By definition, to shred means to push food across or through a shredding surface to make long, narrow strips. To finely shred means to make long, thin strips. Most vegetables can be shredded with a box grater, a hand grater, or a food processor; however, cabbage, lettuce, and other leafy greens can be easily shredded with a knife. We'll show you the best ways to get the job done.
When to Shred Vegetables
Here are some of the most common ways in which shredded vegetables are used in recipes:
Either will work, but each has its advantages. While the box grater offers more functions, the plane grater takes up less room in your kitchen and can be easily tucked into a drawer.
Here's how to shred carrots, other root vegetables, and cucumbers, asparagus, summer squash, and other nonleafy vegetables:
Tip: As the vegetable you're grating becomes smaller, it's easy to shred skin from your fingertips or knuckles if they get too close to the shredding surface. Once the vegetable has been shredded down to a small piece, cut this remaining piece by hand into small strips using a sharp knife. This will help you avoid cutting your fingers on the grater. You can also buy a shredding glove to protect your hand.
Try shredded carrots in our Best-Loved Carrot Cake recipe.
TIP: How to shred potatoes: Shred as indicated above. However, we recommend using a box grater for peeling potatoes, as the larger utensil makes it easier to manage large vegetables.
Use shredded potatoes in our Perfect Hash Browns recipe.
TIP: How Do You Shred Zucchini for Zucchini Bread?: Shred zucchini as you would any non-leafy vegetable, as indicated above. Note that you don’t have to peel it unless otherwise indicated in your recipe.
Get our Zucchini Bread recipe here.
Leave your grater in the drawer! The best way to shred cabbage and iceberg lettuce—round vegetables with tightly packed leaves—is with a chefs knife. Here’s how to shred cabbage and iceberg lettuce the easy way.
Note: To shred cabbage heads that are not round, such as Napa cabbage and Savoy cabbage, see “How to Shred Lettuce & Other Leafy Greens,” below:
Use shredded cabbage in this recipe for Cabbage and Carrot Salad with Peanut Sauce.
You don’t need a grater to shred leafy greens. Here’s how to shred lettuces that have loose (rather than tightly packed) leaves; these include romaine, butterhead, red-leaf lettuce, and green-leaf lettuce.
These instructions also apply to other leafy greens, such as napa cabbage, Savoy cabbage, Swiss chard, escarole, kale, turnip greens, and other sturdy leafy greens:
You can also use a food processor fitted with a shredding blade to shred vegetables. Follow the directions given by the manufacturer. We do not recommend shredding vegetables in a blender, as blenders chop the food into short, small, uneven pieces rather than shredding them into long, narrow, uniform strips.
Carrots, cabbage, and other greens are often used by the cupful in recipes. Here's a guide to how much of each you'll need for each cup: