Someone asked me the other day about food processors vs blenders, so I thought I’d mention why I use both and what they’re good for.That way, if you don’t have either one, you can decide which to get first, and if you’ve got both, well hopefully these tips and pics will inspire you for your own creations!
What they do
A food processor chops, slices, grates and grinds things really fast and uniformly. I use the ‘S’ blade most often (as in the picture, you can see the big white thing inside the food processor and it has a blade shaped like a giant S).
It’s great for finely chopping veggies and/or fruit.
How you can use one
You can make tomato salsa for example, because the tomato and onion will be finely minced but not turn into mush…unless you leave it on too long!
You can use the S blade to make your own applesauce too, since it will mix the apples and raisins quite well, leaving you with a nice chunky sauce.
I also use the ‘S’ blade to make dips, such as my Party Raw Spinach Dip: I put the spinach, tahini and other ingredients in, press the button and voila!
It looks like this:
You can also make a quick mixture of minced vegetables: toss in some roughly chopped carrots, red onion, a pepper or two and some bok choy, endives or other leafy greens.
Press the button and voila, instant veggies for a salad, soup or stir fry!
You can also use one of the grating attachments (the one with small holes) to grate carrots for a salad very quickly.
The slicing attachment (round with a long blade that spans the diameter of the attachment) cuts into thin slices, so if you wanted thin round slices of carrots you’d feed the carrot into the top and the blade does the work for you.
Start with a food processor if…
If you love salads, chunky dips and the texture of finely chopped fruits and veggies. It’s a real time-saver for chopping just about anything!
What I recommend
- In terms of brands, Cuisinart is a good brand. There are actually many good brands to choose from at quite a wide price range. The important thing with a food processor is to get the strongest motor and biggest container you can afford.
- If you are making food for several people, you definitely want bigger rather than smaller – but if you often are making food for one, go for a strong motor rather than size – I’m sure you can think of other things to put on your kitchen counter!
What they do
Blenders are great if you want mixtures that are very smooth. If you like smooth soups and creamy sauces, a blender is a good piece of equipment to start with.
Some blenders like the Vitamix have their own integrated fuse box. If for any reason you overwork the blender and it ‘dies’, you just flip the fuse switch and presto, you’re back in business! This did happen to me once and believe me it was very scary to think my new expensive blender might have just died!
Start with a blender if…
If you like smooth dishes, such as smoothies, soups and puddings.
Large blenders are great also for making large quantities, which is worth bearing in mind if you’re making soup for 4, as I often do!
What I recommend
There are many brands out there, but here are my favorites:
I use a Tribest blender for traveling and it makes great smoothies, almond milk and everything else, although the jug is very small since it’s meant for one person on the road.
However if you only want small amounts, or if you move around a lot, this may be a good choice for you.
The OmniBlend is pretty good if you don’t mind blending things a little bit longer, and using the tamper more often because of the wider base since apparently it doesn’t blend nuts as easily as the Vitamix.
The wider base does make it easier to clean, and it’s cheaper than some of the other high-speed blenders.
I love smoothies, sauces, creams, dips and puddings, and after hesitating for over 2 years and burning out one supposedly ‘professional blender’ after only 1 year of use, I went for the Vitamix 8 years ago and haven’t looked back.
I make large quantities of food, and so it saves me time.
Having said that, you can get by perfectly well with a hand blender for practically all of my recipes, as long as you’re willing to soak nuts and seeds first before making sauces and creams.
You can also get by with the other excellent blenders that I recommend above – none of which were available at the time I bought my Vitamix!
(pictured at the top, with chopping attachment)
What they do
Why a hand blender? Because if you don’t have a high-speed blender, hand blenders can do a pretty good job on small amounts of soaked nuts and dried fruits as well as softer items, because the container is very small.
They do a better job of blending soaked nuts and seeds than a lot of large, ‘standard’ blenders (except for the ones I recommend here, of course!)
Plus you can get one with a chopping attachment, which is great for small quantities. Use it as you would the food processor with its ‘S’ blade.
I’ve made small quantities of satay sauce in a hand blender using soaked cashews and some almond butter and soaked pitted prunes and it all blended together just fine.
Hand blenders are also good for blending soups right in the pan – you don’t have to pour hot liquid into a blender and pour it out again.
Start with a hand blender if…
If you’re on a budget and want a new piece of equipment to play with, but you aren’t sure if you’d use a good blender enough to make it worth it.
Hand blenders are very inexpensive. Just make sure you get the chopping attachment too – the difference in cost is minimal, but in time is maximal!
What I recommend
- In terms of quality, get the strongest motor you can. As long as you get one that can handle ice cubes you should be fine. The Cuisinart is a good brand – just make sure you get a jug as well.
And to whet your appetite, here’s an example of a chocolate pudding that you can easily make with a hand blender:
Want the recipe? Get it right here!
Right now, I’m off to eat it! Here’s to rocking your world!