You may be wondering what do you do with a food processor.
Why do you need one? Isn’t a blender enough?
If you’re wondering if this will be another kitchen appliance taking up space in your cupboards with almost no use, you’ve got it all wrong.
Food processors have many useful functions and things they do better than other tools or methods.
They differ from blenders in a number of ways. That’s another story, if you’re interested you can look here.
Let’s focus on the big question. What can you do with a food processor? Read on for six great uses.
Chopping vegetables is one of the most labor-intensive parts of cooking. If you’ve ever had people over for a big salad or vegetable soup you know the struggle.
Whenever a dish calls for multiple chopped vegetables, just bring out the food processor. Let it do this work for you. With the push of a button, you’ve sliced that tough carrot into fine pieces. Faster than it took you to peel it.
It’s so easy. Just wash your vegetables and peel if necessary. Big vegetables should be divided into chunks no bigger than 2 inches. Drop them in the food processor, make sure not to overcrowd it.
Pulse your vegetables, take it easy or you may end up with puree. That’s a different use for this machine. Chopped vegetables should be crisp, uniform pieces, not a liquified mush.
When you read bread recipes, they often recommend using a stand mixer to knead it. You don’t need to do that. A food processor can mix and knead most dough. And it does it faster!
Instead of ten minutes, you’ll be done in a minute or two.
You can fit about 1.5 lbs of dough into the typical unit. If you’re making a lot of bread, you may have to knead it in multiple batches. It will still be faster than using a stand mixer.
Many processors include a set of dull, plastic kneading blades. These create a similar kneading action to that of a stand mixer. The standard slicing metal blades also work really well though.
Depending on the dough, you may find the slicing blades more effective. They tend to work faster and reduce the risk of overheating the dough.
The friction caused by all the forceful processor action can heat your dough up a lot while it’s mixing. The biggest issue with this is that the heat can kill the yeast. Then your bread won’t rise. Learn more about yeast here.
You can counteract this by pouring cold water into the processor bowl as you knead the dough. A little at a time.
The whole process is very simple.
Put your dry ingredients in the bowl of your processor, mix them for about five seconds. Slowly pour cold water through the feed tube into the processing bowl while the machine is running.
When a firm, satiny ball forms and the sides of the bowl clear, it’s close to finished. If the dough still sticks to the blades, add a little flour. If it’s crumbly and dry, add a little water.
Now you have perfect dough in no time.
Grating a little bit of cheese or nutmeg to finish a dish is nice. When your tacos or lasagna demand many cups of grated cheese, however, it can be a nightmare. Not to mention that huge batch of hash browns or shredded carrots.
You don’t need the forearms of an orangutan to pull it off though. Your food processor can do it for you with the grating attachment.
Just chop whatever you want to grate into chunks, then toss them in the processing bowl. You’ll have all the grated foods you could dream of in no time, without any hard work.
Even using the blades instead of a grating attachment will yield an impressive result.
Who doesn’t love sauce? Ranch, pesto, Caesar dressing, hummus, chunky salsa.
Nothing beats a homemade batch. You’ll get your favorite sauce just how you like it. And you escape all the nasty additives, oils, and syrups found in the store-bought kinds.
It’s effortless if you have a food processor. Just put all the ingredients in, push the button, and your sauce is done.
You can start all the way from scratch with a simple, homemade mayonnaise.
The feeding tube is perfect for getting the oil into the egg yolks at the correct rate. Watch the delicious mayo form before your eyes. It’s a perfect base for many kinds of sauce.
Fresh herbs can take any recipe to the next level. But all the fine chopping needed for a big batch of salsa, salad, or marinade is a tedious ordeal.
It’s so easy to process them though. You can pack the processing bowl to the brim if you want to make a huge batch of mixed herbs. Within a minute, you’ve got perfect minced herbs.
You can take it a step further and make a herb puree similar to pesto that you can use to spruce up any dish.
Last but not least, food processors let you make your own peanut butter.
If you’re a fan of this tasty, high-protein spread (and who isn’t?) you’re in for a treat. Homemade peanut butter is a whole new world of enjoyment.
And you can get it just the way you like it. Creamy or chunky, sweet or dry.
This isn’t limited to peanuts only. Cashew butter, almond butter, marzipan, and nougat are all made in the same manner.
Many people have ruined their simple blenders trying to make these delicious, nutty substances.
Food processors can handle the task with ease though. Just dump all ingredients in the processing bowl and spin those blades.
The best part is that you can make huge batches of your favorite nut spread.
These six uses for food processors are just a taste of their power.
You can get very creative with one of these machines in your kitchen.
Learn more about blenders and food processors on our blog.