Last year, I decided I needed a Vitamix. Our blender was leaking, the rubber gasket was crumbling and I was in a smoothie-making phase. Costco was doing demos of the Vitamix, with all its fancy pre-set dial settings, so I dragged Travis out to see if the demo guy could convince him this was a well-justified splurge. The demo guy made a smoothie (just tossing in grapes with stems), hot chocolate, and mint chocolate “ice cream”. He must have done something right, because I didn’t even get “a look” as we loaded the box onto our cart.
I can honestly say I use our Vitamix several times a week, sometimes every day. It helps that I still like smoothies (green smoothies, as a way to get more greens in), love hummus, and have switched to almond milk for my coffee. So, I thought I’d document all the things I’ve used the Vitamix for and any tips I’ve come across along the way.
- Almond milk – I make half batches because I don’t go through enough in a week to use it up before it goes bad. Half a cup of almonds, soaked and drained, with 1 1/2 cups of water, a pinch of salt and a glug of agave. I’ve also started adding half a tablespoon of coconut oil and blending on high until it’s a little warm. I’ve found this actually helps keep the almond milk from separating, both in the fridge and in my coffee. Everything gets strained through a hop bag (pilfered from Travis’ homebrewing supplies; you could use cheesecloth or any nut straining mesh filter bag) and I use the almond meal in baking. I’ve found it’s pretty good as a granola addition, too.
- Hummus – can of drained chickpeas, salt, lemon juice, garlic, 1/4 cup of sesame seeds (no need for tahini with the Vitamix!), a splash of olive oil and some water (to thin it out). It’s a little tricky to get every last bit out, but chickpeas are pretty cheap, so I don’t worry about it too much. I used to make this in the food processor but I’ve found that the Vitamix blends so well that I can use sesame seeds instead of tahini.
- Oat flour – I’ve been dabbling here and there with gluten-free baking, mainly trying to add in higher protein flours and I came across a recipe that called for oat flour. Well, I can tell you that tossing a cup of oats into the Vitamix will definitely get you nicely ground oat flour. I’m curious to try this with quinoa, but I still have half a bag of quinoa flour to use up.
- Powdered sugar – I was so skeptical when I heard you could blitz regular sugar into powdered sugar, but Mary said it works and one day I needed to make a quick glaze. So, I tried it, blending until it looked like the sugar powder was sticking to the sides of the blender jar and, you know, it does work!
- Crushed eggshells – somewhere along the way I turned into a quasi-crunchy hippie. Instead of buying oyster shell for the chickens (as a calcium supplement and for grit purposes), I’ve been saving our eggshells, drying them, and then crushing them up in the dry grains jar (thanks, Mom!) The bottom of the jar looks like it’s getting a little scratched, but I’m okay with that.
- Nut butters – mixed nuts, cashews, almonds, I’ve tried just about everything. I’ve found you have to blend them past the point where you think you can stop and you’ll end up with a smoother, more spreadable butter. And, if you blend 1:1 with almond milk, you get a nut butter that is easily mixed into smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal.
- Smoothies – obviously, I make a lot of green smoothies. The best part about the Vitamix is that it takes rougher greens (like kale) and pulverizes them so smoothly that you don’t even know it’s there. Travis thinks I cram too much kale into a single smoothie, so I try to balance it out with bananas and fruit for him.
I’ve made a few things once or twice – hot chocolate, tomato soup, tomato sauce, “ice cream”, etc. I’ve heard you can make cornmeal out of popcorn, but I haven’t figured out if you do it because it’s cheaper or what. I’m sure I’m barely getting into what the Vitamix can do, but it’s doing a good job for me and I’m quite pleased.