Kitchen Equipment: Food Processors
A food processor is a pretty essential piece of kitchen equipment if you want to eat a delicious plant based diet, I’d say that a processor and a blender are the two pieces that are really worth investing in. I use my processor almost everyday to make everything from hummus to pesto, energy bites to raw brownies – all of which are staples in my diet! Using a processor makes a plant based diet way more versatile as it really increases the number of things that you can make at home with fresh, natural ingredients.
I know we’ve talked about blenders versus processors before but just to recap – the difference between a processor and a blender is that a processor has a bigger, longer blade so it can chop things like nuts and dates. This means that they can easily make brownies, cakes, nut butters, dips and lots of other delicious things, which blenders can’t! Processors also don’t need a liquid ingredient to work properly, whereas blenders do, which is why you need both as they both make different things. You’ll find that processors don’t make things as smooth as blenders though, so you can’t make soups or smoothies in them either.
When it comes to buying a processer it’s worth taking some time to think about how much you’re going to use it. You do get what you pay for, as the stronger your machine is the easier it will be to use and you’ll be able to make smoother hummus, better pesto, proper nut butters and great raw treats. So if you’re hooked on this way of eating and know that you’ll use it a lot over the next few years then it’s worth spending some money to get a good one. Saying that, you don’t have to jump straight in and get an expensive one, there are some decent ones available for a good price, and if you don’t plan on using it a lot then this is a great place to start.
There are quite a few well-known appliance brands with food processors, all of which seem to retail at about the same price. I’ve tried so many different models and I have to say that for me the Magimix processor always comes out as the winner. It’s more resilient than anything else I’ve used, which is really important and they come with amazing guarantees so if you ever have an issue it’s easily fixed. My mum is still using the same model that she got thirty years ago, which I think says a lot! There are tons of different models, and as far as I can see the only difference is the number of attachments that you get with the machine! I find that the attachments take up a lot of valuable kitchen space and I never use them so I’d recommend going for their most basic model, which seems to be the best value for money. I use the 5200XL which has a larger capacity than some of the other models and costs between £270-£370 depending on the colour. The 3200XL has the same capacity but is a bit more affordable at about £230. If you only ever really cook for one or two then the 3200 model is £160 and so definitely a good option!
In the US, I have been using a Cuisinart food processor, which is great too. I couldn’t find a Magimix there so had to branch out and whilst I’ve only been using this model for a few months I would really recommend it. It costs about $180 and it’s been able to do everything I need really easily. It seems to be very strong too.
Both of these models quite pricey options though so if you’re new to this lifestyle and want a cheaper model to try, while you decide if energy balls and walnut pesto are for you, then the Kenwood FP731 Duo is a great option. It comes with both a food processor and blender attachment, so you only have to store one base, which is great if you’re short on kitchen space too. It’s significantly cheaper than a Magimix, retailing at about £70, however this does mean that it’s not as strong but it’s very resilient and a great place to start. I used one for a few years at university and it did what I needed it to do. It does take longer to blend, the ingredients don’t come out as smooth, it struggles with nut butters and the base is smaller so you can’t blend as much at once but it does really work!
If you like the concept of having a blender and processor that share a base to save space then there is a more advanced version of the Kenwood model on the market, which is great. It comes with a glass blender jug too, so it looks just as nice as the Magimix. It seems to be just as strong too, although I can’t promise that it will be as resilient as I don’t have my Mum’s tried and tested years of resilience with this one! One advantage it does have over the Magimix though, is it comes with built in scales, which is pretty handy.