A vegan diet is very different to a non-vegan diet and therefore, the knives required to cook each diet are also somewhat different. A non-vegan diet may include meat, fish, and dairy. Whilst a vegan diet will be way more focused on vegetables, fruits, and alternative protein sources.
These different ingredients will massively vary in softness, size, and texture. For instance, for non-vegans they may require large cleavers to cut through animal-based products, but that really isn’t necessary with vegan food.
But in response to this I have seen many vegan chefs and home cooks resort to using tiny unsharp knives for all their cooking. This will be slowing down the chopping process massively. Just because we aren’t handling large chunky and tough ingredients doesn’t mean we don’t need a good range of different sized and shaped knives!
With my history of working in kitchens and creating recipes for Edible Ethics for the past 5 years, I thought it was about time I put together this guide to the only kitchen knives you need as a vegan. These are the very knives I used to carry around in my knife roll and take to work and supper clubs. They are also the very knives I use regularly in my own kitchen.
With these you can be sure that you have the right tools for all the vegan cooking jobs in your kitchen!
Here are the best kitchen knives for vegans
These are in my opinion the only 4 kitchen knives that vegans need for cooking. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily need all 4, which is why I have gone into more detail about what each is useful for below. From this you can be sure to pick the knives that are suitable for you. Make sure to follow the links provided to discover high quality versions of each knife from my favourite brands.
The santoku knife is the chef’s knife of the Japanese world. They are a great all-rounder knife in that they are perfect for chopping, dicing, and slicing vegetables, fruits and alternative proteins like tofu and tempeh. The blade is rounded so it allows for a rocking motion which will make chopping an enjoyable and fast experience. Moreover, this Japanese knife is lightweight and comfortable to hold so you’ll want to use it a lot!
Nakiri is actually the Japanese word for ‘leaf cutter’ and the nakiri knife is the best vegetable chopper you can buy. Because of its rectangular blade it makes its way cleanly through vegetables, mushrooms, herbs, and fruit. But because of this shape of the blade, it does mean that you can’t achieve a rocking motion like with the santoku knife, so you’ll likely be more reliant upon repetitive arm movement.
Whether you are peeling off skin, removing stems, or attempting to make delicate slices, then you could really benefit from a paring knife! These small knives are great to have around for delicate or fiddly jobs that a larger knife would just make a mess of. You’ll find these great to slicing through tomatoes, peeling off garlic skin, and great for cleaning up hard vegetable stems.
Baking a loaf of bread or buying one fresh from your local bakery is such a pleasant experience, the last thing you’ll want to do is mess it up with a blunt knife. A good serrated knife will allow for a clean cut through any loaf of bread. This particular serrated knife from Victorinox is actually a firm favourite of bakers, and it is really reasonably priced!
A solid all rounder knife for vegan cooking should be comfortable to hold as you’ll be using it for longer periods of time than your other knives. It can also help to have a rounded blade so that you can implement a rocking motion whilst cutting through vegetables, mushrooms, and alternative protein sources like tofu and tempeh. For this I recommend a good quality Santoku knife. Some people prefer a flatter more rectangular blade for chopping through leafy veg, which is why the Nakiri knife is also popular.
I would recommend not storing your knives in a knife block. These are prone to filling up with unwelcome bacteria that will make your kitchen and knives pretty unhygienic. Consider a magnetic knife holder option instead, which keeps the knives out in the open.