I use my blender to whirl magical smoothies up for myself each day that I know will make me feel nourished and energized. A little kale, some green superfood, some maca, a little acai, perhaps some spinach and vegan protein powder, and even a dab of coconut butter, too, is delicious! Who doesn’t love plant-based superfood smoothies? I find that when you make your smoothies fresh and use the best order of ingredients to make your superfood smoothies, then they can truly be a game changer (and a life saver) for a plant-based eater.
But don’t insult your blender by limiting it to making smoothies alone – it’s much more capable than that! Whether you have a fancy, high tech blender (which will truly change your life!) or you just have an old Oster laying around the house that your parents gave you, any blender can work for most of the ideas below.
Now, put your blender to work – it’s your best ally to eating healthy in the kitchen every single day!
1. Salad Dressing
The days of bottled salad dressings are soon coming to a close thanks to the blender revolution that is taking place today among foodies and health nuts. There’s no need for preservatives (which are difficult to even pronounce), excess sodium, “natural” flavors (whatever that means), or toxic fats like soybean oil that just contribute to inflammation and even weight gain. You have complete control of your salad dressing ingredients when you make them at home yourself, and they’re so much tastier, too! The best part is, they’ll save you money and calories – and who doesn’t want that? Blend up these 5 ingredients that make an awesome salad dressing and try out these 19 different vegan salad dressings you can make yourself at home!
2. Non-Dairy Ice Cream
Good news all you frugal foodies – you do not need an ice cream maker to make your own non-dairy ice cream! There are truly so many ways you can do it right at home in your blender. Here are some awesome options:
- Freeze peeled, ripe bananas into cubes and blend those up to make dairy-free sorbet/ice cream (a top favorite among plant-based foodies). Because everyone knows bananas are the secret ingredient to easy vegan ice cream!
- Freeze almond milk into ice cubes and once frozen, blend in a blender with a touch more almond milk and any flavorings you want (this does work best in a Vitamix or Blendtec).
- Pour your favorite smoothie into ice cube trays, let them freeze, and blend the cubes with just a tad bit of almond milk or coconut milk until you have an ice cream-like consistency (which also works best in a high-speed blender).
- Make your smoothies super-thick and extra frosty by reducing the liquid. This turns them to an ice-cream like texture instead of a drinkable smoothie, so you can devour them with a spoon instead of slurping them down like a protein shake. Check out my tips for how to make an incredibly thick and frosty smoothie if you’ve never tried this before, but don’t say I didn’t warn you – this one trick alone will truly change you life!
- Blend a little almond milk with some fresh coconut meat and ice cubes to make a coconut-flavored ice cream or try a mix of coconut and cashews to make The Best Vegan Ice Cream in the World!
- Blend frozen pieces of avocado, banana, and your favorite fruit to make instant ice cream just like you would banana sorbet.
- Blend pumpkin puree with almond milk, pour into ice cube trays and let them freeze. Blend in a high speed blender with some vanilla, cinnamon, almond milk, and stevia to make your own vegan pumpkin latte ice cream or you can use pumpkin puree to make this yummy Pumpkin Ice Cream and Brownie Parfait!
- Blend some leftover, strongly-brewed coffee with almond, coconut, or soy milk and freeze into ice cube trays. Blend in the blender with a little bit of the same non-dairy milk to get it going and add some vanilla, stevia (or coconut sugar), cinnamon, and a touch of cocoa powder to make your own mocha flavored ice cream!
- Try out this Cacao Nib and Mint Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream while you’re at it and kiss the days of dairy ice cream goodbye!
3. Coffee Drinks
Learn to make your own coffee drinks right at home instead of paying four bucks a pop or more for those pricey (though tasty) coffee house beverages. All you need to do is choose an awesome coffee (organic, fair-trade is best and here’s why) and blend it (hot) with some almond, soy, or coconut milk to make your own latte. The blending helps the milk froth up just like those from the coffee house do. You can also make an iced coffee drink by letting the coffee cool, adding some ice, and blending away. Pour over ice and there you go! Feel free to sweeten however you prefer.
I pretty much have a love affair with salsa almost as much as smoothies. I used to buy the jarred stuff (and still do in a pinch) but lately, I’ve been enjoying making my own at home in the blender. Here are some tips if you’d like to try it, too.
- Choose between fresh tomatoes for a salsa ‘al fresco or canned, organic fire roasted tomatoes for a more robust flavor.
- Blend the tomatoes with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (which is much better for you than distilled vinegar use in regular salsas), some fresh scallions, perhaps a chopped jalapeno pepper, and the juice from one lemon and one lime (that’s the secret to making it yummy!)
- Try this Mason Jar Salsa and Homemade Salsa Verde if you need a couple or recipes to get you started.
Salsa is a low-calorie, very healthy option in comparison to dairy-based dips that you’ll find in the store. You can use this as a dip alone or even as a healthy salad topping if you like. It also ROCKS when mixed with hummus!
Since fall is here and winter is rolling around the corner, why not use your blender to make one of the season’s most coveted dishes? Soup! Soup is an excellent food to enjoy during this time of year, and it’s so healthy for you, too! Soup has even been proven to help reduce total calorie intake while providing your body with nutrition. Skip the store bought stuff, though, and try some of these healthy options instead: Raw Blender Soups, Raw Thai Coconut Soup, White Pumpkin Lentil Soup, White Bean and Kale Soup and Roasted Vegetable Lentil Soup.
To make these in your blender, you can either puree them or pulse them to keep them chunky so they retain their texture. You can also use the blender to chop and pulse ingredients instead of you having to do it yourself. Or you can keep things easy and literally put everything in the blender whole and just blend to make your own pureed soup in seconds. Just be sure to wash the ingredients first!
6. Oat Flour
Oat flour is a popular baking ingredient today, and it’s simple enough to make at home if you have some oats on hand. Just pulse the oats in your blender until you get a flour consistency. Try baking with this instead of refined flours, such as in these awesome fall-inspired Vegan Carrot Apple Vegan Muffins! You can also make your own flour with other grains like quinoa, millet, rye, spelt, wheatberries, and even chia and flax seeds. Experiment with the combination of new flavors that these healthy flours can bring. If you’re a gluten-free eater, you can use all of your flours to make these 10 Rockin’ Gluten-Free Desserts!
7. Nondairy Milk
Most everyone knows you can make non-dairy milk right at home in your blender, but in case you’re new to the idea, here are some simple tips to guide you through the process seamlessly.
- Be sure to buy organic, raw nuts or seeds (almond, coconut, walnut, hemp) which will give you more nutrition and prevent you from taking in pesticides, oils, and other not-so-beneficial ingredients.
- Soak almonds and other nuts at least eight hours (though 12-24 is better) in filtered water. You don’t need to soak coconut, hemp, or flax since they blend up just fine as they are.
- If using nuts, rinse and strain to remove any of the excess phytic acid that the nuts contain (which is what gives the soaking water the cloudy appearance it has).
- Blend with three times the amount of nuts you have to make a normal-sized recipe, or blend the nuts with double the water to make it richer and creamier (though it will be higher in fat).
- Feel free to add some cinnamon, sea salt, and even a little vanilla to add flavor to your milk.
- Drink within four days in your fridge to prevent it from spoiling.
You can make seven delicious things alone just from your own non-dairy milk. For more tips, check out How to Make Almond Milk and How to Milk an Almond. Also be sure to try your freshly made nondairy milk in this awesome power smoothie made with fresh almond milk!
There are many more recipes you can make your blender, such as cake batters, sauces, and so much more. These seven options above are just some of my personal favorites. And if smoothies are still your favorite thing to make in the blender (as they are mine), then be sure to include these 10 amazing ingredients almost every superfood smoothie should have!
What’s your favorite thing to make in your blender besides smoothies?
Lead image source: How to Make Homemade Unsweetened Coconut Milk