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how to chop an onion

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If there is one basic ingredient at the heart of almost every savory dish, it is the mighty onion. However, you can’t unleash the power of this aromatic root vegetable as the base of a recipe unless you know how to chop it properly. Here is a quick primer on chopping an onion (watch the video at the end, too).

1. Start with a clean cutting board and a sharp 5- to 7-inch chef’s knife.

2. Cut the stem (pointy) end off the onion.

3. Slice lengthwise through the onion, dividing the root end in half.

4. Peel the papery skin off the half you’ll be cutting.

5. Place the onion flat-side down on the cutting board with the root end facing away from you.

6. Start at one side of the onion, and slice into it with the knife tip gliding toward the stem end. Create slices at about 1/4- to 1/8-inch intervals until you get to the other side of the onion. Be careful not to slice through the root end. The root will serve to hold everything together as you slice.

7. Turn the onion sideways on your board. Tuck fingers and thumb inward and begin slicing in the opposite direction to your original cuts, again making 1/4- to 1/8-inch slices, to fit your recipe. You’ll see a beautiful uniform dice coming away from the onion.

8. When you get to the end, discard the stem end and then chop the other half, if needed for your recipe.

Buy a bag of onions and practice (you can freeze the chopped onions or use them in recipes all week). The skill will be yours for life once you master it!

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Sandy Todd Webster

For 22 years, Sandy Todd Webster was the chief architect of IDEA's content program - including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS - the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. She created, launched and nurtured these brands and many others during her productive and purposeful IDEA tenure. Sandy is a Rouxbe-certified professional plant-based cook and a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach who is pursuing a Master's degree in Sustainable Food Systems through The Culinary Institute of America (expected August 2024). She plans to combine these passions with her content expertise to continue inspiring others to make the world a more just, healthy and regenerative place.

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