How To Make A Killer Vegetable Platter
At the peak of fruit season, Maxine wrote a great post on How To Make A Fruit Platter. Now that vegetables are in bloom, it’s time we gave out some tips for a killer vegetable platter. After all, there is virtually no gathering where a vegetable platter wouldn’t be appropriate. Having family over for the holidays? Serve a vegetable tray to start! Entertaining friends at a barbecue? A vegetable platter would make a great appetizer! Watching the game? Ah, I think you get the point.
While you might find it easy to pick up a pre-made veggie platter from your nearest grocery store, it’s just as easy to make your own. Not to mention, homemade vegetable trays can look much nicer than those pre-packaged plastic containers. All you need is a nice looking plate, a knife, a cutting board, fresh vegetables, and the following tips.
Color is King
First thing’s first: plan out your colors. While many vegetables are green, there are certainly more colorful options that must be included in your platter like: carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, or cauliflower.
What’s great about bell peppers is they come in many colors (red, orange, yellow, green) so you can always decide which bell pepper color to use last. I chose to use red and yelllow since I wouldn’t obtain these colors from the other vegetables I had. But, if I wanted more options in my veggie platter, I could substitute tomatoes for my red peppers to keep the red color.
Choose The Right Amount
The amount of vegetables you use is going to depend on the amount of people you are serving as well as the size of the platter you have. You never want your platter to look empty, even if you don’t have very many people so it’s important to take size into consideration. Placing your unchopped veggies onto your platter first is a good indicator of what will fit.
Not A Wishy Wash
Every veggie needs a good rinse, both before and after chopping. Pay specific attention to the parts that you’ll be serving on your vegetable tray. For example, the long ends of the broccoli stalks are most likely going to wind up in the trash; pay attention to the tops of the broccoli florets instead.
Chop ‘Til You Drop
Well, not quite. Many vegetables like baby carrots, pea pods or cherry tomatoes actually come ready to serve; no chopping required! But, for the rest of your veggies, you’ll want to prep and chop before you begin arranging your platter.
I chopped my broccoli into florets, my peppers into strips and my celery into stalks. Each vegetable is fairly easy to chop but here are some instructional articles for each: How to cut a pepper, How to cut broccoli, How to chop celery.
It’s a good idea to rinse your veggies again after you chop to make sure each little veggie is free of dirt. A good way to do this is by placing your chopped veggies into a strainer instead of one by one.
Keep Shapes Consistent
Keep in mind that when you arrange your platter, you’ll want your sections to look even. An easy way to keep sections consistent is to cut all your vegetables the same way. That way you can see off the bat if you’re using the same amount. Obviously, broccoli florets are going to vary greatly from pepper strips but whenever you can, try and create the same shape with each vegetable.
Arrange Your Platter
It was no coincidence that I chose to use three green vegetables (pea pods, broccoli and celery) and three non-green vegetables. This allowed me to switch off green and non-green as I layered my veggies around the circle. Switching off colors makes all the difference! If your vegetables are chopped similarly, make sure to line them up similarly as well. My celery stalks, carrots, pea pods and pepper strips all faced vertically to the center of my dish.
Make Your Own Dip
Nothing defeats the purpose of a homemade veggie platter like a grocery store dip smushed right into the center. At the very least, pour the dip into your own bowl if you must. But, unless you’re short on time, there’s no reason not to attempt your own veggie dip. Yogurt makes a healthy dip base. I made a cucumber dill yogurt dip.
Making a fruit platter?
Click here for fruit platter tips and pictures!