of extra, messy work!
For the ultimate smoothness without any textural interruptions, the juicer is the tool for you to get the job done well… and far more cleanly!
If you’re serious about buying a quality tool that can quickly process and filter juice with a dual-speed control, this is a stellar model.
8. Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator is a useful appliance to own for so many reasons – and they’re all tasty!
The most common reason, of course, is to help preserve your ingredients for long-term pantry storage.
But dried foods are also used in recipes to concentrate and capitalize on the characteristics inherent within the dehydrated ingredient itself.
For example, dried food has an ability to provide punches of pure flavor in relatively small amounts, or to offer a hearty, chewy, and meaty texture, or to act as a thickener when pureeing.
Dehydrators run the gamut from cheap to ultra-expensive; if you can live with a noisier fan and a shorter lifespan, and won’t be using it all that often, less expensive models may serve you perfectly fine.
With dehydrators, you definitely get what you pay for. Review Foodal’s dehydrator buying guide to help you choose the right one for your needs.
Currently, we’re big fans of the L’Equip FilterPro Food Dehydrator, available to purchase from Amazon.
This option has a digital temperature control unit and timer, and the filtered air system keeps your food clean of contaminants during the drying process.
It includes six trays, but is expandable up to 20 trays – you’ll want to dehydrate everything
Read our full review of the L’Equip FilterPro Food Dehydrator for more thorough information regarding its design, performance, capacity, features, and maintenance.
RAW DIET MADE EASY
Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or an omnivore, introducing more raw foods into your diet is a delicious and natural way to improve your overall health.
And a better diet is even easier to achieve with a well-stocked kitchen of essential tools and appliances.
The modern conveniences of high-quality gadgets and utensils, like what we recommend here as our top choices, can greatly assist implementing a fresh and nutritious diet with minimal processing.
How have you adapted your kitchen to prepare a raw foods diet at home? Is there a tried-and-true tool you love that we did not list here? Let us know in the comments!
We have many more kitchenware guides, so don’t let this article be your final stop! Here are three more to read next:
- The 7 Best Foodie Gifts Under $100
- 5 Helpful Gift Ideas for Anyone Who Hates to Cook
- 13 of the Best Kitchen Gadgets to Save You Time and Money
© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Uncredited photos via Shutterstock. Product photos via Amazon, OXO, and Breville. Originally published on February 18, 2015. Last updated on January 5, 2023.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.