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5 Ways to Cut Vegetables and Choosing the Right Knife

5 Ways to Cut Vegetables and Choosing the Right Knife

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Identifying the correct cut for vegetables, and executing it well, can make all the difference in the success of a recipe and in the beauty of its presentation. Here are the top five most common ways to cut veggies, and the knife skills you’ll need to do it well. With these methods, you can easily cut vegetables for just about any recipe.

Julienne

The julienne cut results in long, thin strips and gives veggies a distinctly “fancy” appearance. And a bonus—they cook quickly. Of these five ways to cut veggies, the julienne has perhaps the most distinctive appearance.

Step-by-step julienne cuts:

  1. To julienne vegetables, start with a clean, peeled vegetable.
  2. Using a chef’s knife, cut the vegetable into 2-inch lengths.
  3. Take the 2-inch segments and cut them lengthwise into segments approximately one-quarter inch wide.
  4. Stack the rectangular slices and cut them lengthwise again into strips about 1/8- to 1/4-inch wide.

Best for:

Vegetables that are relatively firm and large, such as carrots, cucumbers and zucchini.

When to use it:

This type of cut is used in a wide range of recipes and is especially good for when you want to so showcase the vegetable in salads, omelets and sushi.

Knife choice:

CHICAGO CUTLERY® DESIGN PRO™ CHEF KNIFE

Slice

Slicing results in vegetables cut into pieces that are wide but thin, allowing them to cook fast while absorbing more sauce or seasoning.

Step-by-step slicing:

  1. With the vegetable held firmly, place the tip of the knife at a 45-degree angle at the left side of the veggie.
  2. Moving from the left end of the vegetable to the right, make diagonal slices about 1/2 inch wide.

Best for:

Vegetables that don’t need to be cut width wise in order to be bite-size, such as carrots and celery.

When to use it:

For recipes that call for bites that are easy to eat with a spoon or
fork, such as stews and roasts.

Knife choice:

CHICAGO CUTLERY® DAMEN™ SANTOKU KNIFE.

Mince

For very fine, small pieces of vegetables, try mincing. Mincing ensures that as much flavor as possible will be released into the whole dish. Be sure to keep your knife especially sharp for mincing—of these five ways to cut veggies, mincing can get particularly labor-intensive if you don’t start with a properly sharpened knife.

Step-by-step mincing:

  1. Start by chopping the vegetable coarsely, keeping the tip of the knife on your cutting board and rolling forward with each cut.
  2. Keep chopping in order to get progressively smaller cuts.
  3. Approach the cuts from several angles so the shapes will be uniform.

Best for:

Flavorful vegetables that pack a lot of flavor, such as garlic and onion.

When to use it:

Sauces, soups, vegetable salads and pasta salads.

Knife choice:

CHICAGO CUTLERY® DESIGN PRO™ 5” PARTOKU KNIFE.

Dice

The goal of dicing is to produce small squares or rectangles. Diced vegetables are smaller than chopped veggies but bigger than minced.

Step-by-step dicing:

  1. Dicing a vegetable is very similar to a julienne cut and you should begin with a clean, peeled veggie.
  2. Using a chef’s knife, cut the vegetable into 2-inch lengths.
  3. Take the 2-inch segments and cut them lengthwise into segments approximately one-quarter inch wide.
  4. Stack the rectangular slices and cut them lengthwise again into strips about 1/8- to 1/4-inch wide.
  5. Take the long, thin strips and turn them 90 degrees, repeating the same 1/8- to 1/4-inch cuts. You’ll end up with small square pieces.

Best for:

Any vegetable that is big enough to be diced, including tomatoes, carrots, onions, bell peppers and cucumbers.

When to use it:

For recipes where vegetables are meant to be eaten in the same bite as other foods, such as soups, stews, side dishes and salads.

Knife choice:

CHICAGO CUTLERY® KINZIE™ 7.75” CHEF KNIFE.

Chop

Chopping vegetables results in relatively large chunks. The method is similar to that used in dicing, but the pieces are significantly larger.

Step-by-step chopping:

  1. When chopping, you’ll use a similar method as when mincing and dicing, but the pieces will be a bit larger.
  2. Cut the vegetable in half.
  3. Place each half cut-side down and slice the vegetable lengthwise in parallel cuts, making each cut about 1/8- to 1/4-inch apart.
  4. If the item is large like an onion or a squash, holding the knife horizontal to the board, make a few parallel cuts. The more cuts, the thinner the pieces will be. If you’re vegetable is smaller like a red potato, skip this step.
  5. With the knife perpendicular to the cutting board, cut through the vegetable at a right angle to the board.

Best for:

Potatoes, onions and broccoli.

When to use it:

Ideal for stews, roasts and stir-fries—recipes where you want vegetables of similar size and shape. Chopping can also be used in instances where the size and shape don’t matter, such as when making purees in a food
processor.

Knife choice:

CHICAGO CUTLERY® FULLERTON™ 7.5” CHEF KNIFE.