I had, and loved, the Nutri Ninja Pro for a couple years. In my experience, it was superior and more durable than the NutriBullet it replaced. So I was excited when I was asked to test and review the new Nutri Ninja with Auto-IQ and Smooth Boost Technology. I was not disappointed. It is more powerful than its predecessor, with more features and a food processor, to boot. All this, and it barely takes up any additional space on my countertop. Read on if you like, but ::spoiler alert:: I love the Nutri Ninja with Auto-IQ and Smooth Boost Technology (though the name is crazy long and a bit unwieldy).
For the most part, my Ninja Pro had an important, but limited role in my kitchen. I used it to make post-workout smoothies: milk, frozen bananas, protein powder and peanut butter. My wife used it for fruit smoothies: pineapple juice, frozen berries and maybe a little kale. She uses our food processor when a baking recipe calls for it. And I use it when she forces me to make her latkes (the grated and fried potato pancake that is not just for Hanukkah). For this review, I wanted to put the Ninja with Auto-IQ and Smooth Boost Technology through its paces. I stepped out of my blending and food processing comfort zones to give it some challenging tests. I made my own almond butter, pizza dough and even chicken patties in the food processor. (That’s right, raw chicken! For you. You’re welcome.) I also made an intense fruit and vegetable smoothie, with some tough to chop ingredients, in the blender.
The Ninja with Auto-IQ and Smooth Boost Technology has a more intense look than previous countertop blenders, like the Nutri Ninja Pro or the NutriBullet. Unlike the Pro or the Bullet, which utilized push, turn and hold technology (probably not the actual name of that technology) that forced the user to stand there like a sucker while making his smoothie, the Auto-IQ has a light up control panel, with buttons that offer a variety of blending options. You can chop, blend, extract or pulse and then just walk away. But you shouldn’t. The 1200 Watt motor is powerful and your smoothie will be ready in about 30 seconds, according to the helpful timer. And, as the name of the product implies, if you want your smoothie extra smooth you can always give it a boost.
THE TESTS & RESULTS
My first test for the food processor was pizza. This seemed like an obvious choice for a few reasons: (1) the machine comes with a dough attachment that I figured I should try out; (2) I’ve never made my own bread; (3) I’m an idiot. This was probably not going to end well. I used a less gourmet version of a recipe (so my kids might actually eat the thing) that came with the Ninja. The ingredients barely fit in the food processor (some may have even spilled out), so I was doubtful they’d blend together properly. Surprisingly, they did. More surprisingly, the dough rose and the pizza was totally decent. The pan I used made it decidedly thick crust, so my daughter especially loved it.
Next I tried almond butter. This seemed like a good idea because: (1) almonds are a hard nut so this would be an excellent test of the motor and blade; (2) I’ve never made almond butter; (3) I’m an idiot. I looked up a recipe online. It called for one ingredient: almonds. Awesome! I had those. It said it would take about 20 minutes and, at some point, you would doubt it would come together but then BAM! it would. I figured it would take about 5 minutes. I was wrong. It was a time-consuming process that somehow, eventually and as if by magic, worked. In about 20 minutes (people online are so smart!). I used the Auto-IQ chop button, which pulses for a few seconds, lets the ingredients settle, then pulses again. I very rarely had to lift the lid to make sure all the almonds were being blended. The butter came out even smoother than what I usually buy at the store (though if you want to make it chunky, you could add some chopped nuts). It was delicious and did not separate in the refrigerator.
The third recipe, another one that came with the Ninja, called for raw turkey breast. I used chicken, instead. It’s what was on sale. I decided to make chicken sausage patties because (1) someone might want to know how the Ninja handles meat; (2) this would also be a good test for how easy the machine is to clean; (3) I hadn’t barfed in a while. Okay, it wasn’t that gross but I don’t think I’ll be making my own ground chicken again any time soon. Because why? Why did I think think this was a good idea, again? The Ninja actually did a great job grinding the chicken. In about a minute, with the Smooth Boost on, it approximated the consistency of store-bought ground chicken. The recipe was for breakfast patties, so the second part had me chopping apples, onions and sage. I’m not sure what the texture was supposed to be, but it came out a little mushier than I expected. Maybe I should have turned the Smooth Boost off. After combining the ingredients, I baked the patties and they looked disgusting. So I then fried them. They looked better, but, well, this is not a recipe I will be repeating. Ever. Luckily, the Nutri Ninja is dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
Finally, I made a smoothie. Again, I wanted to challenge the Ninja and try something new/potentially horrific. I went off-book with the ingredients, but used the handy dandy Ninja guideline on what to blend and when to put it in. First: fruit and/or vegetables. I used carrots and celery, because carrots are hard and celery is stringy. Second: leafy greens. I used a combination of baby kale, chard and spinach, because it’s what I had in my fridge. Third: liquid. I went with pineapple juice because it’s yummy. Fourth: dry or sticky ingredients. I added chia seeds. They’re so small that sometimes the blade can miss them. Another test! Fifth: ice or frozen ingredients. I chose frozen bananas over ice because this sucker was going to need a little sweetness. The smoothie was slightly gritty, but I think that was mostly from the chia seed powder. No actual seeds were left behind to get stuck in my teeth. Nor was there any trace of the other raw ingredients. It was delicious and nutritious and is going to be a new staple in my smoothie repertoire.
The Ninja with Auto-IQ and Smooth Boost Technology does a fantastic job as both a food processor and blender. It is compact, powerful and easy to clean. Now that I know what it’s capable of, it will be getting a lot of use in my kitchen. But no more chicken patties.
Disclosure: I was provided a Ninja with Auto-IQ and Smooth Boost Technology to review. All opinions are my own. If Ninja wants to send me the Coffee Bar to review, that is totally up to them. (But it looks pretty awesome.)