Breville Blend Active compact food processor full review

There’s something quite loveable about the Breville Blend Active Compact Food Processor. Dinky, useful and neat, it’s a bit like having a kitchen elf sitting on your work top ready to do all those slightly annoying food preparation jobs. 

To explore why the Breville has such an impish impact, you need to start with what you get in the box: a 300w motor unit, a transparent 450ml food processor bowl, a food processor blade and housing, a transparent 600ml blender bottle, a blender blade, a screw-on, flip cap “sports” lid for the bottle and a manual.

Breville Blend Active box contents

The motor unit and the blade housing are dark grey with a teal undertone -- so far, so modern chic -- but Breville decided to accent the grey with a bright leaf-green trim, which gives the food processor a perky, twinkly-eyed touch that might not be to everyone's taste.

This is the kind of appliance you can leave out on your kitchen worktop. It's only 33cm tall with the food processor bowl and 37cm tall with the blender bottle. The diameter of the motor unit is a mere 15cm across the widest point. That's far narrower than your average kettle.

In short, it's not going to crowd your counter space.

Of course, there is a downside to this. You can only blend 600ml in the blender bottle, and process 450ml in the food processor bowl. So, if you want to work with greater quantities, you'll need a larger processor.

But this Breville model feels like an appliance for a small but active household; it’s very much a “blend and go” tool, designed for single or two-person household use.

The Blend Active range

The Breville Blend Active range includes this Compact Food Processor with blender capability, the Blend Active Personal (£27.99 at the time of writing) and the Family Blender (£32.99).

The Compact Food Processor will set you back a little more – unless you can find it on sale. Right now, it's available for about £10 off from Amazon and Very. Still, we think it's a pretty good deal, even at full price.

Using the Blend Active

To blend, pop your ingredients into the blender bottle, screw the blender blade attachment onto the bottle, and then turn the entire contraption upside down and click it into the motor unit.

To chop, mince or muddle, place your ingredients in the food processor bowl and follow a similar process.

Then just press the blend button.

Breville Active Blend with pureed ingredients inside

Once you've blended or chopped, simply reverse the process and pour or scoop out your food. Breville gives you a “sports” lid for the bottle with a flip cap, so if you've made a smoothie, you don’t need to decant it into a travel bottle. You can just take the blender bottle with you or pop it in the fridge – it’ll fit in your door rack.

Some of the clicking into place can be stiff at first, but you soon get the hang of it. Likewise, the flip cap on the “sports” lid takes a bit of pressure to open, but as far as we could see, it doesn’t leak.

Once you’ve finished with the appliance, the bowl, bottle, and “sports” lid can go in the dishwasher, although you’ll probably need a bottle brush to remove sediment from the bottle if you’ve made a fruit smoothie. Be careful with the blades: they are sharp.

It’s worth noting that the bottle is made from Eastman Tritan Copolyester, which is a durable, BPA-free, odour, taste and stain resistant material used for manufacturing sports bottles.

Blender and bottle

To clean the food processor housing, fill the bowl with warm soapy water, click in the housing with the blade attached, and just give it a 10 second blend – and the process works.

What can you use the Blend Active for?

Breville suggests you can crush ice, chop herbs and spices, create breadcrumbs, blend soups and sauces, puree baby food, blend smoothies and protein shakes, make dips and pastes, and whizz up cake batters and salad dressings.

So we tried a few recipes, starting out with hummus.

If you use the supplied recipe, it'll make about 360g of dip. The processor missed a few chickpeas at the top so the food needed a midway stir and a splash more water, but the result was velvety and smooth. We were seriously impressed, and it was roughly two-thirds cheaper than supermarket-bought dip.   

The olive tapenade recipe was similarly effective: the processor minced the olives and anchovies with very uniform granularity.

Hummus, tapenade and a smoothie

Then we tried a frozen berry smoothie. The Breville handled the ice cubes and frozen berries well, and the blending process was fast, although it did require a liquid component. Remember, this isn’t a juicer. If you want to do something with uncooked kale or spinach, make sure you have the right kind of recipe.

To chop onions or uncooked root vegetables, you need to cut them into smaller pieces. We tried two medium onions cut into quarters, and the processor handled seven quarters well, but missed the eighth – we probably overloaded the bowl here, but it goes to show the quantities the Breville can handle. From this, we then made a small batch of soffritto with onion, celery and carrot, and the processor minced the vegetables perfectly.

Be aware there is a noise difference between blending and food processing; the food processor is shriller than the blender, but not as bad as some cheaper processors, so we felt it was more than acceptable for the price point.

One thing to note is that although the motor unit only weighs about 950g, it has four small sucker pads on the bottom that will attach it to a surface, so you don’t need to worry about the appliance skating across your work top.

Verdict

The Breville Compact Food Processor is a useful appliance that delivers good value for your hard-earned cash. If you want to make soup for eight, it’s not going to be your thing, but if you want to get hooked on morning smoothies or rustle up a batch of puree for a tot, it’s a winner.     

Specs

Breville Blend Active compact food processor: Specs

  • VBL241
  • 300W
  • 1 x Processor Bowl, 1 x Portable Blending Bottle (600 ml)

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