Pros: Great quality; easy to clean; sharp sturdy blade; good colors
Cons: Haven’t found one yet
Rating: 5 out of 5
First posted 11/4/2000
Not all that long ago I reviewed the original Cuisinart Mini-Prep. I loved the concept, but the execution left a couple of things to be desired. For example, the thin cheap blade dulled easily. And in order to switch from chop to grind, you had to manually reverse the blade – it wasn’t too difficult, but it was still a pain.
I find myself wondering if the original Mini-Prep was just a cheap test product, to see if people would want a product like this. The main thing that made me think this is that the new Mini-Prep Plus has a real Cuisinart blade. By this I mean that it’s comparable to the blade in their full-size food processor. It’s thick, it’s sturdy, and I expect it to stay sharp for years, if my experience with their food processor is anything to go by.
The blade now auto-reverses, so that you don’t have to juggle a sharp blade when you want to switch from chop to grind. That always made me a little nervous.
The motor is more powerful. Although you don’t want to work it for more than a minute continuously, it no longer gives off that slight “I’m working too hard and thinking about giving up” smell.
This processor chops very impressively. With the old Mini-Prep we found that if you didn’t put enough material in the bowl, it would mostly send the contents flying out to stick against the side of the bowl without particularly cutting them up (especially once the blade got dull), and you’d have to scrape it down repeatedly. Last week we put about six fresh basil leaves in. After two pulses, imagine my surprise when I saw finely minced basil leaves all over the place!
The plastic the bowl is made of is of a better quality. The top is a little rounded, so things don’t get stuck in the corners as much. This bowl, just like the last one, has the two little holes in the lid, so that you can slowly pour oil or whatever through one of them while the Mini-Prep Plus runs.
The touch-pad controls and rounded base are a nice touch. It’s easier to clean this processor than the old one. This combined with the fact that it comes in more colors now (black, anyone?) means it looks a lot nicer out on the counter.
Despite all that, the Mini-Prep Plus isn’t all that much more expensive than the Mini-Prep. We got ours for about $40.
Just like the old Mini-Prep, this one has a very handy use: small amounts of salad dressing or ingredients can be tough to process in a huge food processor, and who wants to clean all that real estate for six basil leaves? The Mini-Prep plus will handle small amounts of foods just wonderfully.
The Mini-Prep Plus doubles as a grinder for anything from spices to nuts to coffee beans, and it’s a lot easier to clean than the Braun coffee grinder I have that can’t be immersed in water. Cuisinart does recommend that if you’re going to regularly grind things, you buy a second bowl and use one bowl just for grinding.
The Mini-Prep Plus comes with the same small spatula that the Mini-Prep came with.
And if all that isn’t enough, yes, this is dishwasher-safe!