Some time ago, I got all excited about acquiring a juicer, having read about the benefits of freshly made fruit and vegetable juices. The excitement lasted all of about 3 weeks, after which cleaning the godforsaken thing and wasting so much pulp (no, I don’t compost) got old very quickly. Night after night I talked myself out of using it until somehow the contraption found its way back into its original box—and then into storage.
Still, I remained intrigued by the idea of extracting all the goodness from fruits and vegetables, and after a lot of deliberation, decided to invest in a Vitamix. I’d heard a lot about this powerful blender and reading about all it could do—pretty much everything except shovel snow and walk your dog—it even washes itself, for the most part.
In a nutshell, this machine is so powerful that it pulverizes whatever you put in it practically down to its cellular level, so when you make juice or soup, you get all the fiber—plus all the nutrition that is locked into the fiber. There is no waste whatsoever. Here my favorite things to make with the Vitamix:
1. My favorite kind of morning smoothie consists of banana, blueberries, kale, and rice milk. No grit or texture—the consistency is velvety and the flavor sublime.
2. For a heavenly pureed corn soup, combine fresh corn kernels with sautéed onion and garlic to make the base, using rice milk to thin it out. To make smoothies or juices, you just whirl the ingredients for a minute or so, but to make a hot soup, you let the machine run for 4 or 5 minutes, and the ingredients get heated right in the container. To this delicious puree, I add more corn kernels, some wilted greens, and minced parsley (and salt and pepper to taste).
3. I also love making cream of carrot soup starting with a bag of raw baby carrots and sautéed onion and garlic. The result is divinely smooth, and it's done and ready to eat in minutes. All those carrots are just warmed rather than cooked, with every bit of flavor and nutrition still intact. If only I’d had this machine when my sons were babies; it must make the most amazing baby food.
4. I've made a vegan lemon “cheesecake” starting with raw cashews plus a box of silken tofu, adding a little sweetener, a good amount of lemon juice. A half hour in the oven with a prepared graham crust, and it's as good as any cheesecake as I’d ever eaten, only without the dairy. I also use the same technique to make chocolate tofu pie. Normally, if you want to use raw cashews to make something creamy you need to soak them in hot water for hours, but with this machine, you just throw them right in.
5. To make a more nutritious base for hearty soups, like lentil barley, I blend raw tomatoes, carrots, celery, and kale in the Vitamix until smooth and warm. I cook the soup as usual, then added this additional vegetable base toward the end. It gives the soup an amazingly rich flavor, not to mention the boost in fiber and vitamins.
The Vitamix also makes bread dough (you can even start with the whole grains if you have the model with the extra grain grinder container), finely chops vegetables (as for cole slaw), makes fruity ice cream (start with frozen fruit and/or ice cubes), nut butters, nut milks, etc., etc. Admittedly, it's not a small investment. But you can pretty much get rid of a lot of other appliances (coffee grinder, blender, etc.) and it lasts forever. The Vitamix 5000, a basic model without the grain-grinding container, is $399, and it goes up from there. I was also impressed with the cookbooks that come with the machine.
Update—after now having owned my Vitamix for several years, I can honestly say that there is rarely a day that goes by when I don't use it. It has been a pleasure to make an investment in something that exceeded my expectations (particularly after the juicer disappointment!). If you're intrigued, visit the informative Vita-Mix site.
- Read more reviews of products for healthy living in VegKitchen’s Product Guide.