Year of Gadgets: Is this the greatest salad gadget of all time?

12:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 11, 2017 Austin360 Eats
If you make a lot of salads, you might consider getting a salad bowl cutter like this one. Several different companies make them, but they are available almost exclusively online for now. Contributed by Dan Broyles

I’m immersing myself in the strange world of kitchen tools/gadgets/appliances for our Year of Gadgets series. Since we’re just getting started, I wanted to share what might be the strangest (or greatest) salad gadget I’ve ever seen.

I was at my parents’ house in Missouri earlier this year when my mom eagerly pulled this gadget out of the cupboard. My dad had seen it online and ordered it on a whim for her birthday. (After 45 years of marriage, he knows what she really wants.)

It’s a plastic bowl with a lid, but the lid is actually a cutting surface. The bowl itself has more than a dozen openings that allow you to rinse off the produce and run a knife through the ingredients inside the bowl.

As advertised, it changed their salad game. I used it to make a salad one of the nights I was visiting, and it certainly made sense. You fill the bowl with the slits in it with the whole ingredients you want to use (tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, onions, lettuce, etc.), put the bottom on top to close it and then flip the closed bowl/dome over. Use a knife to slice through the narrow vertical openings. My mom showed me how to twist the bowl so you could make perpendicular cuts to whatever is inside that bowl.

Sure enough, the salad was evenly chopped and practically pre-tossed by the time we opened it. If you just want to make a small salad, it doesn’t work so well, but for a big dinner salad to serve three to six people, this gadget can’t be beat.

Promotional videos show that you can use it to make fruit salads, too, which seems like a huge time saver. You can also use it to cut cauliflower steaks, but the key to making the gadget work properly is filling up the bowl with whatever you are cutting. Small, loose ingredients, like just a few tomatoes or a small handful of salad ingredients, will move around while you slice through the openings. You can slice through a handful of cherry tomatoes that are in the bowl as long as there are spring greens to help hold them in place.

I don’t mind making small side salads the way I already do — grab a handful of lettuce, put in a bowl, sprinkle feta cheese and maybe some black olives or toasted nuts on top, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and serve — but if you’re making main-course salads a few nights a week, this gadget could really come in handy.

The salad cutter bowl costs about $15 and is available mostly online. Several different companies make slightly different versions of it, including one called O’Salata. Walmart has a knock-off available for $12, but skip the Oxo salad cutter with a double pizza slicer that you’ll find at Bed Bath and Beyond. You’ll never cut through a carrot with that roller, and you might hurt yourself trying.

What’s the most indispensable gadget in your kitchen? Have you tried this salad cutter? Do you find it as easy to use as the infomercials suggest?

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