You might call Sam Turnbull an unlikely vegan. Having grown up in a carnivorous household, meat and animal good were staples. But after a vegan literature binge, she knew she had to make the change.
Today, the food blogger, cookbook author, and passionate vegan has made it her life mission to share her treasure trove of animal-free recipes on her website, It Doesn’t Take Like Chicken. Her promise? The recipes are all fuss-free, easy to make, and totally scrumptious, of course!
We went behind the scenes to find out what Turnbull keeps in her toolbox. Here are her favorite go-to healthy finds.
1. High-powered blender
I literally give my Blendtec blender hugs. It’s perfect for whipping up a quick smoothie, transforming cashews and water into cream, and making homemade vegan cheeses. I use my blender every single day. It’s a must for vegan dishes!
2. Nutritional yeast
This may look like yellow, flaky fish food, but it tastes like heaven. This nonactive yeast has the unique quality of having a nutty, cheesy taste. And as the name says, it’s nutritious! I use nutritional yeast to make vegan cheeses and my sauces extra tasty. But my favorite way to use it is to sprinkle it all over popcorn. Nom nom nom!
My kryptonite is popcorn. I could eat truckloads of the stuff. I share a big bowl of it with my pooch Chickpea almost every night (she’s obsessed, too). I love that it’s a crunchy snack food. But it’s also a whole food, making it much healthier than any processed treat.
4. Popcorn air popper
I used to make my popcorn with oil in a pot on the stove. While that worked, it always left a difficult-to-clean oil slick on the pan. It also added extra oil to my popcorn, whether I wanted it or not. Since the popcorn addiction is real in my house, I picked up an air popper. It was totally life-changing! There’s even a little dish to melt vegan butter or coconut oil. I can add as much or as little toppings as I like.
5. Raw cashews
Before I went vegan, I liked cashews, but they weren’t a regular thing. When I went vegan, I started to realize how incredibly versatile they were. They’re not just a crunchy snack. Cashews can transform into creamy dreamy sauces, ooey gooey dairy-free cheeses, or oil-free Caesar salad dressing.
6. Chef’s knife
Throw out your knife block — a kitchen really only needs one good knife. It should be about 8 inches long with a wide blade that can be used for scooping up chopped veggies. It may look intimidating, but once you get used to it, the size and weight will make chopping a breeze.
7. Knife sharpener
Now that you have a proper knife, keep it sharp! A sharp knife is actually a safer knife, as it’s predictable. It cuts the way you expect it to. You don’t need to be an expert sharpener and use a sharpening stone. Just pick up a little knife sharpener that guides your knife for you.
8. Ground white chia seeds
While flax is all the rage for vegans as an egg substitute in baking, I actually prefer ground chia. It works exactly the same, but thickens instantly when added to water (whereas flax takes about 10 minutes to thicken). I’m all about speed! I just keep a bag in my freezer to keep fresh, so it’s good to go at any time.
Sam Turnbull is a cookbook author, food blogger, and the founder of It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. She believes in fuss-free vegan recipes and is an ardent believer that any meal can be made vegan — and even taste better! Her recipes are for everyone, and she believes they’ll satisfy vegans and non-vegans, alike. Follow her on Instagram.