Ninja IntelliSense System
- High quality
- Powerful motor
- Versatile attachments
- Easy and consistent results
- Healthy food made easy
- Could use more food processor options
Bench top real estate comes at a premium in my modest townhouse kitchen, so any new appliance has to earn its spot. High quality, multifaceted appliances only need apply. Does the Ninja IntelliSense System have what it takes to stake a claim on the stone?
The Ninja IntelliSense System
The Ninja IntelliSense System consists of a base unit and four custom attachments. Each of the attachments serves a specific purpose, with an Auto-Spiralizer, Precision Food Processor, High-Speed Blender Cup and Total Crushing Pitcher.
The base its self is where the magic happens. It houses a powerful motor (necessary for ice crushing and other high-intensity tasks) and an intelligent touchscreen that responds to each specific attachment. Four powerful suction cups keep the IntelliSense base firmly planted during operation.
The whole setup has a well made, premium quality feel to it. The intelligent face is a nice touch that separates the appliance from any other blender/food processor that I have ever used. It keeps the design extremely sleek. This design also means you are never fumbling around looking for the correct setting.
The motor is powerful and it does generate a level of noise that is proportional to its ability. You won’t be holding too many conversations while standing near it, but fortunately the motor and ultra-sharp blades make short work of any blending or processing task. The pre-sets also mean you can set the Ninja IntelliSense System to work, then step back a few metres and carry on the conversation while the Ninja does the hard work.
A couple of years ago spiralized vegies were all the rage. Naturally, we bought a hand spiralizer. It was a simple, manual contraption… and it was also a massive pain to use. It was impossible to clean, hard to use once the vegetable became too short, and ended up wasting a huge chunk of perfectly edible food. Needless to say, after a couple of attempts it was abandoned at the back of the “miscellaneous drawer”.
The Ninja IntelliSense System changes all that with its easy to use, easy to clean and minimal waste Auto-Spiralizer attachment. The unit comes with two spiralizer blades – a “spaghetti” blade and a “fettuccini” blade. The result is similar, with the spaghetti blade producing a slightly thinner vegetable noodle. There are more blade options available for separate purchase too, so it is very versatile.
It is worth reading the manual because Ninja specify certain sizes for the most successful experience. There is also a minor learning curve – I had a couple of failures amongst my first attempts. However, soon enough I had the hang of it and was able to produce consistent, long strands of curly vegetable noodles.
I began with carrots, which I added raw to a salad. The spaghetti attachment worked well with the carrot to produce springy long strands that were both amusing and highly edible for the kids. I enjoyed them too, although I don’t need much added incentive to eat my carrots.
My second spiralized adventure was making curly fries. By following Ninja’s guidelines I was able to produce long curls of potato and sweet potato goodness that crisped up nicely in the Ninja Foodi Grill. I probably prefer a thicker chip, but it was certainly A LOT quicker than hand-cutting my fries.
The only issue I had was a potato slipping one time when I pressed it into the spiralizer. I was able to rescue it and on the second attempt it spiralized well.
Cleaning the spiralizer attachment is a breeze – something that any busy family should highly value. The contraption pulls apart easily and every section is reachable to clean. Ninja even include a handy cleaning tool for getting right down into the small hole in the middle.
There is a small amount of waste left after the process is finished, but it is very minor when compared to the large chunk of vegetable lest behind during the manual process. It was small enough to throw into the air fryer with the rest of the fries (or into a pot if steaming/boiling vegies).
In short, the spiralizer attachment is excellent.
Precision Food Processor
A few years ago I raved about my Breville Kitchen Wizz 8 food processor. And with good reason, it was (and still is) a great appliance. It’s fair to say that the Kitchen Wizz left me with high expectations for any new device.
The Precision Food Processor attachment of the Ninja IntelliSense System well and truly steps up to the plate. It uses the same twin sets of blades design as the Breville, with extremely sharp, robust-feeling blades that make short work out of any chopping/mincing/combining tasks. The IntelliSense has three levels of manual control – fast, slow and pulse, but it also has the built in, pre-set programs that automatically light up when the Precision Food Processor attachment is connected to the base. Those settings include “chop”, “puree”, “dough” and “dips”.
Each of these settings automatically controls speed and timing to produce an intended consistency. Just push the button and marvel as the IntelliSense works through a series of pulses and a range of speeds to cut and combine ingredients.
I tried the dip setting with a simple carrot and sweet potato mash. It is made with roasted carrots, roasted sweet potatoes (from the awesome Foodi Grill!), some warm milk, a bit of butter and some dried parsley and garlic.
With the push of a button, the result was a well-combined mixture that still had plenty of texture to enjoy. There was the smallest streak of milk on the edge of the container that hadn’t combined, but all of the soft vegetables had chopped/mashed in consistent way. It was an even better result than the last time I tried it in the Kitchen Wizz, which made more of a puree with a few of the less-cooked chunks of sweet potato still hanging around. I think they had become stuck to the side of the container.
In the name of science (and because my kids really love carrot and sweet potato mash), I made a second batch. This time I used the puree function.
The result was a beautifully smooth and consistent puree that was thoroughly enjoyable to eat. My one year old can be a little fussy when it comes to vegetables, but he ate both the mash and everything else that was converted in the mash. It is a genius way to up the veggie intake! Given the extremely easy, single push-of-a-button nature of the Ninja IntelliSense System, I’m sure there will be many, many more batches made!
The next function to test was the dough hook. Like almost everyone in Australia, over the past few months I have dabbled in the dark arts of bread making. I don’t have a sourdough starter festering in a dark corner of my kitchen, but I did buy a large bag of yeast and several tones of flour.
The hand-kneading process is something I don’t mind, but it is time consuming. I also (irrationality) believed that the hand-kneading process couldn’t be bettered by a food processor attachment. So it’s fair to say I was skeptical of the dough blade as a gimmick rather than a serious function.
Eventually I decided to give it a go. After all, I had an obligation to provide you lot with a well-rounded review, but also because the time-consuming nature of making bread by hand means we don’t make quite as much as I would like.
I’m a little embarrassed to say that the Precision Processor attachment of the Ninja IntelliSense System produced a better dough on the first attempt than I had managed in several attempts. Then again, I don’t really harbour any burning desire to become an artisanal baker, so perhaps that is a good thing after all! Clean up was super easy too, so I take back my skepticism. The dough blade is a worthy attachment and something I now actually intend to use fairly regularly.
While the Ninja IntelliSense System is far more versatile than anything else I have ever used, the food processor attachment is limited to basic functions. There is no shoot for adding ingredients during the processing and it doesn’t come with grating or slicing attachments, that can be handy to have. However, the Ninja IntelliSense System Food Processor does fulfil its core purpose very well, so I can’t judge its lack of accessories too harshly.
High-Speed Blender Cup
So far I have used this attachment to make a smoothie and to blitz two oranges into a juice.
The smoothie was an instant hit with both the one year old and four year old (…and me). It was a chuck everything in and find out what happens scenario, with banana, raspberry, yoghurt and a bit of milk all entering the mix. Admittedly, all of those ingredients are consumed individually by the truckload around here, so it isn’t exactly a surprise that the smoothie disappeared in a matter of seconds, but it’s great to have a fast and easy way of creating a “treat” that is made out of the exact same ingredients as the kids normally eat for snack.
For those who enjoy a pulpy, textured orange juice, the High-Speed Blender Cup is for them. I simply peeled two (seedless) oranges, cut each one in half and let the blender cup do its thing. The result was a delicious juice with a fine, consistent pulp that retained all of the vitamins and nutrients that the fruit had to offer. Those who prefer their juice pulp free could try straining it, or may have to revert to the old-fashioned method.
The High-Speed Blender Cup can also be used to make a Refresher (… I don’t know what that actually is yet) and dressings. While I haven’t tested that function, I’m sure it will come in handy over summer!
Total Crushing Pitcher
I have saved the best until last. The Total Crushing Pitcher is the hero attachment of the Ninja IntelliSense System. It was the component that first caught my eye and made me think that I had to have it in my kitchen!
The Total Crushing Pitcher is an absolute beast of a blender, with a focus on turning ice and/or other frozen ingredients into amazing, delicious goodness. Where other blenders can panic at the sight of an ice cube, the Ninja IntelliSense Total Crushing Pitcher begs for more. It has an extremely impressive motor that is up to the task (this is extremely important when crushing ice in a blender) and a twin-blade, purpose-built container that is generously large and keeps things cool.
The star of the show is the Ice Cream function, which I will get onto in a second, but it also has a Smoothie, Snow Cone and Frozen Drink function. The smoothie function is just as capable as the High-Speed Blender Cup, but enables smoothie creation at an industrial scale. The result is a wonderfully consistent texture.
The ice-cream is what we all came for and it’s fair to say there has been a lot of testing this function in our house. There is a ton of different methods for making and ice-cream base in the Ninja IntelliSense System and I have made it my personal mission in life to explore each and every one (the kids don’t seem to mind).
Depending on the recipe, you can achieve a ready-to-eat, soft-serve style recipe straight out of the blender. Alternatively, some mixtures need to be frozen for a few hours after blending before they are actually an ice-cream.
Those that are ready to eat rely on either frozen fruit or ice cubes to provide the necessary cold temperatures. It’s fair to say I was sceptical that it would work, but the extreme crushing power of the Ninja IntelliSense System does an excellent job of crushing ice into tiny crystals that mix evenly throughout the ice-cream.
So far we have made a few berry-based ice-creams and a delicious chocolate version. One thing to keep in mind is that they do tend to freeze a little harder than your average Bulla Creamy Classic, so take the ice-cream out of the freezer for a few minutes before serving if it has been chilling for more than a couple of hours.
My favourite so far used a couple of frozen bananas, a handful of strawberries, a handful of frozen raspberries, a healthy pour of cream and a couple of cups of ice to produce a delicious fruity soft serve that could be enjoyed immediately. I froze the extra and, after a bit of experimentation the next day I found that one minute in the microwave on 10% power, then crushing the mixture with a fork made a fantastic, sorbet-style treat! Again, the kids couldn’t get enough of it and (other than a small a mount of cream) it was all healthy stuff!
I have seen recipes that just use frozen banana and cocoa to make “nice cream” as a really healthy option.
The Ninja IntelliSense System – Final Thoughts
The Ninja IntelliSense System has earnt its spot on the countertop, relegating all other blenders, food processors, mixers and spiralizer to the far depths of my kitchen cupboards and drawers. While it doesn’t have every single attachment that I would have loved, it still offers far more versatility than any other kitchen appliance that I have ever used. The quality of the components is high, the motor is powerful and the intelligent screen with effective pre-sets is in its own class entirely.