Blenders are not just for smoothies or frozen cocktails! Okay, they can be if that’s what you really want, but if you’re going to invest in one it may as well put dinner on the table too, right?
What would you say if I told you that the Nutri Ninja® has a new product that is the only small appliance you need to make everything you’ve every used a blender and food processor for: bread, cookies, cakes, quick breads, coleslaw, salsa, hummus smoothies, soups, frozen margaritas, you name it! Yep, I’m super excited at the prospect of eliminating much of my kitchen cupboard clutter with the new Nutri Ninja® | Ninja Blender System With Auto-iQ™.
The Ninja Blender is smarter than I am because it takes the guesswork out of what speed to use and how long to press that button – with one touch it blends at exactly the right speed for exactly the right amount of time. Like the Ninja Blender Duo™ it makes it very easy to create perfectly pureed, deliciously healthy drinks and meals with the added bonus that the system includes a food processor with all the bells and whistles of other food processors on the market.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was sent the Ninja Blender System With Auto-iQ™ to review and play with in the kitchen after meeting the friendly Ninja representatives at the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) in Seattle. I have been turning down offers to review kitchen products because I simply do not have the kitchen space or the desire for more gadgetry. But, I reconsidered when I learned what this gleaming gourmet gadget can do.
I’m always making smoothies – lately it’s been Pumpkin Pie Smoothies in lieu of those caloric, sugar-loaded pumpkin lattes that are everywhere. Pictured above are a Piña Colada Smoothie (pineapple, coconut and zucchini!) that can transport you to the islands when winter blues set in, a Carrot Persimmon Coconut Smoothie (top R) and an Apricot-Carrot-Banana-Coconut- Almond Milk Smoothie in the multi-purpose Lazy Magnolia Brewery glass from Mississippi. For more smoothie recipes, check out 10 Smoothies to Stay Healthy All Year.
With the travel itinerary I had in October and November, I haven’t had the chance to really utilize the food processor bowl, but it will be getting a workout for the rest of the holiday season and the ensuing detox recipe development that comes with every new year. For now, I’m sharing a super velvety Butternut Sweet Potato Soup that is easily made vegan by not adding the finishing pat of butter (naturally gluten-free too). Sweet potato mellows the sweetness of the roasted squash (my preference), but you can certainly make the soup entirely from squash – it will still be lusciously thick, yet smooth and velvety on the palate.
This is a soup to enjoy all winter, for a quick weeknight meal made in a blender, then warmed or an elegant starter for an upcoming holiday celebration. But before, we get to the recipe, let me share what I like best about the Ninja Duo Blender System.
- You never have to stop and scrape the sides because the tri-level blade system is a whirling dervish that efficiently purées all it touches. So incredibly simple, yet genius – why hadn’t anyone thought of this earlier?!!
- Obviously, the colorful instruction manual with detailed instructions as well as a graphic table of how and when to use each component part: the blender pitcher, the Nutri Ninja Cup, or the Food Processor Bowl, to achieve the results you desire. Also, only the one-touch buttons that work with those attachments light up for selection. So easy!!
- The suction cups on the base of the motor are the sort used in stunt scenes like Tom Cruise hanging from helicopters! I’m certain that in the event of an earthquake, your Nutri Ninja will rise triumphant still affixed to your countertop. FYI – even if you use only the two back “feet” suctioned to the counter, the substantial base will not fall off. For families with young children, active teens, crazies in the kitchen, this is a quality to be considered.
- The 72-ounce pitcher can handle any job AND it has a locking lid (again, very firm locking lid) which eliminates accidental spraying.
- Fruit and vegetables for smoothies can simply be peeled and cut in half, for edible-skinned organic carrots, apples, pears, etc. leave the skins on to gain all the nutrients and flavor pureed as smoothly as you like.
- Did I mention it can replace 3 small appliances you may have, or give you the 3 small appliances you would like to have?
Looking for a gift for the culinary queen or king in your life? I think the Ninja Duo Blender System is perfect! It’s not like you’re gifting a vacuum cleaner, you know? And, if there’s any inkling of doubt, you can always slip in a little something special, say a tiny box of bling hidden inside – that’s always appreciated! ♥♥♥
- 1 small butternut squash roasted
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1 tablespoon EV olive oil
- 1 leek sliced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups almond milk
- 2 teaspoons curry
- 1/2 teaspoon Harissa
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- Garnish: pomegranate arils fried sage leaves, pistachios
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and stringy pulp. Put the halves flesh side down in a baking dish, add 1 cup of water. Wrap the sweet potato in aluminum foil. Bake the squash and sweet potato for 30 minutes until you can pierce through the skin easily.
While the squash is roasting, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook leeks until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and spices, stir and cook for another minute. Add wine and cook for another two minutes to meld the flavors. Set aside.
Remove the squash and sweet potato from the oven. When the squash to cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh from the skin. Cut the sweet potato into half, no need to peel - it will be totally pureed and you'll retain all the nutrients in the skin.
Add the squash, sweet potato, leek-spice mixture, and almond milk to your blender. Process on Puree (or until smooth, if you're not using the Ninja one-touch). Place in a saucepan to heat, stir in butter to add a touch of richness, if desired.
The butter is optional, but adds to the velvet texture of the finished soup.
Disclosure: I received the Ninja Blender System With Auto-iQ™ for review; all opinions stated are my own.