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You might know Andy Baraghani for his perspective on healthy eating or for his stunning food photos on Instagram. As a food writer and prolific recipe developer, Andy loves sharing his exceptional culinary skills and food POV with the world.
We’re thrilled that Andy partnered with Healthline to create Fresh Food Fast, an original video series that makes healthy, delicious home-cooked meals accessible.
As an expert cook, Andy spends his life slicing and dicing in the kitchen. Naturally, he’s mastered every culinary gadget, from the whisk to the rolling pin.
But, if left on a desert island, which healthy cooking tools would Andy take with him? Here are his top three.
General price ranges with dollar signs ($ to $$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.
Generally, prices range from $19.99 to $260, though this may vary depending on where you shop.
- $ = under $35
- $$ = $35–$100
- $$$ = over $100
Mortar and pestle
Get back to the basics of old-school cooking with the classic mortar and pestle. You can use this tool to grind pine nuts into pesto, no electricity required. Or, use it to crush aromatic herbs and spices for fresh sauces and marinades, like Andy’s Shawarma-Spiced Grilled Chicken with Cucumber Borani and Juicy Tomatoes.
A fan-favorite on Amazon, the ChefSofi mortar and pestle set is made of unpolished granite, so it’s stain-proof and easy to clean.
It can fit 2 cups, which makes it perfect for mashing avocados into guacamole and chickpeas into hummus. Serve in the mortar for picture-worthy dips that you can eat right out of the bowl.
The Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester is a must-have for Andy. From mincing garlic to grating ginger, the rasp-style grater truly does it all. Accidentally overcooked your blueberry muffins? Grate off the burnt edges with this trusty tool. In need of a biscuit baking hack? Grate cold butter into your dry ingredients for fluffy baked goods.
You can also simply shred Parmesan cheese over your favorite Italian pasta dish or zest lemon into a summer dessert — like Andy’s Cardamom-Spiced Peach and Blackberry Crumble.
The Microplane zester plays a role in every recipe, and soon, you’ll forget how you ever lived without it.
The mandoline, aka the Japanese benriner
The mandoline is the ideal tool for thinly slicing vegetables for shaved salads and elegant garnishes. With adjustable blades, this tool can also turn cabbage into slaw or cheese and sausage into an Instagram-worthy charcuterie board. You can also use it to quickly grate zucchini into noodles or potatoes into chips.
See how Andy uses his mandoline to shave fresh veggies in his Cold Noodles with Creamy Cashew Sauce and Crunchy Veggies.
Andy especially loves this Japanese Benriner, because it’s lightweight and easy to store — unlike bulkier mandolines that come attached to a stand. The ceramic material is easy to clean and weighs half as much as stainless steel.
The best part? It’s also more affordable.
These three tools can save you time in the kitchen and make it easier to prepare impressive dishes. Enjoy fresh flavors every day by grinding, grating, and chopping real ingredients yourself, instead of using the store-bought versions.
Watch Andy Now:
For more culinary tips from Andy Baraghani, check out the Fresh Food Fast series on Healthline’s YouTube channel. Plus, let Andy guide you through his favorite easy and nutritious recipes, like:
- Shawarma-Spiced Grilled Chicken with Cucumber Borani and Juicy Tomatoes
- Cardamom-Spiced Peach and Blackberry Crumble
- Cold Noodles with Creamy Cashew Sauce and Crunchy Veggies
- Crispy Salmon with Salt and Pepper Scallion Rice and Vinegar Pickles
Emery Wright is an editorial intern at Healthline. She’s passionate about wellness and writing and loves finding ways to combine these interests. Emery is also an AFFA certified fitness instructor. When she’s not at the gym, she’s outside hiking mountains and listening to audiobooks.