Do you know someone who loves to cook but they don’t have the time? I wouldn’t be able to cook delicious Mediterranean meals every day without the use of my favorite culinary gadgets. The way I see it, spending a few hundreds dollars on time saving tools saves me thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars because I cook more at home and eat out less (and I eat much healthier at home). Eating the Mediterranean Diet is easy when you have the right recipes and the right equipment. Here are some of my favorite tools that will save you a ton of time.
The Instant Pot
As with many people, I was a bit unbelieving of the claims about the Instant Pot. I was hearing that I could cook beans from scratch (without pre-soaking) in 20 minutes or make a tender beef stew, one that would normally take hours to make, also in 20 minutes. So, I started off as a skeptic, but it only took one session making our Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Green Olives, Peppers and Lemon to become a convert. I was able to saute the chicken in the instant pot, add all the rest of the ingredients and it was cooked to perfection in, you guessed it, only 20 minutes. The Instant Pot is a high heat, high pressure gadget that is also safe because it locks so you can’t open it until you vent the steam out of the top at the end of cooking.
The only caveat I have about the instant pot is that it actually takes a bit longer for food to cook then the time you enter as it has to come to temperature and pressure before the countdown begins. But, we are only talking 5 to 10 minutes more time, so if you press 20 minutes, more likely, it will be 30 minutes. Still, the most revolutionary kitchen item of the year! Here are 7 Mediterranean Instant Pot Recipes that are some of our favorites. Enjoy!
Ok, why would I buy a crockpot when I have an Instant Pot? Well, the classic tried and true slow cooker is still the best choice when you just want to throw some ingredients in, set it and leave. I love making a healthy recipe in the morning, cooking it in the Crock-Pot all day, and it’s ready to eat when I get home! There are so many great Mediterranean slow cooker recipes like Slow Cooker Chicken Stifado (Greek Chicken Stew)! Food cooked in the crockpot is tender, juicy and full of flavor. Still, my number one go to for when I am in a rush, but want an amazing Mediterranean dinner when I get home.
Sharp knives are super important for any kitchen. A dull knife makes everything take longer (and, in the long run, is more dangerous). Have you ever tried cutting a tomato (or bread or meat) with a very dull knife? It takes forever! Everybody needs a sharp chef’s knife for their kitchen repertoire. Get a real chef’s knife for your favorite chef in the family this holiday!
Maybe, it’s not the knife that’s the problem, but just that knife is dull. You can learn how to sharpen a knife on a sharpening stone, but for most people a simpler knife sharpener like the one above is the simplest, safest answer. This knife sharpener will bring all of your old dull knives back to life! Anyone can use this sharpener because it comes with a safety glove.
Dutch ovens are great because you can make meat fork tender in much less time. They are meant to be used on the stove or in the oven. The thick walls and tight-fitting lid keeps all the heat and moisture in. Le Creuset is the Ferrari of Dutch Ovens. I was lucky enough to get mine at a tag sale for the ridiculous price of $5 each. If you have a cook that you really want to impress, I would spend the extra money to buy the Le Creuset It really is amazing quality cookware, and I make so many great Mediterranean recipes in it like these Spiced Moroccan Meatballs and Veggies that only take about 45 minutes in the Dutch Oven.
If you can’t throw down on a Le Creuset Dutch oven, this one from Lodge is a great option for much less money. I have one of these as well and I don’t notice a huge quality in end product between the Creuset and the Lodge, although I still always prefer to use the Le Creuset. It may not last as long as your Le Creuset but it will get the job done. This is a great gift for anyone lacking nice cookware.
KitchenAid Food Processor
There are times when I like to chop or grate food by hand, but when I have a bigger project going like cole slaw or zucchini fritters, I use my handy dandy KitchenAid food processor. I use this versatile food processor for vegan pesto, falafel, and chopping onions. You can even make a pureed soup in the food processor. Every cook needs a food processor for their kitchen.
The Vitamix is a totally versatile blender that is so much more than just a blender. I have used the one I “borrowed” from my parents over 30 years ago for smoothies, dough, flours, nut butters and milks, dips, sauces, and batters. The blade turns so fast that it will actually bring soup to a boil! An amazing time-saver for anything you need to blend! By the way, I still use my 30 year old Vitamix regularly and it still works as well as it did on the day I “borrowed” it.
Handheld Immersion Blender
I use my immersion blender for jobs that I normally would use a blender, but don’t feel like spending the extra time cleaning the blender. Immersion blenders are great for time savers for tomato sauce, whipped cream, soups, homemade mayo, pesto, smoothies, vinaigrettes, and so much more. I love the attachments that come with this KitchenAid immersion blender (including a small food processor). It is multiple tools in one and well worth the money!
If you are tired of smelling like garlic for days after you chop or mince it, you need a garlic press. It takes two seconds to press a clove of garlic, compared to two minutes to completely mince it. Great for recipes like Tzatziki! The OXO Garlic press has always been my favorite because it is sturdy, easy to use and the grips to the handles come off so you can throw the whole thing in the dishwasher.
With a small handheld zester like this, you can easily add citrus flavor to your favorite dishes without having to squeeze a lemon and deal with picking out the seeds. I find that these zesters work much better than a standup grater. This zester from Microplane is a great gift for your cook in the family.
Foods of Crete Cookbook
What I love most about our Foods of Crete cookbook, is that the recipes are super simple. The recipes don’t have long lists of ingredients, and you don’t need to be an experienced cook to make any of the recipes. Buy your loved one this delicious cookbook with amazing Greek recipes from the healthiest people in the world!
Get 10% off plus free shipping using our coupon code when you purchase: crete-offer
Without a salad spinner, your lettuce or fresh herbs will need to either sit in a strainer or be dried with a paper towel. A salad spinner gets all of the water off easily, and prevents you from eating a watery salad. I use my salad spinner everytime I make a salad that includes lettuce. One of my favorites is the Chicken and Chickpea Salad with Fresh Basil Dressing!
I love my Saeco espresso machine. It grinds the espresso beans by itself, cleans itself, and makes perfect espresso every time. The frother is much easier to clean then most espresso machines and the lattes come out incredible. This saves me a ton of time waiting in line at the coffee shop and it more than pays for itself within a few months.