As a participant of the 2014 IFBC (International Food Bloggers Conference) I was invited by the folks at Ninja to review their blender. They provided me with a blender, and I was happy to test it out. I received no compensation and as always, the opinions expressed here are my own.
The Nutri Ninja® | Ninja® Blender DUO™ With Auto-iQ™
When I contemplate adding another appliance to my already overstocked kitchen, many thoughts go through my mind. Will I have the room for it? Will it make my life easier? Will I use it enough to justify the real estate it will occupy in my cupboard or on my counter? Since I already had a blender that I don’t use that much, I wasn’t sure that I needed another one. It wasn’t until I unboxed my Nutri Ninja Blender that I realized that this is no ordinary blender. After a month of use, I am happy to share my thoughts and experiences with you.
My first impression was that it is a beautiful machine. That shouldn’t matter as long as it does a good job, but if it is going to sit on the counter, it should look good too. It’s also heavy! That’s probably due to the 1300-watt motor that powers it. This hefty motor drives the unique Total Crushing® blades in this blender that are the reason the Nutri Ninja is go good at what it does. The Ninja felt solid and well made. I was impressed that not only did it come with a large 72-ounce capacity pitcher for big jobs, but it also included two smaller cups (24 and 32 ounce). These smaller cups (for preparing individual or small servings) come with a separate blade and include two snap-on lids. The snap-on lids make it possible to blend a drink, pop on the lid and be on your way. Since my workday starts early, this feature is very welcome. Within minutes I can blend up a delicious smoothie and have no mess to clean up (or have one waiting for me when I get home).
To put the Ninja to its first test, I decided to revive an old favorite ‘Butternut Squash and Chipotle Soup’ recipe. I make this soup frequently when the weather gets cold, and I wanted to see if I could simplify the recipe and still get great results (if not better). In the original recipe, I used a whole butternut squash. It had to be cut, roasted, scooped and simmered with other vegetables, and then blended with a hand blender or in two batches using a conventional blender. After a bit of tinkering, I tried out my modified recipe using the Ninja. I was very impressed! The soup came out much better in the Ninja, incredibly smooth and silky and thicker. The large 74-ounce pitcher did a fantastic job, and it was big enough to do the entire pot of soup at once. I include the recipe here. You can have a look at the old recipe here, but I will be making the new improved version in the future.
Cream of Butternut Squash and Chipotle Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubed
- 1 20 oz package pre-cut fresh butternut squash
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 28-32 oz. stock (chicken or vegetable)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1-teaspoon salt
- 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream, and another 1/2 cup for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
Over a medium high heat sauté the celery, carrots and onions in a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring frequently until the vegetables start to soften, but do not brown. Add the potatoes and garlic and sauté a few more minutes. Add the butternut squash and enough stock to just barely cover the contents of the pot. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the squash is very soft (about 40-45 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool (about 30 minutes at least). When the soup has cooled, pour it into the Ninja 72 ounce pitcher, place the lid on, and press the ‘Auto IQ Puree’ button. The Ninja will blend the soup and shut off automatically. Return the soup the pot. You can finish the soup by bringing it to just under a boil and add the sour cream and heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.
After trying out the large pitcher, I was eager to check out the small cups. For a while now I have wanted to start my day with a smoothie, but because I start so early there never seemed to be enough time. The Nutri Ninja inspired me to give it a shot. I got in the habit of preparing the ingredients for my smoothie right in the cup the night before and putting it in the fridge. In the morning all I had to do was put in a little ice and blend them. Very simple! The cup would come off the machine; the blade would go in the dishwasher, the cap went on the cup and I was out the door. I tried out a few different recipes in the book, but lately I have enjoyed experimenting with my own combinations. Usually, regardless of what I put in, the results are tasty, with some combinations working better than others. The book that came with the Ninja was a great place to start. In addition to numerous recipes, there was also a lot of great information plus a flavor chart of tasty suggested combinations. I was impressed with the cookbook. The largest portion was expectedly devoted to juice drinks. There were also chapters on ‘Infused Waters and Teas’, ‘Breakfast’, ‘Soups Sauces and Entree’s’, ‘Entertaining’, and ‘Desert Treats’. In addition to all the great recipes, there was lots of great advice and tips for healthier eating, maximizing nutrition and much more.
Another great aspect of the Nutri Ninja is the Auto-iQ™ feature. I thought at first this sounded a little gimmicky but it truly is a great feature. This feature essentially is multiple automated programs built into the blender that takes all the guesswork out of how long you need to blend a recipe. At the push of a button, the Ninja will select the speed and time needed to blend everything perfectly. It will also stop and start again to allow the contents to fall back down for even and thorough blending. It is scary that this blender might be smarter than me at 5AM! In addition to being smart, it is a great time saver! All you need to do is push a button and walk away.
Other great features include:
- Suction cups to keep it firmly in place on the counter
- Intelligent Auto-iQ™ feature
- Safety features like locking cup/pitcher and caps.
- Easy pour feature on the pitcher cap.
- Total Crushing® Technology for the best blending I’ve ever seen
- All the parts are dishwasher safe
- BPA free
Pros In addition to all the great features I have already mentioned, this is a great all-purpose blender. It does a great job on anything you want to put in there from ice to cooked vegetables. I love the large 72-ounce pitcher plus the smaller cups are great for lesser jobs and to make individual servings.
Cons It’s large! If you are planning on keeping it on the counter under a cabinet, you might want to measure it first. It fits great with the smaller cup but not with the 72-ouncer. This wasn’t even an issue for me because I don’t keep any appliances on the counter anyway. I can honestly say that I couldn’t find anything else with this machine that I would change.