As newlyweds, I sent my husband to the store with a gift card and the following instructions: “Please get a food processor so I can make such and such for dinner.” The last thing I expected was for him to bring home one of those “As Seen On TV” type of items – but there he came through the door, quite proudly telling me, in a playful voice, that he had gotten me, “The Ninja.” I repeated the words, in an incredulous voice, but then I went along with it, only secretly not expecting the thing to work as well as it actually has, or even really to last until our first anniversary. To my surprise, this has proven to be a very quality grade item with a variety of uses, and I definitely am glad I happened to send him out, as I might not have considered it!
The Ninja Master Prep Professional set comes with one motorized part, which is called the power head. (For those of you who care, it’s a 450W motor. All I know is, it hasn’t burned out on me yet.) The power head fits over the top of the chopper bowl, the processor bowl, and the pitcher (all with the splash guards on), turning the blades. The three containers are great for various everyday chopping and blending. As they are clear containers, you can easily see what happens with every pulse of the power head – and I do suggest using a very short pulsing method, as the Ninja is known for, as opposed to just pressing down for any length of time. This will ensure a more evenly chopped, minced, or blended end product.
The smallest container that comes in this set – or the chopper bowl, as Ninja calls it – holds 16 ounces, which is great for most single recipes. This is what I got the Ninja for – to be a general food processor. It can do in seconds what takes me hours to mince (yes, I’m that slow). The chopper bowl comes with a splash guard, which is what is used with the power head to chop. The power head turns the 4 blade core.
Note: You must put the core in before the food, and then the splash guard over that. During several different batches of chopping nuts, I’ve put in the food, only to realize I had not replaced the blades yet, and I had to unload all of the food and start again, because the blade core needs to go in flat against the bottom. That way, no food is missed.
I typically use the chopper bowl for mincing garlic, chopping peppers and onions for stir fry, chopping nuts like almonds and walnuts for toppings, and even sometimes fresh spices, like rosemary. My husband has even used the Ninja to shred cooked chicken quickly. The blades have not dulled at all, it seems, over the last four years. The chopper bowl comes with a handy storage lid, as well – the only thing the chopper bowl doesn’t have is a pouring spout.
The processor bowl, or the midsized part in this set, holds 40 ounces, which is a sizable amount. This is what I would use for doubling, or even tripling recipes. For some reason – and this may just be because of my current uses – I’ve actually gotten this part out fewer times than the other two. The processor bowl comes with both a splash guard and a storage lid, and has a 4 blade core. Also, while the chopper bowl does not have a pouring spout, the processor bowl does.
The pitcher, which looks more like a blender than the other two, holds 48 ounces, and like the bowl, has a splash guard as well as a storage lid. The pitcher, being taller, requires more blades for an even blend; there are 6 blades along the core. It is incredible what this machine can do to ice – just a few pulses, and ice cubes become tiny chips, an eventually, as most people call it, fine “snow,” which is suitable for slushies, frappes, and smoothies. I have blended frozen bananas with ice and powdered chocolate, and frozen berries of all kinds with yogurt to make various flavors of smoothies. (Even though I’ve only mentioned frozen food and ice here, any of the three containers’ blades are capable of tackling frozen items.) Like the processor bowl, the pitcher has a pouring spout that definitely comes in handy.
The parts are microwave and dishwasher safe – although I prefer to wash them by hand, as I don’t trust my cheap dishwasher to clean the gaskets well enough. For those of you who might be concerned about plastics, these items are all BPA free.
This food processor does the job – perhaps too well, in some cases. Most veggies are reduced down to your desired sizes in just a few pulses, and just one extra pulse may result in what I call “soup.” I suggest checking after every pulse until you are used to the way the blades work. But for the most part, once you are familiar with the results of a pulse, you will be able to estimate how much and how long you need to work on a particular ingredient. Most of the time, I can get a uniform cut, although once in a while I will remove a little of the food and chop the remaining larger parts again – usually just one pulse.
The Ninja is truly a great deal; it is certainly the least expensive of the electronic kitchen items that I have bought for myself, and it is used almost daily.