Food processors are great for a million things, including tearing vegetables to shreds. If you’re jonesing for a coleslaw, you should consider using your food processor to rapidly shred your cabbage. But how exactly are you supposed to shred cabbage in a food processor?
To shred cabbage in a food processor with the standard knife attachment, cut your cabbages into eights before placing them inside the food processor’s bowl. Now, pulse the cabbage for 20 seconds at two-second intervals until the cabbage is as finely shredded as you wanted. Alternatively, you can use a slicing disc.
In today’s guide, I’ll describe what a slicing disc is, how it can be used to shred cabbage, and what other attachments you can use for breaking cabbage into tiny strips.
Can a Food Processor Shred Cabbage?
Food processors are electric kitchen appliances that are used to break down large ingredients into smaller bits. It’s pretty much a direct replacement for kitchen knives, but it eliminates the need to improve your cutting, dicing, chopping, julienning, and shredding skills. Simply drop your ingredients in the food processor’s bowl, press the pulse button, and voila—instantly chopped veggies!
But can you use a food processor to shred cabbage? Absolutely! A food processor’s blades can rip through all 400 varieties of cabbage without breaking a sweat, and the best part is that they will do it in record time.
So, whether you want shredded cabbage for tacos, burritos, coleslaw, or sauerkraut, you should know that a food processor can make easy work out of the tearing heads of cabbage into shreds.
How to Shred Cabbage in a Food Processor
Using a food processor is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is drop your ingredients inside the food processor bowl and press the pulse button for a few seconds at a time. With minimal effort, your food ingredients will be broken down into tiny bits that are ready for further processing.
The same principle applies to cabbage. However, stuffing a huge head of cabbage inside a food processor, even a 14-cup model, can be impossible. That is why you need to pre-cut the cabbage into quarters or eighths before plopping them inside the food processor.
There are multiple food processor attachments you can use to shred the cabbage. I’ll explain what they are and how they work down below.
Standard Knife Attachment
Every food processor comes with a knife attachment. It comes with multiple blades that are arranged around a plastic core. When you press the on or pulse button, the blades will rotate and pulverize almost any kind of food item you place inside the food processor.
Some food processors come with or are compatible with knife attachments with multi-tiered blades. You will find blades up and down the plastic core, which tears through soft ingredients, like cabbage, easily and efficiently. If you want finely shredded cabbage strips, look for a knife attachment with more blades, or you can hold the pulse button down for longer.
Disc attachments are vastly different from knife attachments. They usually come with a single blade that is fixed to a disc-like object that sits directly underneath the food processor’s lid. When you press the start or pulse button, the disc will rotate at high speeds and chop ingredients that come from above.
The food processor’s lid will come with a feed chute, which you use to drop food into the bowl. There is also a stick tool you use to push the ingredient down into the disc. As the sliced ingredients fall into the bowl, they will not come into contact with additional blades, leaving them intact as strips.
One of the greatest advantages of a shredding disc is that you can adjust the thickness of the cut. So, if you want thicker strands of cabbage for coleslaw or thinner strands for kimchi, simply adjust the thickness setting of the shredding disc before installing it in the food processor.
A julienning disc works exactly like a shredding disc. It is situated on top of the food processor bowl and under the lid, and you use it by dropping food through the feed chute.
However, there is a significant difference between shredding and julienning. Julienning produces matchstick-like strips, whereas shredding can produce long strands. When working with cabbages, nearly all types will end up as short strips when using a julienning or shredding disc in a food processor.
Do I Need to Cut the Cabbage Before Putting It Inside a Food Processor?
Yes, you do.
The most common types of shredded cabbage—green, red, Napa, etc.—come in large heads that are round or oblong in shape. Placing a whole cabbage inside a food processor isn’t just dangerous, but it also adds extra strain to the motor. The larger the ingredient is, the more the motor will have to work to break it down into tiny chunks.
So, before placing cabbage at the bottom of a food processor bowl or feeding it through the chute, you should cut them down to quarters or eighths, depending on the size of your food processor. Remember—if you’re shredding a humungous head of cabbage, make sure to shred it in batches. Also, make sure to remove the fibrous stem section of the cabbage since that, too, can cause unnecessary wear and tear to the food processor’s motor and blades.
Can I Shred Cabbage in a Blender?
While it’s possible, it’s not recommended.
A blender works similarly to a food processor. However, because of the design of the blades, blenders will attempt to liquify whatever you place inside the pitcher or jar. Even if you don’t add a liquid base to the pitcher, the blades will pulverize cabbage to a fine mush.
That said, if you’re in a pinch, you can most certainly try shredding cabbage in a blender. Just keep your finger on the pulse button and make sure to scrape down the sides and redistribute the shredded cabbage frequently. Also, you should do it in even tinier batches than a food processor.
Will a Grater Shred Cabbage?
Yes, it will, but make sure to use the correct side.
Box graters come with four sides—a slicing side, a grating side, a fine-grating side, and a shredding side. For the most part, you can use the slicing and shredding sides to break cabbage heads into fine strips for coleslaw and kimchi.
However, if your goal is to make sauerkraut, you might want to consider using the grating side, which is the side with large blades that are usually used for grating cheese. If you mess up and use the fine-grating side, you might end up with cabbage juice and cabbage pulp, and that doesn’t sound very appetizing.
What If I Don’t Have a Food Processor?
Well, you’re in luck. As long as you have working hands and a chef’s knife, you can shred cabbage without electric kitchen appliances.
To shred a head of cabbage for coleslaw or cooking, stand the cabbage head on its rood end and slice it in half or in quarters. Now, remove the fibrous stem by making diagonal cuts into the cabbage sections.
After removing the stem, place the cabbage sections with their cut-side down and begin making parallel vertical cuts. They can be as thin or as thick as you want—something that requires extra steps when using a food processor. When the base becomes unstable, rotate the cabbage section to its flatter side and continue cutting.
When the entire head of cabbage is thoroughly sliced, transfer the strips into a bowl. Now, lift and drop the shreds to separate the individual strands. That way, each strand will get a little bit of seasoning.