We’re loving the new Vitamix S30, which has all the power we expect from a Vitamix blender but is sized for small batches and priced under $400. For inspiration on new ways to use it, we turned to one of our favorite blending experts: Tess Masters, blogger and author of the new book The Blender Girl. Here, we ask Tess all about her experience with the personal blender, tips for new users, and what she’s mixing up now. Plus, scroll down for recipes from her cookbook, adapted for the S30!
It’s amazing! I love that there’s finally a personal blender with the power of a larger machine. The 20-oz. container doubles as a to-go cup, and I love that there’s the larger 40-oz. container — it replicates the experience of the larger machines, with a tamper. The tamper is what sets the Vitamix ahead of other blenders, so for me, it is fantastic. The beauty of the tamper is you can completely control your blend while the machine is running — you don’t have to stop and scrape down the sides with a spatula.
There are no pre-programmed settings, so you have complete control with the speed dial. Personally, I never use pre-programmed settings because nobody knows the exact ingredients that are going into my machine!
What are some benefits of this model?
This machine is very manageable — it’s fantastic for children or college students or people with small spaces. And it’s less intimidating than the larger machines. Also, it’s really brilliant for blending small quantities, which can be an issue with other models, like the 750 machine.
My dad actually made me a little Vitamix carrier because I used to take it everywhere. Now, I’m traveling with the S30.
Finally, it’s so easy to clean because you can disassemble the blade. It’s really safe — with larger machines, it’s a little harder to get down there. Once a week I like to get in there with a toothbrush and clean in the container so you don’t get buildup. The S30 is extremely quick and easy to clean. And there’s even less cleanup because with the 20-oz. container, you’re using it as a drinking vessel — there’s no waste whatsoever. My 20-oz. container is getting a workout!
What are some of your favorite things you’ve made in it?
I make a quick frozen treat with bananas and mint leaves — I just invert the cup and grab a spoon and take it in the car with me!
It’s so quick to just fill the container, invert, blend and make a smoothie for one, to go. The S30 is so great because there is no wastage. It would be great for people living alone, or people working out and having it at the gym and in the office.
Any tips for people using it?
People need to know they can’t put hot liquids in the 20-oz. container; you have to use the 40-oz.
I’m also big on “layering” machines to help them help you. With bigger machines, you layer liquids first, then powders, hard ingredients, etc. With the 20-oz. it’s reversed because you’re going to invert the 20-oz. container onto the blade. You should add liquids last so that when you reverse it, they are on the bottom.
Because the S30 is smaller it takes a little longer to get going. You’ll get the best results when you chop ingredients a lot smaller. Treat the machine with respect to get the most bang for your buck and the greatest consistency. This is critical for the S30, because it’s more compact, but if you do that you’re going to get just as great of a performance as with the full-sized machines. Although, they do trickle to the bottom when you invert the cup too! But it makes things easy to layer.
Have you found any creative uses?
If I’m making jam, I will always make it in the S30 — with the small carriage, I don’t have to step on my tippy toes to look inside! Peaches are in season so I’m making jam at the moment. Also, chutneys with heirloom tomatoes and salsas. I love to make tomatillo salsas and pico de gallo, because it’s beautiful and warm in Los Angeles right now. I’ve been making ice cream and margaritas, too!
Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake Smoothie
This decadent dessert shake tastes just like a melted cheesecake and will satisfy even the most in-withdrawal cream dreamer. But to get the full effect, you gotta soak those nuts! I created a similar smoothie for Driscoll’s berries for their Vitamix sweepstakes, and when it was announced in the weekly newsletter, their website got so many hits, it crashed. ’Nuff said. Tart up and turn lemons into raspberry-lemon cheesecake.
1/2 cup ice cubes (more if using fresh berries)
Pinch of natural salt (optional, to boost flavors)
1 pinch finely grated lemon zest, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/3 cup raw unsalted cashews
1/4 teaspoon probiotic powder (optional)
1/2 cup coconut water or water
Throw all of the ingredients into the 20-oz container of your S30 blender in the order listed, secure the container to the blade, and invert onto the base. Blast on the highest speed for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. Tweak flavors to taste (you may like a bit more lemon juice, sweetener, or zest).
Tastes-Like-Ice-Cream Kale Smoothie
SunCafe, my favorite local raw restaurant, won SeriousEats.com’s Best Smoothie in L.A. award for a blend that’s similar to this one. I’m not sure exactly what they put in their award-winner, but this is pretty close. One taste and you’ll understand why kale-phobic omnivores line up and even double-park in front of SunCafe to run in and get their fill. Still the most popular recipe on my website, this is the Holy Grail of Kale.
1/4 teaspoon minced ginger, plus more to taste (optional)
1 cup ice cubes (a little less if using frozen bananas)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 cup chopped pitted dates or ½ tablespoon pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
1 ripe bananas, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup torn-up curly green kale leaves (1 leaf with stalk removed, ripped into small pieces), plus more to taste
1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews
1/4 teaspoon probiotic powder (optional)
1/2 cup water
Throw all of the ingredients into the 20-oz container of your S30 blender in the order listed, secure the container to the blade, and invert onto the base. Blast on the highest speed for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. Tweak flavors to taste (you may like a bit more kale, sweetener, or ginger or more ice).
Recipes reprinted with permission from The Blender Girl: Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts, and Drinks–100 Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes! by Tess Masters, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Photo taken by Anson Smart © 2014