Around this time of year, the array of veggies starting to arrive at your local farmers market is astounding. Not only are they gorgeous to behold and deliciously good for you, but they can also be a treat to prepare — if you have the right tools.
We've gathered 11 of our favorite kitchen gadgets to show just how enjoyable meal prep can be. From the spiralizer to the corn zipper, these gadgets definitely spark joy. Who says vegetables can't be fun?
1. Microplane Cube Grater, $17.95 from Microplane
This miniaturized take on your traditional box grater not only takes up less room, but also helps you measure just how much you've shredded. You can watch your shavings pile up and see how many cups of carrot peelings you've created at a glance. We also appreciate that you can completely enclose the grater in the plastic case for storage. No more worrying about grabbing it from the drawer and slicing a finger tip in the process.
2. Prepworks Zip Slicer, $8 from Amazon
Take the dread out of the chore of chopping up cherry tomatoes or grapes with this handy gadget. All you have to do is simply load up the tube, and then zip the handle. Just like that all of your veggies are sliced in half!
Since the blade is protected and there's a stopper at the end to keep from slicing too far, this tool is also kid-friendly.
3. Vegetable Cutters, $24.95 from KORIN
If you've been trying to get your kids to eat more veggies, but haven't been having much luck, try breaking out these fun veggie cutters. They are from the Japanese company KORIN and come in a bunch of leaf shapes — specifically cherry blossom, Japanese maple, and bamboo, along with a traditional leaf shape. Doesn't everything taste better when it's in a cool shape? (Hint: The answer is yes.)
4. Spiralizer, $40 from OXO
We covered handheld spiralizers earlier this week, but if you're looking for a more serious way to get into veggie noodles, it might be time to upgrade to a countertop version. We love the OXO version because it has removable, color-coded blades that you can switch out (and clean) easily. It also includes a storage box to keep them all tucked away and safe from small fingers. And if you're looking for some spiralizer inspiration, we have that, too.
5. PL8 Professional Mandoline Slicer, $60 from Amazon
You'll be amazed at just how often a mandoline comes in handy once you have one in your kitchen. Thinly sliced cabbage for slaw or sauerkraut? Done. Perfectly even sweet potato rounds for a gratin or potato chips? No problem. Waffle fries? No sweat. Of course, the best part is that it's super easy to use and clean, thanks to the swiveling blades. Dinnertime just got a whole lot better.
6. French Fry Potato Cutter, $35 from Webstaurant Store
Is there anything more joy-sparking than French fries? We think not. And making your own is just next-level fun. This French fry cutter comes with one plate, but has four other options for every size of fry, from super-skinny shoestrings to irresistibly fat wedges. Of course, this isn't the only thing you should consider buying from the restaurant supply store. We have a whole list of best buys as well.
7. ScoopSaw, $10 from Chef'n
What's one of the most dreaded veggie-related chores in the kitchen? If you said cutting and scooping a butternut squash (or most any squash, for that matter), I'm with you. The act of preparing them almost has me thinking those pre-cut cubes at Trader Joe's are a good idea. Almost.
But this gadget aims to make life a little bit easier, thanks to a mini saw that's built into the handle of the plastic scoop. No more dulling your favorite chef's knife trying to hack open a squash. Instead you can saw through it with ease, then use the wide-paddled scoop to clear out all the insides. It might not be squash season, but I'm definitely bookmarking this for fall.
8. 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer, $10 from OXO
While it's not necessarily hard to slice up an avocado, this gadget does make it a bit easier, safer, and more fun. The plastic blade on the end slices through the avocado skin and flesh with ease, but won't be too sharp that you have to worry about it slipping while slicing, while the lined scoop end easily and evenly slices the flesh of the avocado into strips perfect for layering onto a sandwich.
But the best part of the gadget lies at its heart. The pit remover is ingenious. Simply press it into the avocado pit and then pull the seed out in one fell swoop. No more trying to stab it with your paring knife or scoop it out along with half the avocado.
9. Mezzaluna, $15 from JosephJoseph
Have you been chopping your herbs with a chefs knife all this time? Then you've been missing out. The mezzaluna is a classic kitchen tool that makes quick work of parsley, cilantro, basil, and more. Simply rock it back and forth across the bunch and you'll have chopped herbs in no time.
We're partial to this version from JosephJoseph, because when it's time to store the curved blade, the handles flip around to keep it completely protected. Not only will the mezzaluna stay sharp, but your hands will also stay injury-free.
10. Kuhn Rikon Corn Zipper, $13 from Williams-Sonoma
First, corn zipper is a great name. If we were giving awards for the most fun product name, this would definitely be at the top of the list. Even better, this little gadget is also insanely enjoyable to use. Next time you need corn kernels off the cob, and you want fresh not frozen, simply bust this out and run it along the ear of corn. It quickly removes the kernels (we recommend using it over a bowl to catch everything), and leaves you ready to start your recipe.
11. Radish Rose Maker, $18 from J.B. Prince
We introduced you to this little gadget earlier this week, but it bears inclusion here, too. With just a quick press you can turn plain radishes into beautiful rosettes that will have your dinner guests thinking you spent much more time on preparation than you actually did. It's the fastest and easiest way to take your crudités platter up a notch.