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!
Here’s a picture of mine:
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!
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!
I usually make one big bowl that will last for a few days, making food prep really fast.
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 an electric 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 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!