Last Updated on January 30, 2023 by Claire
A meat grinder is an essential kitchen tool that is present in almost every kitchen. It’s a machine that is purposely designed to grind meat (as its name implies). Perhaps, you already know it for falafels—there are other vegetarian uses for a meat grinder.
Vegetarian uses for a meat grinder
- Mashed potatoes
- Making jams
- Making cookie dough
- Grinding nuts
- Grinding vegetables
- Making breadcrumbs
Although many articles list quite a few other vegetarian uses for a meat grinder, I’ve observed some of these “uses” will do more damage than good to your meat grinder or meat grinders do not produce good results when used in those ways. Hence the decision for this compilation.
1. Mashed potatoes
This is a great way to add some variety to your cooking routine. You can use a meat grinder to make mashed potatoes for any vegan recipes you intend to use them in. Simply wash, peel, and boil your potatoes, then leave them to cool down before putting them in the meat grinder.
It’s important to read through the owner’s manual of the meat grinder you intend to use before you go ahead with this process.
This is because not every meat grinder out there is suitable for making mashed potatoes as there are a few conditions that must be met before a meat grinder can be used to make mashed potatoes.
2. Making jams
Home-made jams taste great and meat grinders are a great way to strain and puree fruits and vegetables for making jams, baby food, sauces, and more.
You need to use heavy-duty meat grinders that have parts and features specific to this purpose to make jams out of fruits and vegetables; else you might just end up clogging the blades of your meat grinder or cause more damage to it.
Although high-quality juicers are the best options for making juices, they are generally pricey. However, meat grinders can do their jobs but not as effectively and consistently as a juicer would.
This is because meat grinders have different-sized blades that allow you to make juice with minimal effort. The only caveat is that the juice will contain grind-up skin, pulp, and some seeds- depending on the model of the meat grinder in use.
The point is meat grinders are not as good as juicers, but they are a good alternative when you don’t have a juicer handy.
4. Making cookie dough
You can use a meat grinder to make cookie dough by accident. Here’s how—I was behind on kneading some dough for some pastries I wanted to make, so I decided to try using my meat grinder and I couldn’t be any happier when the results turned out to be as good as that done by an ordinary dough mixer.
There are a couple of things you should be aware of:
- Make sure you only use a heavy-duty meat grinder for this purpose
- Only use your meat grinder for mixing dough sparingly, frequent use might reduce its lifespan.
5. Grinding nuts
Meat grinders are an excellent option for grinding nuts beautifully when making those recipes or garnished dishes that require cashews, almonds, peanuts, or any kind of nuts.
6. Grinding vegetables
Grinding certain types of vegetables like carrots, cabbage, etc., when you are preparing sauces, pickles or slaws is very easy with a meat grinder. You only need to ensure you don’t cut up the vegetables into pieces that are too small, or else you will lose the coarseness of your veggies and you will not like the results produced by the meat grinder.
This is why cutting up your veggies into the right sizes is extremely important; as this will make sure the texture and coarseness of your vegetables will be “just right” and will also ensure the vegetables retain their “juices” instead of losing them during the grinding process.
7. Making breadcrumbs
Meat grinders are great when it comes to making breadcrumbs.
Before putting the bread in the meat grinder, ensure your bread is fresh, and thoroughly oven or air-dried to get rid of all the moisture to avoid jamming your meat grinder and damaging it.
How to choose a meat grinder for vegan purposes
As a vegetarian, consider the following when getting a meat grinder.
Model of meat grinder
Not every meat grinder model is suitable for every purpose. So it’s important to make sure you check if your grinder is suited for the purpose you intend to use it for before going ahead.
When it comes to making vegetables, the bigger the grinder, the better it is. Moreover, a larger size meat grinder also means greater volume and quicker processing (expressed in pounds/hour), per the Meat Processing Products.
It’s best to choose one that is big enough to handle the amount of vegetables you want to grind at once so you can keep the texture and coarseness of your veggies smooth and consistent.
Type of blade
You need to make sure whatever meat grinder you choose has blades specifically designed for grinding the food items you intend you use them for to ensure excellent results.
Electric or manual
While electric meat grinders are a great option as they are very fast and save you a lot of effort, they can be a little pricey.
However, manual meat grinders are more affordable and are actually a great option for those who want a more “hands-on” approach to grinding.
While both are great options, making a choice simply comes down to choosing the one which suits your kitchen needs and purposes best.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I put cheese in a meat grinder?
Although you can put cheese in a meat grinder, it is not advisable to do so. This is because most cheese is too soft and will end up clogging the blades of your meat grinder. So it’s best if you use a cheese grater to grate the cheese. However, only hard cheese like pecorino or parmesan can be put in the meat grinder- but only sparingly!
Can I put coffee beans in a meat grinder?
No! Although you can use a meat grinder to grind lentils, legumes, beans, and more, you should never put coffee beans in a meat grinder to avoid damaging them. Coffee beans should be put in a burr or blade grinder.
Is a meat grinder the same as a food processor?
No, a meat grinder is different from a food processor. A meat grinder presses or pushes food through holes in a grinder plate and then cuts food using different-sized blades, while food processors use a blade to chop, grate, slice, knead and mince various foods (and ingredients).
Can you use a meat grinder as a juicer?
A meat grinder can function as a juicer. But you must know that they do not produce excellent results when compared to juicers. This is because the juice produced will contain grind-up skin, pulp, and some seeds (this depends on the model of the meat grinder in use).
There are many vegetarian uses for a meat grinder other than grinding meat. You can use a meat grinder for making mashed potatoes, cookie dough, jams, juicing, grinding nuts, vegetables, breadcrumbs, and others. However, you need to take precautions while using your meat grinder for these purposes. You must also remember to properly clean the meat grinder after each use in order to keep it in good shape.