I love my mandoline slicer. Well, my mandoline slicer is fairly basic and isn’t that high quality but I love the idea of one and what it can do in such a short period of time. This is a time-saving kitchen gadget that is definitely worth the investment for anyone wanting to make fun slaws and vegetable noodles but without the time to do all that precision chopping by hand. I have this Oxo mandoline slicer, but if I could do it again, I would go for a higher end one like this Bron one or this Jaccard one (this Jaccard one is on sale right now off amazon and is a very good deal!).
A mandoline slicer can slice different thicknesses uniformly and quickly. I use this function for slicing cucumbers for cucumber salads, carrots for roasted carrots (I still love the recipe from Eat Like a Dinosaur) and for shredding cabbage for making homemade sauerkraut. But where a mandoline saves the most time is in its ability to julienne. A thick julienne is useful for doing something like sweet potato fries or even chopping vegetables more uniformly for a soup, casserole or stir fry. A thin julienne is very useful for making vegetable noodles. Carrots, zucchini (and other summer squash), sweet potato, and broccoli stems all make wonderful noodle substitutes when julienned into long strips (you can also slice thin and then cut a little wider for more of a linguini-type noodle). It’s also useful for julienning beets, carrots, apples, and other similar hard fruits and vegetables for slaws and salads.
A mandoline slicer is not an essential tool (it is just a knife substitute after all), but it can turn a 20 minute job into a 3 minutes job and that can make all the difference for me.