Vitamix Food Processor Attachment Review

Vitamix Food Processor Attachment on A3500Vitamix just released a Food Processor Attachment for their Smart Blenders (Ascent and Venturist Series). In my opinion, this is their most interesting new product since I started this site in 2012, and maybe even since they released the predecessor of the 5200 back in the early 90s. Vitamix sent one to me for review, and I’m excited to share my thoughts. (My opinions here are fully independent from Vitamix, though I do receive a commission if you order via one of my links.)

Introduction

You may be wondering, wait, can’t a Vitamix already food process? Isn’t it more than a blender? It’s true that you can chop foods in a Vitamix without liquefying them, but a food processor gives more control. The sharp blades of a food processor do more slicing and less crushing than the duller blades of a standard Vitamix. I’ve previously written about Vitamix vs. Food Processors.

Now we can have an actual food processor on a Vitamix base! It doesn’t come cheap, but given Vitamix’s high standards of quality, that’s not surprising. Considering that Vitamix’s standard containers cost $129 to $159, the Food Processor Attachment’s $199 pricetag is right about where I would expect it.

Given that you can purchase a whole mid-range food processor for this price, why would someone buy just the attachment from Vitamix? This is clearly for people who already have a Vitamix base. Most people keep their Vitamix out on the counter, and most store their food processor away in a cabinet. By fitting on the same Vitamix base, this will be more convenient to use. As expected, the build quality feels solid. And Vitamix’s warranty service is the best I know of. If you ever have to send something in for repair, they pay for shipping both ways.

In transforming a blender base into a food processor base, Vitamix had to solve two challenges: blade speed and safety interlocks. Food processors spin slower than blenders, so Vitamix created a gearing system that sits hidden inside the bottom of the food processor attachment. It gears down the speed by approximately seven-fold. Vitamix solved the safety challenge with their self-detect technology, which uses NFC tags that activate when multiple parts come together. This means that the motor will only spin the food processor blades if the lid is fully in place.

What comes in the box

Vitamix Food Processor cutting discs and s-blade

  • Gearing base
  • 12-cup container
  • S-blade
  • 2 double-sided slicing and shredding discs (thick and thin)
  • Storage case for discs
  • Lid with feed chute
  • Large pusher
  • Small pusher

The container easily snaps onto the gearing base. The gearing base is the only part that they recommend not putting in the dishwasher. You can release the container from the gearing base by pressing a sturdy lever.

They designed a “storage mode” where you invert the lid and put the pusher chute around the blade spindle. Then the storage case for the slicing and shredding discs snaps onto the inverted lid. This seems pretty clever and it’s a nice way to keep everything together in as compact a form as possible:

Vitamix Food Processor attachment in storage mode

In storage mode it is 12.5 inches tall, and assembled with pushers in the feed chute it’s almost 13 inches tall.

The S-blade is for general chopping and dough kneading.

One cutting disc does thin slices on one side and fine shredding on the other. The other disc does thick slices on one side and coarse shredding on the other. So altogether, there are five different processing options.

The small chute lets you add skinnier things like carrots while holding them upright, while the larger chute handles wider items. You can add liquid with the pusher in place. There’s a small hole in the bottom of the pusher that is designed to steadily stream in oil for making emulsions. Max diameter for items in small chute: 2¼ in; max diameter for round items in large chute: 2½ in; max length for horizontal items in large chute: ~5 in.

Processing Food!

I tested carrots with the four different disc options. Clockwise from the top, thin slice, thick slice, small shred, large shred:

Some of the carrot got sliced on more of a diagonal. I probably could have gotten them all perpendicular by feeding multiple carrots at once so that they couldn’t tilt in the chute.

I chopped some mint with the s-blade, and then used the small shredder to grate carrots and beets. It goes super fast, and I quickly had two pounds of salad:

I also made some pico de gallo. For this one, I did a side-by-side comparison with the standard 64-oz container. Before:

Vitamix Food Processor Attachment pico de gallo beforeAfter:

Pico de gallo in standard Vitamix vs Food Processor AttachmentAs expected, the food processor blade does more slicing. This results in a more even chop, and it also releases less liquid from the tomatoes. The onion flavor was also slightly milder, presumably because it had not been bashed as much.

Here’s a Roma tomato sliced with the thick slicing disc:

Roma tomato sliced with Vitamix Food Processor slicing discThe slices are not super thick! The tomato slices here measured about 0.2 in. I’ve heard that some food processors struggle with making nice slices of a tomato, but the Vitamix slicing disc is sharp enough that it makes clean perfect slices. The only limitation I can think of is size of the feed chutes means that you won’t be able to slice larger whole tomatoes like this. The small chute is the perfect size for Roma tomatoes.

Thoughts

In my testing, the Self Detect worked every time. There was one time where I forgot to snap both sides of the lid on, and it wouldn’t start until I snapped on the other side. The lid uses the same type of latches as the other Ascent containers, so you get two audible clicks when it snaps into place. Similarly, the container snaps onto the gearing base with an audible click.

I’ve always said that if you have the right tool (a long narrow spatula) getting blends out of the standard Vitamix containers works pretty well. But it frustrates many people. The Food Processor container has a flat bottom and straight sides, so scraping it out is super easy, especially since there’s no blades to work around. (This silicone spatula worked well.)

I did once forget to lift the s-blade out of the container before pouring out the contents and the blade fell out. I’m so used to Vitamix blades being firmly attached to the container that I didn’t think about it. It was no problem, but the blade is sharp, so it’s best to not drop it on yourself!

The motor will not operate without the large pusher at least partially engaged. This is to prevent you from sticking your hand into the cutting disc. The small feed chute is small enough that you can’t fit your hand through, and you can feed in long carrots without having to have the small pusher partially engaged.

One slightly weird thing is that the speed dial does not control the speed of the Food Processor Attachment. It only goes to a single speed, regardless of the speed setting. I guess they must have decided that there’s no reason to use other speeds. If your machine has preset settings, they’re all inactivated except for the clean cycle on the A3500. The pulse button does work.

I’ve heard some sources say that a dishwasher can dull blades over time, so I’m tempted to not put the blades in a dishwasher, even though Vitamix says they’re dishwasher-safe.

Use on other Vitamix machines

The Food Processor Attachment (FPA) is only intended for use on Ascent or Venturist models. Putting it on any other machine will bypass the safety features. I do not think that this is a case of Vitamix trying to force users to ugrade for the sake of upgrading. (Vitamix just recently released a different new product that is compatible on both smart and non-smart models: the stainless steel container.) All food processors have some sort of safety interlock, and I can’t think of any way that it would be possible to add that onto a non-smart Vitamix.

If you want to use the FPA, I recommend giving your current Vitamix to someone who would appreciate it and upgrading to an Ascent or Venturist machine. (There’s currently a hidden deal on that Venturist machine: add it to your cart to activate $100 off!)


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Comments

Vitamix Food Processor Attachment Review — 12 Comments

  1. Do you really think that Vitamix was limited to make this for just the so-called smart models? I understand the safety concerns and, because of the gear-down, the need to control the speed via wireless. But, could Vitamix have made this to work with the so-called Legacy models? I have three Vitamixes and the new attachment won’t work on them. Just curious for your thoughts.

    • I definitely think they were limited to the smart models because of the safety concerns. Every food processor I’ve ever seen has some sort of safety interlock. I can’t think of any way that a legacy model would be able to be prevented from turning on.

      In principle they could make something with even more gear reduction, but the high speeds might be bad for the first gears, and all the extra gears would add expense and weight.

      I guess in principle there could be an extremely limited device that was safe to use. It could have the cutting disc permanently attached to the lid, and you would only be able to use the narrow feed chute. I think that would be so limited to make it not worthwhile though. To get the functionality of the current FPA, you’d need four different lids. And they would be more expensive and complex than the current ones because they’d each need bearings. At that point it seems you’d be better off just buying a dedicated food processor.

      Long story short, I do not think a food processor attachment for legacy models would be a reasonable product.

    • On legacy models it sits on the four centering posts with a small gap from the rest of the centering pad, but it engages enough that it is possible to turn on. I do not recommend doing so because of the safety hazard, since there is zero safety interlock if you use it like that.

      I was a bit surprised that it fit because the Self-Detect 8-oz and 20-oz blending cups with the screw-on blade are impossible to engage with the non-smart models. If Vitamix wanted to, they could slightly change the molding of the bottom of the FPA to make it not fit. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they make that modification at some point. (In the past I’ve noticed them make minor modifications to existing products without changing the product name, so there is some precedent.)

    • I just received communication that Vitamix is recalling the early FPA units that fit on legacy models. They say they’ve made a minor modification to the base to prevent it from fitting on legacy machines.

  2. That deal on the Venturist is pretty good. I have been watching it to purchase all week but the reconditioned scale that come with it has always been out of stock.

    • I haven’t tested cheeses yet. I will say that the standard Vitamix container does a good job on parmesan.

      I expect the FPA will work well with parmesan and cheddar. Like all food processors, it will probably struggle or fail on soft cheeses.

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