Basic Cuts of Vegetables

by Beth Richards

Vegetable dices are little cubes of veggies cut into different sizes.

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Cut vegetables serve as fast finger food or delicious additions to recipes including pasta, salads, soups, stir-fry and many other quick-fix meals. Additionally, differently sized vegetable pieces add varying flavors and textures to your dishes. Understanding a few simple vegetable cuts helps you to get the right size and amount of vegetables for your recipes.

Chopping Vegetables

A basic cut for vegetables is chopping, which is a cut that creates coarse, medium or fine irregular pieces. Minced vegetables are the smallest form of chopped vegetables, and are composed of tiny, irregularly shaped pieces. Minced vegetables add flavor to dishes while bigger pieces add texture as well.

Slicing and Dicing

Sliced vegetables are those that are cut into thin, flat, uniform pieces. Dicing involves cutting vegetables into small uniform cubes that are 1/8 inch to 3/4 inch in size. The smallest style of dice is called "brunoise." Diced vegetables are also categorized as small, medium and large, according to the Utah State University Extension. A small diced vegetable is 1/4 inch cubed, medium is 1/2 inch cubed and large involves a vegetable cube that is about 3/4 inch.

Paring and Peeling

Paring and peeling are basic cuts that refer to removing the skin of vegetables and are often used interchangeably. Paring is done with a knife to remove the thick skins of vegetables like cucumbers. A vegetable peeler takes off the thin skin of vegetables like potatoes or carrots.

Basic But Sounds Fancy

Vegetables are sometimes cut with a technique called "julienne," which means to cut into thin strips that are around 2 inches in length, or about the size of matchsticks. "Chiffonade" is another term for cutting vegetables into thin strips; however, it most often relates to the cutting of leafy items, like lettuce or herbs, into small thin pieces.

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About the Author

Beth Richards, a freelance writer since 2002, writes about health and draws from her 25 years as a licensed dispensing optician. She has authored several books, writes for national magazines including "Country Living" and "Organic Family" and is a health and wellness features writer for several publications. She is earning a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland.