Photo: Jennifer Causey

This head-turning hack will breathe new life into fresh salads in just a few seconds.

July 31, 2017

I’m not afraid to admit that my grandmother talked me right into purchasing one of those little hand-operated food choppers that many of you probably scoff at from time to time.

What self-respecting cook would forego the precision of a finely maintained blade for a contraption that carries an air of laziness and was likely found in the clearance bin?

There’s a single use for the gadget that definitely validates the $10 or so you spend purchasing it – the hand-chopper is key to mincing your lettuce without breaking a sweat.

While you might think miniscule pieces of lettuce wouldn't be something to fawn over, it’s a transformative way to shake up the way you eat salads, and even professional chefs have long been luring diners in with this simple technique.

Finely chopped salads are rarely served outside of restaurants, but classic dishes like the California Cobb Salad were invented with the idea that heartier lettuces could be enjoyed in a smaller cut. Leafy romaine and crunchy iceberg are the perfect vessel to be chopped, pre-dressed, and stored for later. It’s almost like you’re “marinating” your lettuce for a perfect lunch the next day, and heartier lettuces won’t get soggy, either.

Chefs and home cooks alike have long been dealing with the issue of unevenly dressed salad – finely chopped lettuce answers that issue with ease. You can fully enjoy proteins and a wide range of fresh vegetables alongside a smaller cut of lettuce, too. No more liquids dripping on your shirt or using a knife; it’s a breeze to simply scoop up small bites of chopped lettuce with just your fork.

City-dwellers have long resorted to waiting in lines at places like Chopt to enjoy this delicious take on a simple meal. But the secret to making this at home lies in the often ridiculed hand-chopper. Don’t take my word for it – if you don’t already have a hand-chopper in your kitchen arsenal, conveniently order this one, and then try your hand at these exquisite salads for your next lunch or dinner. Your eyes are going to open up to a whole new world and you’ll finally stop kidding yourself into believing that kitchen gadgets aren’t worth the hype.  

1) Veggie Salad In A Jar

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

This could hold up in the fridge for a couple of days and still be the best lunch you'll have this week.

2) Black and Bleu Steak Salad

 Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

A spin on the classic black and bleu salad could be finely chopped iceberg lettuce alongside a gorgeous cut of steak.

3) Kale, Apple and Almond Chicken Salad

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

All of these flavors make for the perfect bite, which you can be sure you'll have if you mince your ingredients.