The VITAMIX blender is the single most exciting kitchen product to come along in decades. About three years ago I got my first Vitamix 5200. I watched the accompanying video, followed the instructions, and then went berserk playing with recipes and creating wonderful soups, smoothies, desserts, and superbly emulsified salad dressings.

I just received my Vitamix 7500 and am ecstatic. Building upon the excellence and advanced technology of the older versions, Vitamix has created this new and improved series. The biggest difference is the redesigned 64-ounce container. The entire unit, with the container in place, is three inches shorter than the previous model, which makes it so easy to slide under a kitchen cabinet. The container is made of the same BPA-free polycarbonate as other models but it has been completely reshaped to make it wider and shorter. The wider container helps when chopping ingredients since the wider base allows more of the ingredients to come into contact with the blade. In addition, cleaning is easier as well.

Another great plus, is the sound dampening. The motor on the new Vitamix is even more powerful and yet the new model is 40% quieter than the older ones.

There is a new pulsing feature on the Vitamix that allows you to make salsas and chop raw veggies more easily.
If you go on the Vitamix site at www.vitamix.com you will notice that the repair department consists of only four technicians. With over 3.7 million blenders with and only 4 people to fix them, they must be doing something right! These blenders are truly indestructible.

Here are some recipes I have created with my new 7500 Vitamix. Please feel free to email me any of yours! Laurie@lauriegrad.com!

Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette

Yield: ¾ cup

This salad dressing keeps for 2 weeks in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.

¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 small clove garlic
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in the Vitamix. Process until smooth and emulsified.
CHILLED ZUCCHINI SOUP WITH RAINBOW OF CHOPPED PEPPERS

Serves: 8

This soup uses the last of summer’s bounty. It can be served cold on warm days and hot when the Fall begins. This soup reminds me of one that I made in the early seventies from the Perla Myers first cookbook, “The Peasant Kitchen.” It was the beginning of a movement cooking fresh farm-picked ingredients, which became the cornerstone of my style of cooking.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
4 large zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
6 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Garnish: light sour cream or yogurt and finely chopped red, yellow, and green peppers

  1. In a large Dutch oven or deep saucepan heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté, stirring often until the vegetables are softened, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the zucchini and stir to coat with the vegetables. Add the garlic and thyme and stir for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth and salt and pepper, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender.
  4. Place the mixture in the Vitamix and purée the soup until smooth. Place in a covered container and chill until ready to serve.
  5. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and serve the soup chilled topped with light sour cream or yogurt and the colorful chopped peppers.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP

Serves: 6

Many markets have cut up peeled butternut squash. Costco has it in season and it is reasonable and so easy to use. This soup is wonderful hot or cold.

I like to sauté my vegetables to achieve a caramelized flavor. But if time is a problem, just put all the ingredients in the new Vitamix, let the machine go, and in 5 minutes, you will have delicious hot soup.

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large crisp apple, peeled and roughly chopped
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Garnish: light sour cream and freshly chopped Italian parsley

1. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and apple and sauté until softened, stirring often, about 6 to 7 minutes.

2. Add the squash and continue to sauté until coated. Increase the heat and add the broth, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the ingredients are very soft.

3. Purée the soup in the Vitamix until very smooth.

4. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of parsley or serve cold after chilling.

LIGHT BUT CREAMY CELERY ROOT AND CELERY SOUP

Serves: 4

This soup can be served hot or cold. It is rich without any dairy at all.

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups roughly chopped washed and dried celery
2 cups peeled celery root, roughly chopped (reserve the leaves on top
for garnish)
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Garnish: plain Greek yogurt and reserved chopped celery root leaves

1. In a large nonstick Dutch oven or deep saucepan, heat the oil to medium high, and sauté the celery, celery root, and onion, stirring often, until lightly golden and softened, about 8 minutes.

2. Add the broth, thyme, and salt and pepper, stir to combine and make sure the vegetables are covered with liquid (if not add a little bit more broth). Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

3. Purée in the Vitamix until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve hot, garnished with a dollop of Greek yogurt and the reserved celery leaves. (You can chill the soup and serve cold with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and the chopped celery leaves).

MINT SAUCE

Yield: 2/3 cup

This mint sauce is wonderful with lamb or poached fish.

½ cup finely chopped mint leaves
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup plain non-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons minced shallots
½ teaspoon dried mustard
½ teaspoon sugar
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

1.  Combine all the ingredients in the Vitamix. Pulse until just blended. Refrigerate in a covered jar until ready to use.

ROASTED PEAR, TOASTED PECAN, ENDIVE, WATERCRESS, AND MAYTAG BLUE CHEESE SALAD

Serves: 6

Toasted pecans and walnuts are available at markets all over the country. They are easy to use in this salad but once opened spoil quickly. If Maytag Farms blue cheese is not available, any variety of good bleu cheese or Stilton will work in this delicious salad.

3 firm pears (Bosc), halved and seeded
¼ cup honey
2 heads Boston lettuce, cleaned and dried
2 heads Belgian endive (white or red), sliced crosswise
1 large bunch watercress, thick stems trimmed
½ cup pecan halves, lightly toasted
1/3 pound Maytag Farms blue cheese, crumbled

Shallot Vinaigrette:

1 small shallot
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
½ cup good quality virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil.

2. Place the pear halves, cut side up in the pan, brush them with honey, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Slice the pears lengthwise into half-inch slices.

3. On six individual plates artfully arrange pieces of Boston lettuce, endives, and watercress. Top with the pears, crumble the cheese on top, and sprinkle with the pecans.

4. Combine the Vinaigrette ingredients in the Vitamix and process until smooth. Drizzle on the salad plates, sprinkle with additional fresh ground pepper and serve immediately.

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