How To Julienne Vegetables With A Mandolin
Becoming a great at-home chef is all about knowing what tools to use in which situations. If you’re working on a dish that requires a lot of chopped, cut, or, even worse, julienned veggies, you might be at a loss for how to get this done in a reasonable time without losing your mind.
Thankfully, a mandoline is a very handy tool for julienning vegetables. While it is very possible to learn how to quickly julienne with a knife, using a mandoline is a great way for beginner cooks and those with basic knife skills to get the job done more quickly.
Let’s start learning how to julienne vegetables with a mandoline like yours!
What Is A Mandoline, and What Is It Used For?
Before you learn the specifics of using a mandoline for a specific technique, it is important to learn about the tool itself.
A mandoline is a slanted cutting board type object that has the blade inside of the tool. By pushing various food items on it at an angle, you will be able to cut it in the pattern or shape that you want to cut it into.
A mandoline is typically used for some of the following food preparations:
- Cutting food into chunks
- Slicing food into thin pieces
- Preparing specific shapes like french fries or waffle fries
- Shredding cheese or cabbage very quickly
There are dozens of other ways that a mandoline can come in handy as well. The key is that it can help you to make precise cuts that are uniform and simple to complete.
What Is A Julienne Cut?
Since the cut you will be learning to make with your mandoline today is a more advanced technique, it’s important that you also know what a julienne cut is before we get into the lesson.
The julienne cut, also known as allumette or French cut, is when food is cut into long, thin strips. These strips often resemble french fries or matchsticks. Commonly, foods like cucumbers and carrots are julienned.
When cutting with a knife, this is the basic julienne technique:
How To Julienne Vegetables With A Mandolin
Now that we’ve learned about both the mandoline and how to julienne, it’s time to combine these two things!
There are two different techniques that you can follow to julienne with a mandoline. Technique #1 is good if you have a mandoline which has an interchangeable blade which can be replaced with a julienne blade. Technique #2 is good if you have a very simple, single blade mandoline.
Cutting vegetables into julienne strips is easy if you have a mandoline which you can change the blade plate on.
All you have to do is select the julienne blade with the width that you want. You can choose anything from ⅛ inch to ½ inch. Attach this blade to your mandoline. Then, adjust the thickness of the cut on the mandoline itself.
Then, get julienning! You’ll be able to cut many julienne sticks in no time at all.
Here’s a video that introduces this same process in a more visual learning way:
The idea of julienning vegetables with a mandoline in this technique is a bit misleading because you will use both a knife and a mandoline for this technique!
If you only have a simple mandoline, however, it’s still possible to julienne!
Use a mandoline to cut your vegetable or other food items into very thin pieces. They will likely be circular or oblong depending on the vegetable or fruit’s shape.
Once finished, stack these into a pile. Use a knife to cut down the pile and turn the food into julienned sticks. That’s it!
Here is a video that brings this process to life:
Mandolin Safety Tips
Using a mandoline or knife to julienne can be very dangerous if you aren’t being careful enough. There are a few things that you can do to make the whole process safer.
- Always use the mandoline pusher or shield attachment when possible. It protects your hands from getting close to the sharp blade
- Make sure to keep your fingers bent into your hand and cut against your knuckle when using a knife
- Always use a mandoline on a stable, flat surface
- Cut the end of any vegetable you are cutting so that it lies flat while being julienned
Julienne The Night Away!
Now that you know how to use a mandoline to julienne your vegetables, you can julienne anything you want, all day long! The technique is very easy, especially if you own a mandoline which has interchangeable blades.
No matter what technique you decide to use to julienne your vegetables or fruits, you’ll be sure to have nice uniform cuts that don’t take you all day to perfect. Good luck on your next cooking endeavor!