By no means are fancy tools necessary for a vegan kitchen. But, here are some that I like to use and why.
One of the most important tools I use in college is an Aroma Professional 20-Cup Rice Cooker. This thing is amazing, and I cannot speak highly enough of it. Rice cookers are one of the few appliances allowed in my college dorm, and I seriously use it for everything. I make rice, other grains, soups, pasta, sautéed veggies, steamed veggies, and even toast in this rice cooker. I also once baked a cake in it (yes, it actually worked). Sometimes I use the container as a mixing bowl or big salad bowl. I even don’t want to imagine how dull my food life at college would be without it.
I also use a $30 Osterizer blender for large smoothies at college, and, while it’s no Vitamix, it works if you’re patient with it. At my parents’ home, I use a Nutri Ninja Professional Blender.
If I am making a little smoothie, grinding nuts, making salad dressings, or just blending small quantity, I use my Nutri Ninja 2-in-1 single cup, which performs better than any blender or food processor I have ever owned.
I also make use of my brother’s Zojirushi rice cooker when I am at my parents’ house.
Any immersion blender (I have used several) is good for blending things on the stove (when I’m not at college obviously) and making life just a little bit easier.
Occasionally, I will also use my parents’ Cuisinart 16-cup food processor or standard Kitchen Aid mixer just because it helps when preparing large batches of whatever I am cooking/baking.
As a final remark, I would highly recommend the Aroma Rice Cooker to any college student living in a dorm on campus who loves to cook but has no kitchen.