Food processors are usually relegated to the back of the cupboard where you only use them for special occasions. And I have to say that was true of me until I started watching Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals and 30 Minute Meals TV series (that accompany his cookbooks of the same name). I found that Jamie uses the food processor a lot to save time in the kitchen, so I tried it out, and I think you’ll find like I did that it is a god send!
Food processors come in various shapes, sizes and power ranges but they all essentially do the same thing – they cut and chop the food into smaller pieces. It used to be that you would use a food processor simply to mash something into a paste, and that is still a legitimate way to use a food processor. However, these days the food processors come with more attachments, and its the attachments that really make the difference to your time.
The attachments that I find the most useful, and I’m encouraging you to use, are the grating and slicing attachments. They usually come as a circular disk that the smaller grating and slicing blades can fit into (see picture below), or a single blade in the shape of a disk that you can fit onto the stick in the middle of the food processor.
Using the food processor to grate vegetables that are then to go into a salad saves you heaps of time when chopping vegetables mid week. It literally takes seconds to grate a carrot or a zucchini so you can make a really big salad on Monday night and use it again on Tuesday and Wednesday – saving yourself time not only on Monday, but for the other nights as well. I saw this Jamie Oliver Rainbow Salad and have recreated it at home myself and its so much fun to throw everything into the food processor.
Ideas for using the grating function
Moroccan carrot salad:
Grate 3-4 carrots in the food processor then throw them into a bowl. Add in a can of drained chickpeas, 1-2 tsp of Raj el Hanout spice mix (found at ethnic grocery stores such as in Brunswick in Melbourne and Lakemba in Sydney – or make your own), a handful of fresh or a tbs of dried parsley and a splash or two of olive oil. Season (add salt and pepper to your tastes) and mix everything together.
Grate 6-7 peel potatoes in the food processor, mix in some salt and pepper and mix. Take lumps of the grated potato out and squeeze the water from it and make it into a flat patty shape. Place on a plate until you’ve finished the mix, squeezing the excess water from each one. Put the plate in the microwave for 2-4 minutes and cook then as they are. Let the plate cool for a few minutes then put it in the freezer for the patties to firm up. Leave them in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes, heat some oil in a fry pan and grill them until golden and crispy.
Grate your zucchini in the food processor to make these simple Zucchini Fritters. Skip the first step of her recipe though by throwing the grated zucchini into the middle of a clean tea towel and wringing them out so you squeeze out as much water as you can. You can always throw in some grated carrot and corn kernels to up the vegetable count in these too.
Ideas for using the slicing attachment
When using the slicing attachment you can also make some really great salads.
Jamie Oliver’s BBQ Beans:
This recipe tastes absolutely delicious, and you can make a big batch on a Sundaay night that will keep you going on Monday and Tuesday as leftovers. I used the food processor to slice the carrots and other veg at the beginning of the recipe to save time. You can eat them on top of sweet potatoes on the first night, then use the beans for tacos or burritos for lunch or dinner the next day.
Ideas to use the chopping function
This recipe is based off Jamie Oliver’s Happy Cow Burgers, but is my own combination of foods. I threw a can of drained Five Bean Mix into the food processor with some defrosted peas, some breadcrumbs, 3-4 tbs of chargrilled tomato relish, salt, pepper, paprika, basil and then mixed everything together. Add more breadcrumbs if the mix is too wet, or a tbs or two of water if its too dry. Then just form the mix into patties, put on a plate in the freezer to firm up for 10-15 minutes then grill until golden.
Pea soup with Mint Pistou:
A pistou is the french version of pesto, so you can always make a pesto in the food processor as well. Try this Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook recipe and throw the ingredients for the pistou into the food processor for a simple ad quick finish to the meal.
Easy homemade pasta sauces can be made in the food processor by throwing in a can or two of diced tomatoes, adding 1-2 tsp of garlic, 2 tbs of tomato paste and herbs, sat and pepper. Just blitz the mix for a few minutes and then pour into a fry pan and let it warm and thicken before you throw in the cooked pasta.
The food processor is a simple way to make mid week meals faster, as the chopping, slicing and grating can be done for you in seconds. Go ahead and try it for yourself.
Question: What do you use your food processor for?