Cooking with Plant-Based Meat

We have all the cookware you need to prepare plant-based meals.

Plant-based meat has never been more popular or easy to find. You can form it into burgers or toss it into your favorite chili and get good results, but we've learned a few tips and tricks to help you get the most from plant-based meat. Our talented test cooks recently developed a cookbook, Cooking with Plant-Based Meat, that has 75 satisfying and sustainable recipes, including snacks such as loaded nachos and fast, easy dinners such as pasta with Bolognese sauce. We rely on a few pieces of cookware when preparing plant-based meals: a slick nonstick skillet, a colander (eating plant-based means lots of vegetables, too!), and a sturdy Dutch oven. Read on to find out what else we use, and you’ll be making juicy, savory, “meaty” dishes at home before you know it.

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

A handmade pan by a small producer in Owego, New York, this pan is a work of art, and its smooth, power-sanded finish, which is done by hand, and excellent preseasoned patina released food and cleaned up beautifully. The pan’s ridges were tall enough to create crisp, defined grill marks, and its low, flared sides let us slide a spatula under food at a comfortable, near-level angle, so even delicate food stayed intact. It doubles as a lid for the company’s 12-inch skillet.

Available for purchase at: boroughfurnace.com

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The cooking surface was slick, both when new and after extensive use, and food never stuck. It’s one of the lightest models we tested, so it was easy to lift and maneuver, but it was also sturdy and resisted denting. All of our testers liked its wide, comfortable handle. Like every other model, its surface became scratched when we used a knife as if to cut a frittata, but it otherwise held up well.

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This perfect, pricey pot bested the competition again. It was substantial enough to hold and distribute heat evenly without being unbearably heavy. The light-colored interior combined with low, straight sides gave us good visibility and made it easy to monitor browning and thermometer position. The broad cooking surface saved us time since we could cook more food at once. The lid was smooth and easy to clean. This pot is expensive, but it was exceptionally resistant to damage.

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Our former favorite triumphed again. Made from a resin/fiberglass composite, this fish spatula had a relatively thin, smooth head that was long, narrow, and provided ample room for picking up food. Its straight, moderate-length handle brought our hands close to the action and was fairly comfortable to grip, if a little slicker than we preferred. Just don’t leave it on a hot pan—it melted at 450 degrees.  More on this test

Testers raved about this classic wooden spoon. Light, long, and maneuverable, it kept our hands far from the heat, and its rounded, tapered handle was comfortable and easy to grip in a variety of ways as we worked. It also suited both right- and left-handed testers. The slim tip of its nicely scooped-out oval bowl was easy to maneuver under food for turning and scooping, and when angled slightly, the head provided sufficient area for scraping fond. Made of teak, the wood resisted staining or drying out, retained its color, and never became rough to touch, even after 10 cycles through the dishwasher. 

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Our longtime inexpensive favorite remains a pleasure to use. With a sharp, gently curved blade, it effortlessly dispatched every task we set before it, mincing garlic precisely and breaking down chicken and dense butternut squash with authority. Its light weight and rounded spine made it easy to wield for long periods, and its textured plastic handle was comfortable to grip for hands of all sizes.

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This knife ran a very close race with our winner. It had a very sharp, gently curved blade that tackled every task well, and its rounded spine was easy to choke up on when we used a pinch grip. It’s a little heavier than our winner, but some testers actually preferred that extra weight, finding it “solid” and “authoritative” in their hands. And it’s just as inexpensive. One small quibble? The handle is made from a somewhat slick plastic that sometimes felt slippery when wet or greasy.

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With this reliable press’s heft, we barely had to apply pressure to create perfect tortillas. Made of smooth steel (coated in paint approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration), this press has a long handle that slides easily against the top plate’s ridge, evenly distributing the top plate’s weight and ensuring a steady pressing motion. Its sizable plates—the widest in the lineup—prevented masa from squeezing out the sides. This press is quite heavy and its large handle juts upward, making it a bit difficult to move and store, but we think its stellar performance outweighs these minor drawbacks.

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Made of hefty yet smooth cast iron, this press had a heavy top plate that easily anchored dough balls in place as we pressed, and its wide plates ensured that no dough squeezed out its sides. Its relatively long handle slid easily against the ridge on its top plate, allowing for a smooth, steady pressing motion. We liked that its handle lay fairly flat, making storage easy. Still, this press wasn’t perfect every time; if we pressed too hard on the handle, we occasionally made tortillas of uneven thickness. We made more successful tortillas once we got the hang of using it.

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The redesigned version of the OXO scale is accurate and had all the features that made the old model our favorite: sturdy construction, responsive buttons, and a removable platform for easy cleaning. The screen can still be pulled out nearly 4 inches when weighing oversize items. Instead of a backlight setting, the screen now has brightly lit digits on a dark background, which we found even easier to read than the old model’s screen. OXO also added two display options for weight. Users can choose to view ounces only (24 oz), pounds and ounces (1 lb 8 oz), grams only (2500 g), or kilograms and grams (2 kg 500 g), which comes in handy when doubling a recipe. The scale now uses decimals rather than fractions, so it’s more precise and easier to read.

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