But here's the thing: One can only have so much kitchen space. You need space to, you know, cook. Here's a piece of insider cooking knowledge straight from Well+Good's senior food editor Jessie Van Amburg: A food processor is one appliance you don't necessarily need. She's obsessed with a gadget that's cheaper, smaller, and does the job just as well, the Kuhn Rikon Pull Chopper ($32).
Shop now: Kuhn Rikon Pull Chopper Manual Food Processor, $32
"My brother, who is an excellent cook and worked in food retail, gifted me this pull chopper six or seven years ago," Van Amburg says. "He described it as an affordable way to do some of the basic core functions of a food processor without taking up lots of counter space. And does it deliver."
Here's how it works: You cut your produce into chunks that are small enough to fit the manual food processor's chopper bowl. Then, secure the lid and pull the handle to spin the blades inside, which quickly dices or minces what's inside. "The more you pull, the more finely chopped your produce becomes," Van Amburg says. The whole process takes mere seconds from start to finish—just like using an electronic food processor. (You just get a bit of an arm workout in the process.)
It's not an exact replacement for a food processor, Van Amburg notes. It only has a two-cup capacity, so it's definitely smaller than most electronic models, and the blades aren't fine enough for it to be effective on single smaller items of produce, like garlic cloves. It also isn't ideal for making things like pesto that require emulsification. But it does an excellent job of making quick work out of mountains of vegetable chopping, at a super affordable price point.
"If you're a beginner cook looking to made some aspects of meal prep easier, this thing is a must-have," Van Amburg says. "It's been with me for years—and has survived three moves—and still works perfectly. And you can't argue with the price." Now there's more room left on your kitchen counter for something you really love, like actual food.
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