I won’t deny it. There is something exciting about seeing a Vitamix blender on the counter. I could wax poetic about the ironclad Made-in-USA construction, the seven-year warranty, or the easy self-cleaning. But the most compelling thing about these blenders is their potential to radically change what’s possible in your kitchen.
Conventional blenders have a few common uses, from creating emulsions like salad dressing and mayo to making purees and milkshakes. But the first thing I think of when talking about blenders are smoothies. The idea of being able to throw your daily serving of vegetables into a drink to go is really compelling, especially if you’re still slowly warming up to kale. This kind of thing is second nature to the Vitamix, which has been seen at health food juice bars since the company started in 1921 — but it’s hard to explain the difference until you’re sipping out of a fresh glass of green.
“I think one of the big reasons they really hit the market was simply for blending greens,” says Cook Culture instructor Cosmo Meens, known for creating many of the Victoria’s raw food and vegan-friendly restaurants. “It pulverizes everything into the tiniest, most creamy deliciousness. Others just blend it into a chunky, kind of… You kind of have to chew it.”
Rather than slicing or chopping like a regular blender, the Vitamix’s dull blades spin so fast that, according to the company’s vice president for engineering, they break down cell walls and emulsify them at a molecular level. This transmogrifies fibrous plants and changes their consistency completely, creating something I’d never tried before. It’s this ability of the Vitamix that excites Chef Meens, as it gives him the ability make unique textures with raw foods and broaden his culinary options — and smoothies are just the start.
Foods made with the Vitamix are a core part of his menu at his restaurant, The Hot and Cold Café. “It’s now something that if I didn’t have it in my kitchen I would feel handcuffed,” he says. “I hate other blenders, actually. I’m spoiled, when I use another blender now I’m like, this is ridiculous.”
Almond milk, sorbet from hard-frozen berries, even super-creamy peanut butter are all possibilities, and the whirling action of the blades even creates enough friction to warm a soup to steaming hot.
But the most delicious and fascinating thing I tried was the almond spread, the secret recipe for which Chef Meens generously allowed me to attach to this article. Served on a piece of baguette with a slice of cucumber and a pinch of fresh sprouts, the smooth almond and olive oil whip with a hint of garlic might be the single most interesting and delicious condiment I’ve ever tried (move over, sriracha.)
The Vitamix is pricey; no doubt about it, but not only does it give you tons of options, it also stands in for plenty of other one-trick-pony appliances. “It can do more of what a food processor can do, and an immersion blender, and for that matter even a standup mixer than any of those could do anywhere near that.” And it’s also guaranteed to last. Chef Meens likes to tell the story of the time he worked as Executive Chef for Raw Spirit Fest, the largest raw food festival in the world. Three meals a day, times 2500 people, for three days — that’s a lot of soup. What do you do when your blender motors slow down, over heat and quit on you? Put ‘em in the freezer for 20 minutes, then put them right back to work. That’s the Vitamix: professional grade.
Chef Cosmo Meens’ Vitamix Almond Spread
- 8 oz. soaked almonds
- ¾ cup water
- 1.5 oz maple syrup, agave nectar or honey
- 5 oz apple cider vinegar
- 1 ¾ cup olive oil
- ½ oz salt
- ½-1 oz garlic
- Soak almonds for a minimum for 4 hours, up to 12. Rinse and put into blender with all other ingredients except oil.
- Blend on high until all ingredients cream together, then slowly add your oil until emulsified.
This makes a wonderful vegan spread for sandwiches, or you can add two parts almond mixture to one part water and whisk or blend to create a salad dressing. - Sol