Veggie platters done right can be the center of any party spread. Here are some of the best tips and tricks for making a vegetable tray people actually want to eat!
Ideas for Veggie Tray
You’ve got company coming over; you’re going to a potluck; you’re hosting a brunch or formal dinner.
For all these occasions, a vegetable platter, or veggie tray, is a great side dish. While you can rely on whatever tray the grocery store has, knowing how to make a veggie tray is a useful and surprisingly simple skill.
These are also referred to as Crudité trays – which is basically the French term for this simple appetizer that is perfect for the buffet table.
Vegetable Tray Ideas
Why make your own platter?
Cheaper: making your own platter is cheaper than what you can get at the store, and you’re not left with a plastic tray you’ll toss at the end of the night.
Fresher: grocery store platters are made in advance, and sit out waiting to be purchased. Making your own ensures that your ingredients are fresh, appealing, and tasty.
Better looking: a store-bought platter is often a few days old and looks it. A nice vegetable platter can be a focal point or attractive addition to a spread, making it all look more inviting and appetizing.
Tastier: fresh vegetables taste better. And, when you make your own platter, you can cater to your group, whether it’s a simple platter for kids, or more elaborate for an adult event or dinner.
Better suits your needs: a platter from the store has basic vegetables that don’t go bad, but they don’t include a variety that will appeal to different tastes or ages, or size or type of event you’re making it for.
How to Make the Best Veggie Tray
Vegetable platters are not difficult to assemble – but they do take a little of planning to make it appropriate for the audience it’s being served to.
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Plan the platter—Big group? Small dinner? Lots of kids? Adventurous eaters? Cater to their tastes as you plan the platter.
Mix in a variety of color, flavor and texture, and consider your budget as you go along.
Veggies such as carrots, celery, and cucumbers are crowd-pleasers and easy on the wallet, while peppers, tomatoes, and jicama are fun for more adventurous eaters or when you want to go all out.
The most important thing is to select finger-food friendly vegetables that are easy to eat.
What dish to use? You don’t need to buy a crystal platter to serve vegetables at your next dinner party.
Use what you have; a serving plate, a chip and dish set, or even a dinner plate for a smaller group.
Just make sure that you include enough food for the group, about a half cup per person, about one handful of veggies per person. However you put it together, make sure it highlights all the vegetables – you don’t want anything hidden!
Here is a great veggie Tupperware tray that is inexpensive and even comes with a lid. It’s only $10!
To dip or not to dip? There are lots of recipes for good dips, but it’s just as easy and often cheaper (since you don’t have to buy the fresh herbs and spices).
Just make sure you buy a dip and not a dressing; dip is thicker, sticks easier to the veggies and won’t run all over the plate.
When to make it? You can prep the platter a day in advance, but keep things fresh by wrapping the platter tightly and refrigerating it until it’s time to eat. Thankfully, these are fairly quick to put together.
The size and shape of the vegetables for the platter should be roughly uniform in size, and be able to be eaten in two or three bites.
Pro tips: Blanch broccoli and cauliflower to bring out their vibrancy and make them easier to bite into.
Boil a pot of water, and add salt. Then add the prepared broccoli or cauliflower, and leave for 30-45 seconds, then immediately transfer them to an ice water bath to halt cooking.
English cucumbers are a little more expensive, but they don’t need to be peeled, they have better flavor and they aren’t as watery.
Don’t forget to include a serving utensil, such as tongs, and a spoon for the dip.
There’s no one way to put the food on the platter, but you can put the food in rows, rainbows, clusters and other patterns.
Great Veggies for the Platter
Here are some vegetables that are popular to put on the tray. Some are more traditional than others, but by offering a variety, you are sure to have something for everyone.
- Red bell peppers
- Orange bell peppers
- Yellow bell peppers
- Baby corn
- Cucumbers/English cucumbers
- Snap peas
- Olives, black or other colors
Veggie Dip Recipes