The handheld Japanese mandoline might just be the most underrated tool in your kitchen. It's lighter and less expensive than a French mandoline and turns raw vegetables into paper-thin wisps. The upshot: You can enjoy produce you'd normally blanch, roast, or saute (zucchini, for example) in its purest state. The dishes seen here -- all of which are low in fat and calories and can be prepared in less than 30 minutes -- center on these light-as-air, nearly translucent slices. Use these ideas as a starting point, but feel free to improvise. Start with a favorite shavable vegetable, such as cucumber or onion, drizzle on some dressing, and add a fresh herb.
What makes these salads satisfying meals is their balanced textures and flavors. The firm crunch of carrot is paired with soft avocado. The spicy bite of radish is tempered with sweet honeydew. Take advantage of summer’s bounty: These no-oven-required recipes -- and your new favorite slicer -- will see you straight through until fall.
Slicing safely: When shaving with a mandoline, the trick is to use the protective guard at the right time. As the piece of produce gets smaller and your fingers draw nearer the blade, firmly press the teeth of the guard into the vegetable, making sure it’s secure. Keep a good grip on the mandoline at all times.
Learn more about mandoline technique and get safety tips in our video on How to Use a Japanese Mandoline.