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I like eating a salad for lunch, but would like to somehow optimize the time it takes to cut the vegetables. My salad usually contains tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, carrot, etc.

I could buy an electrical blender, but the end result is usually not as tasty since the vegetable parts are too small. Therefore I tried to look-up for some alternatives:

Starfrit Chopper

Prepworks Chopper

Freshware Chopper

Anyone have experience with such devices? Perhaps there's some great alternative that I haven't found yet?

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    The first two only cut to one size, and it's either slabs or sticks ... the third one is more like a hand-crank food processor ... where you can get inconsistently sized bits if you're not careful and you'll never have larger slabs or sticks. There's another style where you have a spring loaded blade that you push down, which is like the third one, but tends to be smaller. – Joe Sep 2 '14 at 20:30
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    @Joe They've got several different blade assemblies. Looks like two sizes of square cuts, and one slicer. I just used something like one of these to cut up tomatoes and peppers for chili. It work pretty well. However, even the larger squares might be smaller than you want in a salad; 8X8 mm or so? – Wayfaring Stranger Sep 2 '14 at 21:38
  • IMO, user a "chopper" will result in too finely cut vegetables. – Max Jan 27 '15 at 14:03
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You could chop all your veges with a knife once a week and put them in containers...

If you are set on a machine, pick up a Food Processor (like a Cuisinart). It has attachments to slice or grate your veges quickly and uniformly, and has many other uses too (quick bread dough, sauces, puree soups, etc.)

A Mandolin slicer will also work, and you can julienne things, but make sure to get a good one. I am not happy with mine at all. The advantage to this is you can change the thickness of your slices (i.e. thick cucumber slices, thin radish slices).

The tomatoes you will just have to cut by hand though. There are tools for that, but I haven't seen a consumer version (giant slicers/wedgers at McDs, many decades ago).

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    The 'V slicer' mandolines can slice firmer tomatoes (eg, romas) ... but if the goal is time savings, it's faster to clean up after a knife than any of the tools mentioned. (unless you have a dish washer ... but even then, food processors are a bit of a pain to disassemble / reassemble for just one salad). – Joe Sep 2 '14 at 21:45
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    I don't disagree. I only break out the big guns when prepping a lot of food at once (like gallons of slaw). For just one salad, a knife is good enough. Plus daily practice in knife skills is always a good thing. – JSM Sep 2 '14 at 22:28
  • I could cut up the veggies once per week, but I prefer to eat fresh salad. I think I will try a Mandolin slicer. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Sep 3 '14 at 7:42
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Not trying to be flippant here, but perhaps the 5 minutes it takes to make your daily salad is not worth the added efficiency of a device of some sort. Vegetables like carrots and celery can be prepped during less hectic days of the week. Likewise, cucumbers can be marinated in wine vinegar, water & spices, to add a piquancy to the salad. Cherry or grape tomatoes are much easier than slicing a big tomato. Bell pepper strips last longer than chopped bits.

Lastly, there's a lot of veggies not mentioned by your use of 'etc' after the list of your favorites. What else do you do with your salad? Do you add non-veggies like seeds or nuts?

  • Depending on occasion I also add boiled eggs, pecan nuts and radish. I don't really mind the knife, but it's nice to have a convenient tool :) – JonathanReez Supports Monica Sep 3 '14 at 7:44
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I'm firmly in the mandoline camp. The break even point comes at about 200 g of vegetables for me, below that knife is quicker because of the cleanup time. It also doesn't add to your electricity bill and is by extension environmentally friendlier than running a 0.5 KW food processor daily. If your knife speed is different, your break even point will be at another amount.

Because a real food processor requires much more cleaning, I find that the break even point for it vs mandoline comes at about 800 g of vegetables.

I have never made good experience with small handheld choppers like the one in your first link. Maybe I just happened upon bad products, but they were clumsy and didn't cut well. A good use for them is raw onions - the enclosed cutter reduces tears because only very little of the vapors escape.

I have never used tools like your second and third link. But I'm very skeptical about them. If their cutting surfaces aren't razor-sharp, they will smash the vegetable rather than cut it properly. You'd need a softish vegetable for them anyway, I doubt that they can do carrots or potatoes. Even if they are perfectly sharp when you buy them, they will go dull with time and there is no way to sharpen them.

  • Can you recommend a good mandoline model? – JonathanReez Supports Monica Sep 3 '14 at 7:41
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    @JonathanReez I've been very pleased with my Oxo GoodGrips handheld mandoline (and everything else I've bought from that range). Somewhat pricey, but great build quality and action on everything they make. – jam Sep 3 '14 at 13:49
  • Ya, I got the Kitchen Aid in the same price range. I don't like it at all. Could be because of a diagnonal instead of a V blade, but by the second or third slice, it doesn't cut all the way through. Doesn't matter if I am slicing ginger, potatoes, or celery. – JSM Sep 3 '14 at 16:12
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Thank you very much for your help! I eventually decided to get this tool (Genius Salad Chef Junior). Works like a charm. Here's what I've tried it with:

  • Cucumbers - great
  • Tomatoes - works, but a bit hard to push through completely
  • Apples - great
  • Cheese - very hard to push through, but works
  • Carrots - great
  • Smoked salmon - doesn't work

It should be sufficient for most salads. The bowl is sealable and can be used to store several portions.

enter image description here

  • Could you comment on how well it does with various vegetables? (especially tomatoes and really firm things) – Joe Jan 27 '15 at 3:02
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    @Joe answer expanded – JonathanReez Supports Monica Jan 27 '15 at 3:12
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I would STRONGLY advise a GOOD chef's knife. I am not a professional, but I would not trade either of my chef's knives for a gadget. For anything LESS than MASS PRODUCTION (think "cooking for 50"), the knife is quicker and more versatile in the results.

Let me emphasize a GOOD chef's knife. It should either be an 8" or a 10" knife. The blade should be 1.5"-2" thick from top to bottom. It should have a smooth blade, not serrated. Hold the knife in one hand, and the vegetable in the other. Make sure you hold the vegetable with your finger tips, but bend your hand so that the knuckles is closest to the knife blade, not your finger tips. That gives you a good grip on the food without putting the fingertips under the blade, and the knuckles are high enough off the food that you should use them as a guide. Hold the cutting spot of the knife against your knuckles and use them as a cutting guide. With each slice, slide your fingertips away from the blade just enough to make the next slice uniform with the 1st. Alton Brown on FoodTV gives a very good video lesson on knife use. Until I got my 1st chef's knife (I have both the 8" & the 10", and I use them differently, depending on the size of what I am chopping), chopping vegetables was a horrible experience trying to use a carving knife - it was a long, slow, tedius, dangerous process.

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    As a "professional" chef for over 10 years. I have to disagree with your statement of "smooth blade, not serrated". As far as Vegetable preparation goes every chef I've ever worked with including myself swear by one knife, and one knife only, for just about all veg prep' and that is the Victorinox Pastry Knife this -> victorinox.com/ch/product/Cutlery/Category/Household-knives/… not only does this knife make chopping vegetables easy as anything. Once you've sharpened the knife too much (a year or so) and all of the 'teeth' have been worn down .. – Doug Jan 27 '15 at 19:30
  • .. you are left with a perfectly smooth, easy to sharpen knife. The steel is quite soft so sharpening at home is easy, no need for a stone just a steel. Once the knife is worn down to the smooth blade it is also perfect for slicing meat (cooked and raw) or preparing fish. All of these reason are why every kitchen (In the UK at least) will have 4 of these for every one other knife. I think a ratio of 4:1 pretty much says it all. – Doug Jan 27 '15 at 19:34

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