How to Chop Stuff: Onions, Tomatoes, Avocados, and Leafy Herbs

I don’t mean to go all infomercial on you, but have you ever struggled to chop up an ingredient, only to find you’ve partially cut off the tip of your finger and/or mutilated a vegetable?

Everyone has their way of chopping vegetables and other ingredients, but chopping in a way that produces evenly sized shapes makes your food prep more efficient.

Before you start chopping, of course, you need to make sure that you have the right tools.

Investing in a good knife can save you from the frustration of sawing and sawing through an ingredient. It also helps you get a same size and shape all throughout the ingredient. Here are some knives that I use:

Of course, if you have an old standby knife at home that you like that you’re able to sharpen when needed, keep using it! Just keep in mind that cutting or chopping with a dull knife or the wrong type of knife can cause the blade to slip and can also cause your chopped pieces to be uneven.

Last thing before you start: make sure your ingredients, hands, and tools are clean!

Oh, and sorry about my gross cutting board. But ya know, real life. Okay now, chop away!

How to Chop an Onion

Before you start: remove the onion’s top layers by cutting off the stem (not the brownish hairy roots) and peeling until you come to a thick, white, red, or yellow layer, depending on the type of onion you’re using.

How to Deseed and Chop Tomatoes

Some people suggest squeezing the tomato halves to deseed them. That compromises the quality of the tomato by crushing the flesh, so I prefer to cut out the fleshy center containing the seeds.

How to Chop Avocados

For step 2, carefully remove the pit of the avocado using the spoon to scoop it out, or stick it with a knife, then slowly and carefully wiggle it back and forth until the pit slides out. You can remove the pit from the knife by pushing it off one side with a towel or smack the knife handle against a hard edge like your countertop or the edge of a bowl. Just be really careful when using the knife to do this!

How to Chop Leafy Herbs

Chopping leafy herbs was the bain of my cooking life until I figured out a way that worked for me. I first tried chopping them super fast like the chefs on cooking shows. That was useless. Then I tried just tearing them by hand. Blah. And then I saw a pair of herb scissors on Amazon. This kind of worked but I would end up with a bunch of tiny herb pieces, some long pieces, and some that refused to remove themselves from the scissor blades.

So here is how I chop cilantro, but I use this method to also chop other leafy guys like basil and mint.

Do you have a different way of chopping that you prefer? If you tried any of these methods, how did it go? I'd love to know!