8 Essential Appliances for Raw Food Chefs

If you’re interested in following a raw food diet, get ready to give your kitchen appliances a workout! Even though you may be preserving nutrients and enzymes by not cooking your food, you will want to do some food preparation.

Kitchen Tools and appliances and The Raw Food Diet

Gourmet quality raw food meals are definitely on your horizon, with the help of the following eight essential appliances and tools.

1. Three-Piece Knife Set

The most used tool in any kitchen, but especially in a raw foods kitchen, is a knife set.

With the amount of chopping, slicing, and removal of non-edible parts of your fruits, vegetables, and nuts required, you will want to buy the best knives you can afford, even if you must wait to purchase other tools and appliances.

Raw food diets and good quality knives go hand in hand.

I’d recommend avoiding discount stores and either going into a restaurant or kitchen supply where you can pick up the knife and examine the quality of the workmanship, or reading knife reviews and buying online from a reputable source.

At a minimum, you will want a paring knife, a chef’s all-purpose, and a perhaps a Chinese cleaver.

2. Cutting Boards

Go to any cooking discussion site and you will find a heated debate on the quality versus antibacterial properties versus knife-dulling properties of various cutting board types. Everyone has a favorite, and a favored theory.

In the end, it doesn’t matter nearly as much what the board is made of – whether acrylic, wood, rubber, and so on – but rather, that the cook is willing to dispose of a cheaper board when it becomes heavily gouged and scratched, or to resurface the more expensive boards when the time comes.

Cutting board are a must have kitchen gadget | Foodal.com

I personally like the feel of chopping into a nice solid wooden block and, believe it or not, these often harbor a much smaller bacteria load than a badly mauled plastic board. I prefer end grain boards (please see my in-depth wood cutting board article if don’t know what I mean by “end grain”) that “self-heal.” 

I generally use my wooden boards with all non-protein based food items and keep several hard rubber “sani-tuff” boards on hand for prepping meats and fish. Both of these materials can be resurfaced (which may never be needed with end grain wood).

Alternatively, you can purchase cheap plastic versions that you are willing to throw away when they get too gouged. I try to avoid glass, bamboo, stone (i.e. marble), and other hard surfaced boards, as they can wreak havoc on the edges of your blades.

3. Heavy-Duty Blender

For making cold soups and sauces, salsas, and smoothies, nothing beats a blender. Most home cooks do very well with a moderately priced blender; bargain blenders rarely have the horsepower to do a decent job, while commercial kitchen varieties are very expensive.

Consider buying a blender with a powerful motor and “wave action,” which is more successful in breaking up frozen ingredients. There is nothing worse than trying to create the perfect smoothie or frozen yogurt with an underpowered appliance.

Vitamix Turboblend 4500 Countertop Blender with 2+ HP Motor

I use and recommend the Vitamix 4500, but I’ve read good things about the Blentechs as well. You’ll literally laugh like a maniac the first time you use one of these and realize what a real blender is capable of.

Another oldie-but-goodie in the high-speed category is the Vitamix 5200.

4. Coffee or Burr-Based Spice Grinder

One of the best ways to create your own high-protein nut milks for soups, sauces, and drinks is with a coffee grinder. Unless you want everything to taste like coffee (or your coffee to taste like nuts), make sure to buy one just for nut grinding. Look for coffee grinders in kitchen and restaurant supply, storefront as well as online.

5. Juicer

Raw Food Diets and Juicers | Foodal.com

Fresh vegetable and fruit juices are not only healthy to drink, but are also an essential ingredient for many raw food recipes, such as soups and sauces. Most moderately priced brands will be sufficient for your purposes, but check the reviews for ease of cleaning. Even expensive models are notorious for being difficult to clean.

6. Food Dehydrator

Dried foods serve two purposes. The most common, of course, is to help preserve your ingredients. But dried foods are also used in recipes to capitalize on the characteristics inherent with dried foods, such as their ability to sweeten with relatively small amounts, or to thicken recipes.

Excalibur 3926tw 9 tray Dehydrator with timerExcalibur 3926TW Excalibur 3926TW 9 Tray Dehydrator with Timer White, 1, White

Dehydrators run the gamut from cheap to ultra-expensive; if you can live with a noisier fan and a shorter lifespan, less expensive models from a discount store may serve you fine. However, I own and highly recommend one of the Excalibur models – this is a brand that you want to stick with if you care about a quality machine that will last for years (if not decades). 

With dehydrators, you definitely get what you pay for. You can check out Foodal’s dehydrator buying guide to help you choose.

7. Food Processor

For slicing, grating, and shredding, especially large amounts, a food processor is your best friend. Yes, you can do it all by hand with a knife or with a box grater… but why? Raw food chefs should stay away from the “micro” processors – for the amount of food preparation that you are likely to do, you definitely risk burning out the motor.

Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor

For many home kitchens, especially those that are vegetarian, a moderately priced (again, avoid the absolute cheapest variety) food processor from a discount store or a kitchen supply will suffice. We particularly like the well reviewed Cuisinart 7 Cup model.  For more information on various makes and models, take a look at Foodal’s food processor buying guide.

8. Mandoline Slicer

Even with a food processor, you may want to consider a mandoline slicer. They nicely fill the niche between knife preparation and a motorized contraption. Mandolines are also much cheaper than a food processor, and easier to clean.

Mandoline Slicer - Foodal.com

Avoid at all costs the cheap plastic and steel varieties found in discount shops. The whole point is to slice ingredients quickly 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 now.

Whether you’re a vegan or an omnivore, introducing more raw foods into your diet is a tasty, natural way to improve your health. The modern conveniences listed above can greatly assist with the implementation of your new lifestyle, and in sculpting the “new you.”

How have you adapted your kitchen to prepare a plant-based diet at home? Let us know in the comments!

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About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

32 thoughts on “8 Essential Appliances for Raw Food Chefs”

  1. I’ve almost completely stopped using plastic cutting boards. It’s almost impossible to wash them properly and there are always microscopic left overs from the cutting, One very important thing regarding wooden cutting boards is proper drying after cleaning. You have to let the board dry up completely before storing it otherwise you risk bacterial growth.

    • Am sticking to my plastic board come rain or sunshine…well at least until i find a good wooden cutting board that will not with-hold the smell of onions or garlic even after washing thoroughly…the type of wooden cutting boards in my locality {sorry/sad to say} are poorly made 🙁 …but am on the look out on amazon plus some advice in that regard from this wonderful website 🙂

      • Diane, some of the hardest, durable, and beautiful wood comes from your part of the world. However, some of it can be toxic (at least the sawdust) so I’d be a little leery as well.

    • Or another trick to stabilize a wooden board is to purchase one with feet and leave it out on the counter. The feet allow for air circulation. These are really only suitable for certain parts of the world though (i.e. McMansions in the USA and Canada). Most kitchens in Asia and Europe are much too small to sacrifice that much real estate on the counter tops.

      • Now that’s a brilliant idea.. am in the market… shopping/looking for a house so i’ll remember to keep this idea in my head while making those hard decisions…i sort of get the picture you are painting across in this regard 🙂

    • It is funny hearing all the debate and conflicting information about cutting boards. Just my opinion, but I stick to plastic ones and use bleach after certain preparations. Even being in a science based profession, I never know for sure if cutting board bacteria is a real risk, or if it is just something that gets exaggerated.

  2. This is a great review. I’m not interested in going raw, but I like to see how the other half lives as it were. It seems that half the raw recipes I’ve seen require almost more work than cooked recipes and the other are incredibly simple. I suppose it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. These gadgets are good for any cook though, so it makes it nice and flexible.

  3. This is a great review, can’t wait to read about the mandoline slicer’s. I have several friends who have gone raw, and other who are on the fence , I will refer them to this article so they can get some insight first hand.
    Although there are many things in raw-food you do not do much in regular cooking, depending on cuisine many things are surprisingly the same. And good tools are essential.

  4. Knives and cutting boards are essential for cooking in general as well.
    I’ve always wanted to get a food dehydrator and make healthy versions of the fruit roll-up snacks. In the summer, I tend to buy lots of fruits and they go bad quickly; Dehydrators, blenders and juicers are a good way to use up the fruits and make them into healthy smoothies.

  5. Vitamix is ridiculously expensive. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used them & I love them but five hundred dollars for a blender is a tall order. I’m wondering if anyone has had any luck buying one used or a different (equally good but exponentially cheaper) version?

    • Joan,

      In my mind, the Vitamix is worth it. I’d rather save up for a decent tool rather than settle for a subpar version. If you click the link in the article to our guide, you’ll find that there are some cheaper options (Chinese made) that are apparently as powerful or nearly so. I’d rather buy from a USA manufacturer who has been making the same product (or nearly so) for decades and who keeps parts on hand in the event repairs are need. However, YMMV.

      • I understand entirely the argument behind spending for quality but jeez Louise on the cost of that blender. I would have no problem dropping three hundred (which is still a chunk of change) on a Vitamix but when you get to the level where I can purchase a used car for the same amount I start to get apprehensive.

        Thanks for the knock off suggestions but I’m sure there’s something made in America a couple steps under the Vitamix. I’ll throw another reply in the ring if I find what I’m looking for.

    • My husband is a chef so he has been able to use the Vitamix at school and in various restaurants but we certainly can’t afford to spend that much on a blender. The ninja series that you can get at Walmart and other big box retailers is no Vitamix but it is good for home use. 🙂

  6. Wow I had not thought of my glass cutting board taking a toll on my kitchen knives! I appreciate your inputs on this article, since I am not always the most kitchen-savvy person around it really helps me plan what appliances and utensils I’ll be needing to purchase soon. I have been looking into getting a food processor, I did not realize how handy they can be for making so many different types of foods! Definitely a very insightful and knowledgeable article!

    • Plus, yes glass boards are one of my pet peeves. They are horrendously damaging to the edge of your knives (if you like to keep them sharp like I do). I’d recommend clicking on the link to my cutting board article to read more of the role that cutting boards play in keeping your tools in tip top shape.

  7. I can understand how going live is like a lifestyle change that requires these helpful tools. They seem like they provide more convenience by saving time and effort. Plus, if you have these tools, it seems you could be more creative with your meals. I can not see going all raw because I feel I would be bored. These tools would help with that. Like the mandoline slicer and the dehydrator. I really like dehydrated snacks. Also, the high powered blender can produce creaminess in drinks and dishes. Thanks for this quick run down of these various time saving devices.

  8. I’ve been looking for a list like this for several weeks. I am planning on taking on a raw til 6 approach to nutrition and this is just what I needed to prep. I hope that you will post some delicious raw recipes for us to use!

    • GPM, I’ll try to work some up; the next three weeks are going to be hectic though so I can’t guarantee anything in the short term.

    • I think the post was great for basic stuff, but from the stories I heard from raw-eating people, they always seem to love stuff like zucchini noodle for making spaghetti. I imagine it needs one of these devices to get your veggies twirled and all in different ways — I’d like to see recommendations for what to look for in that.

  9. Speaking of blenders…the last one we {my mom & i} had, while the motor would run…it would emit some sort of awful smell and it would really scare me/us steep…now i know what to look for…a heavy duty blender with a powerful motor and ‘wave action’ {thanks for the great advice in that regard} 😉

  10. I love cutting boards not just for cooking but they can be used in so many ways. Heck we’ve used them in place of a table mat before because their easy to clean. Sometimes I use the thick ones on the table to sit a pot of food onto that is really hot. So aside from prepping they are wonderful to have.

  11. What an array of appliances! I think if I were to have all of these in my kitchen, I would be some sort of Iron Chef! While the knives and boards go without saying, there are few others that I own. The next thing for me will be the Vitamix blender, I’ve heard so many great things about these, I can’t wait to double my vegetable intake through smoothies and raw juices. Not to mention making your own flours and spice mixes.

  12. I need to get a sturdy cutting board. I use a cheap plastic cutting board that has so many cuts in it, which probably means I’ve been eating plastic pieces for years. I also have a coffee grinder lying around the house, and I can attest to the fact that it’ll grind up more than just coffee beans.

  13. I think having the right cutting board and knife set makes such a difference. I used to use a cheap knife set. I would always slip and almost cut my fingers. Also I would never be able to cut my veggies thin enough. I finally invested in a a good quality knife and it makes such a difference. I’m able to slice veggies thinner then I was ever able to. I also don’t slip which cutting as much. I’m a big fan of cutco knives. I invested in a vegitables and meat knife and those are the only two I ever use.

  14. When my current girl friend introduced his work mate as a raw food chef i almost burst with laughter. I never imagined a raw food chef would look so sassy. I however came to realize that their existence is really significant in our day to day lives. I’m sure this article is really going to draw her attention.

  15. The mandolin is the king of all kitchen cutting tools if you do any cutting in volumes.

    I’m not into the whole raw food fad, but I make a lot of things at home that need to be sliced like homemade potato chips or vegetable fries.

    The mandolin does the job in 1/10 of the time as a conventional knife, leaving me more free time for the important things in life (like drinking craft beer and reading this blog!)

  16. I am not on a raw food diet, but I do try to make some raw food regularly. I am also very interested in raw cakes and desserts (hint, hint 🙂 ) I agree that knives and a cutting board are very important in any kitchen, and my blender was a very good investment. I do not own a dehydrator, but use the sun for drying food sometimes. A food processor and mandolin or on my wish list.

  17. Will definitely be getting these the next time I go to a food appliance store. I love making raw food because it is much healthier. With raw meals the appliances are used much more and can shape the whole meal. Food processors and blenders are essential to great raw meals because they can make the meals so much more interesting. I need to invest in a new high power blender. Mandoline slicers can also make dishes very interesting.

  18. Learning to eat better is hard. I did not know I would need all of these devices to do so but I know now. I understand what everyone is saying about cutting boards. I have a plastic one and I hate cleaning it. It seems like everything sticks to the board. I also think that a blender is great to have in general. I like my ninja but I am not a heavy blender. At least not yet.

  19. I was hoping that this article would discuss how to pick the best fresh fruit and veggies. This is something I struggle with on every trip to the grocery store. You can look at an apple and clearly see that it is bruised or rotten. Or with tomatoes if they are really soft, you can know that it is probably not a good one to buy. But what about spaghetti squash or avocados. There is so much to learn about choosing produce.

  20. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article with us. I have been vegan for 6 years and now a raw vegan for 1 year and 2 months, and I really love it. I have had a strong passion for natural health ever since I was young and I love preparing food. It has been ringing in my ear to start a raw vegan business since I have such a passion for it, and I have prerecorded lots of raw recipes on my computer, but am stuck a to how to start. I have many friends who have commented on a few recipes I shared on my timeline. Please can you give me any advice? Thanks.

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