For various reasons — namely lack of space, followed by procrastination — I didn't come to own a food processor until about six months ago. Now that I have one and use it weekly in my cooking, I'm still not quite sure how I went so long without it.
For many recipes I used my blender as a stand-in for a food processor, but over time I learned that even though this swap was resourceful, my blender — even a high-powered one — is not a replacement for what a food processor is capable of. There are some jobs the blender simply isn't built to do (hello, pie dough). Now that I'm the proud owner of a food processor, the way I prep recipes has changed. I'm buying less prepared items and making more homemade versions of dishes I used to purchase for sake of convenience.
7 Things I'm Doing Now That I Have a Food Processor
1. Making a lot more pies.
I first used my food processor to make pie dough last fall, and it was a total game-changer! I didn't necessarily dislike making dough by hand, but it always made me feel apprehensive and wary. Not only does the food processor cut the prep time way down, but it also helps turn out a more consistent result.
Get a Recipe: How to Make Flaky Pie Crust
2. Finally getting my fill of banana ice cream.
There's a chance I'm the very last person to get in on the one-ingredient banana ice cream train. But better late than never! I'm here and definitely not going anywhere anytime soon. I've tried making banana ice cream in the blender once or twice, but it was more hassle than anything else.
Get a Recipe: One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream
3. Grating carrots instead of buying them pre-grated.
I disliked grating whole carrots enough with the box grater to pay a premium for a bag of the pre-grated carrots at the grocery store. With the shredding attachment for the food processor, rasped knuckles and overpriced shredded carrots are no more. I'm so glad those days are behind me.
Get a Recipe: Carrot Tahini Salad
4. No longer buying store-bought hummus.
I used my blender to make homemade hummus a few times, and eventually resorted to the store-bought version — but not anymore. Now I'm enjoying the beauty of smooth homemade hummus and the ease of adjusting the flavors to exactly what I like.
Get a Recipe: How To Make Hummus from Scratch
5. Grinding my own meat.
Being able to grind my own meat was one of the most surprising things I learned the food processor could help me do. I love having control over the cut of meat and the option to create the texture I desire for meatballs, meatloaf, and hamburgers.
Read More: How To Grind Your Own Meat in the Food Processor
6. Eating a ton of shredded salads.
After discovering the shredding blade for prepping carrots, my salad-making took a turn in a totally different direction. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and a whole slew of root vegetables have made the list.
Get a Recipe: Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Hazelnuts & Brown Butter Dressing
7. Swapping my breakfast potatoes for homemade hash browns.
The shredding blade also changed up my favorite breakfast side dish. I traded breakfast potatoes for homemade hash browns. The shredding blade produces long strands, which make for airy, crunchy hash browns — just like the ones my favorite diner makes.
Get a Recipe: How to Make Diner-Style Hash Browns
(Image credits: Quentin Bacon)