How to Chop + Prep Vegetables Quickly - Cook Like a Pro Series [2/6]

Are you ready, Ninja?!

You can prep all this:

IN LESS THAN 2.5 MINUTES.

(I’ll show you how)

It’s GO time Herbies!

Don’t chop like a chump ;)

Chopping your veggies can be easy and painless -- it all starts with holding the knife correctly.

RULE #1: Make sure you’re holding your knife right… BY THE BLADE.

Start by pinching the blade where it connects to the handle with your thumb and index finger. Some chefs pinch with the middle finger, too. {Either way works.}

Your other fingers slip up behind the vertical part of the blade that connects to the handle, then lightly wrap around the handle.

YOUR GRIP IS ON THE BLADE. The rest is just for support.

Don’t grip too tightly (it creates tension) be nice and loose -- cooking is a casual but intimate relationship. You wouldn’t death grip a lover’s hand would you? ;)

Mincing Garlic (20 seconds)

Use the blade of your knife to flatten your garlic clove. Then chop slices, and mince.

Also check out this video on how to peel an entire head of garlic in less than 10 seconds.

Dicing Onion (1 minute)

The natural rings of the onion make dicing onions easy and effortless.

Chopping Carrots (20 seconds)

I have two favorite ways to slice carrots. In “rounds” is the easiest, but the diagnoal looks a bit prettier and also cooks faster.

Slicing Bell Peppers (40 seconds)

I just picked up this great new roll-and-flow technique! SO FAST!

Lettuce (3 seconds)

Saveur has a great tip for removing the hard core in lettuce…smash it.

Practice makes perfect.

Quick chopping is mostly about comfort. Once you’re comfortable with your knife, you’ll quickly master your skill and increase your speed.

There are other hacks and techniques, but it really comes down to your comfort.

Batch cooking has done wonders for my knife skills.

For the past two years I’ve been cooking the majority of our meals ahead on Sunday. Using the meal plans it takes me 1-2 hours. (You catch watch me cook 7 meals in 1 hour here.)

All that prep forces me to chop, chop, chop -- over and over.

It’s a little like your own self-imposed, mini culinary school and Top Chef quickfire challenge.

The more you do it, the better you’ll be.

Buying pre-minced garlic and chopped vegetables is always an option, though a more expensive one. (I also think pre-minced garlic is inferior in terms of taste) and you can buy all kinds of gizmos like a food processor ($126), a mini food processor ($39), a garlic press ($9.52), or an onion wizard ($19.48).

but I find I’m much faster by hand (and it involves a lot less cleanup)

It was well worth the learning curve for me -- and learning how to hold my knife (and buying a good knife) was the real game changer.

If you practice regularly (say once a week batch cooking for an hour or so) you’ll be a Ninja within 6 weeks -- maybe less.

Don’t Chop Like a Chump ;)