Friday, March 18, 2016

Chopped Salad and the Chopper that Works Best

UPDATED:  Lately there's been a lot of interest in chopped salad, and perhaps this has been made more popular since Subway restaurants have begun doing it as you watch. As we happen to have a friend that owns a Subway shop we asked about the chopper they use, as many of our friends seem to want one. Don't we all love chopped salads?  Why not just use a knife, you ask?  Because if you've used a knife to make a chopped salad on a flat chopping board, you know the salad goes all over the place. You want to chop the salad in a bowl to contain the ingredients as you chop them.
Norpro 578 Stainless Steel Mezzuluna Chopper
Subway previously used a double-bladed mezzuluna chopper like the one above. But even at Subway, this didn't work perfectly. The staff reported that certain foods get stuck between the double blades or the food works it's way up through the channel between the blades and presses against your fingers, which requires you to stop and clear the channel. And keep in mind, Subway is chopping lettuce that is already pretty finely cut for use on sandwiches. So if you want to avoid this problem, use instead my preferred device.

Amco Stainless Steel with Silicone Handle Mezzaluna
The single blade Amco mezzaluna (shown above) simply works better. No channel for salad to get stuck between. Plenty of room between the handle and the top of the blade to keep your hands out of the salad. A strong, sturdy blade ideal for use in a a rounded bowl. Chops salad perfectly every time with less effort than the double bladed variety.

To be certain my experience was unique, I consulted the Amazon reviews and found many comments the same as mine. Ratings mirror my recommendation. So if you want to make chopped salad and want to do it in a bowl, use the single blade mezzaluna.

However, Subway subsequently switched their chopped salad method to a double-bladed pizza wheel style chopper (shown below) and available on Amazon. I tested this and it works relatively well if you have already shredded lettuce, they way they do at Subway. But it's much more likely your home lettuce is not shredded and only at best hand torn when it enters the bowl. As such, I still found the single bladed mezzaluna noted above to be the best option for chopping consistently sized lettuce and other items for your salad.


But what about the bowl? A cutting board is a sure-fire way to make a mess. The chopping bowl at Subway is a heavy resin material, not at all like the thin plastic one pictured above. The set that comes together above seemed to work pretty well because the chopping device isn't that hard on the surface. I feel however that if you really worked the bowl over with a mezzaluna, you'd have the bowl cracked pretty easily. I did not attempt this. Rather I have a wooden bowl that I use for chopping salads, herbs and other items to be sure that they remain in the bowl as I chop with the mezzaluna.

Amazon sells the bowl and mezzaluna together.
The above bowl, which I also purchased on Amazon, is a bit pricey because it's solid cherry wood, but does the job. Amazon sells a larger size as well.  If I could find one of the resin bowls used by Subway, I certainly would give that a try. The wood bowl requires a certain amount of care because it is a natural wood. It does get small scrapes from the knife, but so far has worked quite well. The bowl even doubles as a family salad bowl at table.

11 comments:

  1. Everybody wants to know where to get the heavy plastic bowl

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    1. I've updated the entry to include info on the bowls.

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    2. Thank you for the tips - just what I needed before I buy mine!!

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  2. The OXO Good Grips Salad Chopper & Bowl, sold at Bed, Bath, & Beyond (for $24.99) HAS the bowl you're seeking - heavy-duty resin. It comes with the double-wheel cutter that looks similar to a pizza cutter. So, if you're arthritis makes using the included pizza-like cutting wheel, you can buy the mezzaluna blade cutter you augment your purchase!

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  4. nice chopping instruments..can anyone please suggest me which Chopping Boardshould i use

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    1. You really can't chop a salad on a flat board. It goes all over the place. That's the reason we use a chopping bowl instead.

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  5. Where did you find the Amco Stainless Steel with Silicone Handle Mezzaluna?

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  6. I'm in love with a lightweight stainless steel bowl I found on amazon, easy to clean.

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    1. Stainless steel is pretty hard on a chopping blade, which is why I prefer wood or plastic.

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