Viva la VitaMix

Whining and shuddering as it laboriously smashed coffee beans into only slightly smaller pieces, I could tell that my trusty food processor was finally on its last legs. After all of the abuse I’ve put it through over the years, I’m impressed that it’s lasted this long, but it has suddenly become abundantly clear that the motor is no longer as quick or powerful, and those blades are about as dull as an old war documentary. After ten minutes of fruitless spinning, my beans were still so coarse that they stop up the filter in my coffee machine, but what could be done? This machine had given its all.

Sure, I drooled over new models, dreamed of upgrading and putting this old food processor out to pasture, but I wasn’t sure which would be my absolute best option. One name in particular caught my attention though, and that was the VitaMix. Everywhere I looked, this was the brand that professionals and home cooks alike seemed to be raving about. Somewhat pricey, but supposedly worth the investment, I wrote down the name and kept it under consideration… When out of the blue, I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing the one, the only, the VitaMix! I couldn’t wait another second to send out an enthusiastic “YES!” in response.

Pulling the lovely blender out of the box, I already had a number of ideas for testing it out, but when I read the instruction manual and handy recipe book, that list increased exponentially. Little did I know how truly versatile this thing was!

The first thing I bookmarked in that cookbook was the simple recipe for rice milk. I was thrilled to see that they have instructions to make a number of non-dairy milks, and many vegan or easily veganizable recipes as well. The rice version simply sounded the quickest and easiest, plus I had everything on hand already. 1/2 cup of rice, 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of agave and a small splash of vanilla go into the massive carafe, and two minutes later, all that remains is a perfectly smooth, creamy white liquid. This is something that my old food processor could never do, even in its prime. No trace of the original grains remained, no straining required, and the resulting rice milk was so impressive, I think I may quit buying non-dairy milk altogether. Just think of the money and packaging this could save!

Seeing how well the VitaMix performed making rice milk, I was excited to think that maybe I could finally jump on the bandwagon and try making green smoothies. Fearful of getting mouthfuls of leafy grit in the past, green smoothies were never on the menu for me, no matter how good the recipes sounded. A simple mixture of bananas, spinach, and rice milk sounded like a good way to ease into it, and boy was it! Again, a perfectly smooth amalgamation awaited me when I pulled off the carafe’s lid. I’m already plotting millions of green smoothie combos for quick breakfasts and snacks now!

One feature that I just had to see to believe was that the VitaMix has the ability to actually cook food. Literally, heat the contents of the blender to the point of steaming! So I tossed in all the ingredients for a Moroccan chickpea soup, set it on high for about seven minutes, and voila- Perfectly blended, creamy… and piping hot! This proves that it takes just as much time, if not less, to cook a great meal from scratch versus heating up something frozen. I will definitely be taking advantage of this fantastic feature a lot during these cold days!

Finally, to really put this thing through its paces, I absolutely needed to see how it would make nut butter. And not just any nut butter- Oh no, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to try making nutella again. While it was very good the first time, it was definitely chunkier than the real thing, and not nearly as creamy. Testing out a new recipe at the same time, I ended up with the most incredible homemade chocolate hazelnut spread I’ve ever tasted, with absolutely zero effort. This time around, not only did the VitaMix make a huge difference, but I also decided to use a mixture of nuts to give the spread a greater depth of flavor.  In case you’re curious, my formula was…

1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2/3 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
1 Cup Toasted Hazelnuts
1/4 Cup Toasted Cashew Pieces
3/4 Cup Toasted Almonds
3 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar, Packed
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Salt

Simply heat the non-dairy milk without bringing it to a boil, and pour it over the chocolate chips. Let it sit for a few minutes to melt, and then stir thoroughly to combine.

Meanwhile, in the Vitamix, throw in all of the nuts, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Let it run for about two minutes on high, using the tamper to continue pushing the nuts into the blade. Once smooth, pour in the chocolate mixture, and let it continue to run until combined. Done! (Just note that does become thicker once chilled.)

I hate to sound so much like an infomercial, but I must admit that I’m seriously smitten with this machine! The only thing that could make it any better would be if it could clean itself, right? Well… It does! I was highly impressed that it could “become its own dish washer” with just a few cups of water, a drop of dish soup, and two minutes on high speed. Rinse the carafe out and you’re good to go.

Now, I just need to get the dry blade so I can grind my own grains…!

65 thoughts on “Viva la VitaMix

  1. I killed my food processor too and my blender is on it’s way out. So it’s good to see a couple of my blog buddies have been informing me about some of the blending options available. As always, I love your photos. :) Trying to make nut butter is how I killed my last motor. Yikes. LOL. But it looks like it was no trouble for this machine.

  2. Yum Yum, nutella vegan, waouw !
    the photos are so beautiful, it’s very disconcerting to see a blog as perfect :)
    Everything is beautiful, there are no false notes, even bravo!
    I vote for your site is the most beautiful spot I know that vegan and then with vegan yumyum !

  3. No. Freakin’. Way. Do you get to keep it now? One of the sous chefs at my old work drooled over this, but we couldn’t afford the new equipment. How do I get companies to let me test products like this? I’m so jealous!

  4. I still need to buy a new food processor after I killed mine making Thanksgiving desserts this year. I am drooling over your machine!! Maybe someday I can own such a thing.

    All your stuff looks fabulous! If I had a product, I would want you to review it, too.

  5. I can’t tell you how much I want a vita-mix! I might have to start a vita-mix savings fund!! The nutella sounds amazing – I used to love that in my pregan days!

  6. YOU ARE SO LUCKY!!! I have been dying for a Vitamix for a few years now, since I first heard about it in nutrition school. Everything you made looks amazing! That is one cool machine. (And hot, too, from the looks of that soup!) ;)

  7. Wow, you are so lucky!! They do sell Vita-Mix here in Israel too, in a shop for professional kitchen ware, but it costs here double the price in the USA. I have heard so many good things about this wonder machine, that one day I will have to get one too.

  8. i love love LOVE that you posted a recipe for homemade nutella. i’ve missed it!

    how would you go about storing that? i’m planning on making a ginormous batch while i’m home from college and taking it back with me to savor.


  9. Yay!! I can’t even imagine what delicious recipes you are going to come up with your new vitamix!! I have a blend-tek but it was a close call between the two.

    Try baby bok choy in your green smoothie recipe for a change from spinach – so delicious!

  10. I bought a Vitamixer years ago for one reason: making various nut butters. It does an outstanding job. No extra oil is needed and the nut butters always come out creamy smooth.

  11. at the expense of repeating the others, let me say that i, too, am VERY, HIGHLY, and out-of-this-world JEALOUS!!!!!
    the rice milk looks smooth and grain-free, i am just in awe!

  12. I am SOOOOOOO close to being jealous. I have been wanting to try one of these out for almost 2 years now! I am also looking for a mill, so do let us know how it goes with dry blades. If it is any good, I might just get one.

  13. You’re a lucky ducky! And my blender just died – seriously, the house just smells of burnt-out motor, an hour ago. I would love to have one of those, but they are so out of my budget.

  14. I’ve heard good things about the vitamix before and I know someone who uses one and swears by it. I wish I could afford one! Glad to hear another success story, though. Someday, vitamix, I will have you.

  15. oh hannah!
    you’re not helping!
    I want a vitamix so badly. I have a pretty standard, semi-crummy blender. But they are so pricey! someday….

    this post is extremely compelling!

    xo Amey

  16. Hannah-
    As you may well know, I am a huge fan of your blog/cooking work. I was recently wondering if I should ask for a vitamix for the holidays, hearing such great reviews, but I wasn’t sure how much I’d need it. Thinking back, a good blender/ food processer is vital to so many recipes… I don’t know how I doubted one! My current is rather small and cheap, so you’ve certianly helped convince me otherwise! Thanks!
    P.S. You said it can “heat while blending”, can your clarify please?

  17. I am so jealous. I think the next present I beg my parents to buy is going to have to be this. I’ve never thought to make my own Nutella. I must try this, it looks incredible.

  18. Oh hooray! When I was told a Vita-Mix can “make soup” I didn’t realize it would actually cook the soup. I am getting to test one soon as well, and your post is super inspiring!

  19. how fun! Lucky you for getting a review item.

    I’ve got a Breville blender, a Cuisinart and a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. The Breville blender is so powerful that I use it for most things, using the Cuisinart for nut butter or dry things.

    Maybe one day I’ll trade the Cuisinart & Breville for a Vitamix but…

  20. Mmmm…I think you should have started this post with: “Hi my name is Hannah, and I like making other people jealous”.

    Okay, kidding :) How awesome that they offered you one right when your food processor died!! I almost bought a Vitamix, multiple times, but I just can’t convince myself that I’ll use it enough…although everyone says that once you have one, you do!

  21. Thank you SOOOO much for sharing this recipe! I’ve had vegan nutella in the back of my mind for a while, but recipes I’ve read need cocoa butter and other ingredients I don’t what to fiddle with. Your recipe is so much better! You are such a genius!

  22. Lucky girl, I’m been manhandling my blender hoping it’ll die so I can justify buying Vitamix. I really want to grind my own flours with it.

    I came across the pearl sugar in my local Italian produce market and I really liked the look of it on the molasses cookies. Do you have any Polish or Italian markets in your area? I’ve seen it more often in smaller European-American stores.

  23. I am definitely going to try your nutella recipe as I haven’t made one yet. I do love my Vitamix though. For those who are worried about the expense, may I suggest checking out the factory refurbished ones. They are still covered by the company and it knocks at least $100 off the price. I will also recommend getting the dry pitcher. I still buy flours too but it’s great to just be able to whip up flour from grains on hand or to make my own nut flours (because those can be prohibitively expensive).

  24. holy smokes! i didn’t know you could *cook* things in this wonderful machine! how awesome… and it cleans itself. nothing could be better.

  25. Hmm…Did you ever consider using a coffee grinder for the coffee beans? They work wonderfully as spice grinders as well. Also, Veganomicon has a fantastic Not-tella recipe. The taste is perfect, although the texture in my food processor was not quite as exact.

  26. I’ve always wanted a VitaMix but my only concern is that it can’t really slice or shred. Can it? Does it do that now? I’d love to only have one appliance in my 8×6 kitchen. I have a Black and Decker 2 cup processor now but it’s way too small and doesn’t do spreads very well. I fear I will have to get both a processor and a VitaMix.

    How does it cook things? Does it have a heating element or does it use friction?

  27. Congrats Hannah! I’m sure you are going to put that machine to good use.

    I was wondering if you used raw or cooked rice for the rice milk. It looks perfect!

    Happy holidays!

  28. Fantastic – vitamix envy!!! I love the idea of a green smoothie as opposed to a green ‘oooh – that’s interesting!’

  29. Ooooh, I’m dying to get my hands on one of these. I love the idea of making nut butters! A good friend of mine makes the most amazing soups with hers! People don’t know what they’re missing!

  30. You are SO lucky!!! I had to shell out nearly $400 for my VitaMix. Totally worth it, but hey–free would be even better! You have certainly gotten good use out of it already! I have to start expanding my VitaMix repertoire… So far, I have made hummus & smoothies. Many, many, many hummuses & smoothies, but I need to start trying other things!

  31. wait until you make hummus!
    I love, love, love my VITAMIX.
    The only thing I didn’t have much luck with was the bread dough. I plan to give it another try.

  32. I suppose I am lucky, or maybe they built things better back then. I am still using my 23+ yr old Cuisinart, and believe me, I have definitely used this thing!

    However, several years ago I bought a Vitamix. I adore it. Everything has its place! And so simple to clean up.

    I haven’t made any non dairy drinks (but I have done quite a few green smoothies). I should definitely try it!

  33. I’ve watched VitaMix demos year after year at the MN State Fair. I loved tasting the samples. I was at a home improvement and garden show and they were there. I plunked down my $400 and toted home my new toy. Love it! Granted I need practice on some of the soups and ice creams but I make mean smoothies. I can’t wait to try making nutella.

  34. I have a vitamix too; while I love it… I hate that i can’t get all the food out that sticks to the bottom near the blades – any hints or tips?

  35. “’Ive always wanted a VitaMix but my only concern is that it can’t really slice or shred. Can it? Does it do that now? I’d love to only have one appliance in my 8×6 kitchen. I have a Black and Decker 2 cup processor now but it’s way too small and doesn’t do spreads very well. I fear I will have to get both a processor and a VitaMix.”

    On the variable speed setting, with a small amount of liquid, you can dial the VitaMix speed down super low so it will shred and chop things. At the high speeds it just atomizes them.

    It cooks with friction–the friction of the blade swirling in the liquid/food.

    That is highly energy inefficient, though, so I recommend just pouring the stuff out of the container and heating it up on the hob.

  36. i would love to have the recipe for the moroccan chickepea soup. would you please be willing to share it with me? many thanks.

  37. I saw that you made nutella from vivacious vegan’s site and it would be ludicrous not to add you to my Google Reader;)

    me + nutella = lovers

    They should make vegan nutella for ppl like me w/o vitamix!

  38. Love love love my Vita-mix. I got a reconditioned one and got free shipping with code 06-003180.

    I make green smoothies everyday and use it for just about everything that I used to use my processor for.

    Viva indeed! Thanks.

  39. I saved up for my vitamix – every time I used my old blender, I put £1 in a jar. By the time my old one was junk 0 I had enough for the Vitamix. It’s brilliant, but I agree that getting the thick stuff out from around the blades is a problem – any solutions anyone?

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