Generally, in the kitchen I try to steer clear of abundant gadgetry, find simplistic ways of doing things (my wife likes to call it “rustic”) and avoid overly specialized items like melon ballers and garlic presses. After all, sliced melons aren’t such a bad thing, and by the time that all the grates on that garlic presses are cleaned, you’d have save yourself a struggle just using a knife.
It’s not that I don’t see value in some such items, or in mashed potatoes that have been blended into complete and splendid smoothiness, but I’m a bit lazy. I don’t want to get a different tool for different tasks, and I don’t want to have clean it all up. What’s more I don’t want them all over the kitchen, overcrowding the counter, hiding in the corners of the cabinets. I want something that’ll do it all.
The one appliance that has undoubtedly earned its keep in my kitchen now, and any kitchen in which I dwell in the future, is the food processor. There are so many reasons why. One is mainly that it’s made me healthier.
For me, it started off as peanut butter. I was living abroad, paying astronomical prices for tiny jars of peanut butter. (The world is slowly catching on with the notion that healthy peanut butter shouldn’t be expensive, but it isn’t there yet). Oddly, peanuts were super cheap, so I started experimenting with making my own. Luckily, I had a food processor at my disposal, and it was that easy. Now, the world of nut butters has opened up, and the trusty processor is adept at all sorts of variety. Almond, sesame, hazelnut, coconut, and even walnut, cashew, sunflower, pumpkin, or pecan butter are all available at your disposal. Forget those processed with excess sugar. Your food processor can help you make your own and provide heart-healthy fats and plant-based protein. Plus, it helps me do it raw, organic and adjusted to my specifications (I like a little coconut oil to add some flavor funkiness). Here’s some recipes to choose from.
Forget the dairy-filled, heavy cream or artificially flavored ice creams at the store. The vegan frozen treat world is a much better place and so is your health due to the magical idea of using a food processor to whip bananas and other fruits into homemade fat-free desserts. Bananas work well to provide a thick creamy texture to homemade dairy-free ice creams, but other fruits can be used too such as berries, mangoes, and even pineapple. I used to have a garden with mango trees, so during the season, I’d freeze loads (an unbelievable amount) of them. Throughout the rest of the year, I’d whiz up frozen bananas and mangoes for a treat just about every day. Hey, it’s raw, whole, nutritious food. It’s healthy ice cream!
Soups and Sauces
Soups and sauces are great measures for health, especially when you make your own and kick the canned kind. Nothing is quite so fresh as a handful of produce from the garden, a few fresh herbs (from the herb spiral) and whatever other veggies—tomatoes—are hanging out in the fridge. Put it in the food processor, turn it into soup, and put that vitamin-packed goodness over some pasta, couscous, brown rice, whatever, and you’ve got a healthy dinner. Love it. Or, I also love a collection of delicious leftovers combined to make a surprise soup. Old barbecued veggies plus dal with rice equals a delicious roasted vegetable and lentil soup—a balanced meal with protein and all those vitamins just like that. All with one spin of a button from your food processor – no sodium or funky ingredients included. Not sure what to make? Here are some soups we happen to love.
I love bread, but I feel guilty eating those refined versions at the store now. I know refined flour has all sorts of ills I’m supposed to turn my nose up at, so I try to avoid it. My wife and I have gone so far as to adhere to the rule of not eating bread unless we’ve made it at home. We do this by simply making our own flour in the food processor from 100 percent whole foods, such as grains, beans, nuts, or seeds. I like to experiment with specialty flours, like chickpea and lentil, which cost a bundle at the store but are simple and inexpensive to make at home. Oat is also an easy DIY flour that many people use in baking and only made from whole rolled oats. The same can be done with seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin, all of them really) to make meal. This makes for healthier living for much less money. They also provide some health benefits no amount of refined, enriched bread will provide on its best day.
I don’t like blenders (I know, I know, my apologies to my fellow blender lovers). They never work well for me, and I end up burning through motors and am left with another broken blender flowerpot. I prefer to make the classic blender basic, smoothies, in my food processor. It can handle whole chunks fruits much better, doesn’t require stopping to push the content down towards the blades and mixes them every bit as smooth. Use fruits, veggies, and liquids of your choice, whiz it up, and there you go- a smoothie for good health in your food processor.
Those shiny wrapped bars at the store we all grew up loving, sweet and sticky with sugar, grains, nuts, and oils, can all be made much healthier in your home (without all the nasty ingredients included). Most granola bars at the store contain a host of ingredients, many unrecognizable, and more sugar than less candy bars. Just use your own ingredients and make some at home. Spin some oats or even quinoa flakes with some spices, nuts, seeds, and a healthy sweetener perhaps, such as dried fruit or even coconut syrup in small amounts. You can also use bananas, pumpkin, and applesauce as a binder and sweetener instead. Make healthy granola bars without the need for processed ingredients.
Oh! The injustice! There are so many things we’ve not yet reached. So much good health—the homemade-churned non-dairy milks, the additive-free dips and salsas, veggie burgers, the quick and easy pasta doughs, vegan cheese, raw desserts, mashed potatoes blended into complete and splendid smoothiness! Just get a food processor. Trust me. It’ll earn its spot on the counter.
Lead Image Source: Cocoa PB Balls