How to Make a Veggie Party Platter

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Visit your local farmers market for fresh, organic produce in season.
Visit your local farmers market for fresh, organic produce in season. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A raw vegetable platter is always a hit at parties. Crisp, seasonal veggies can add color and flavor to a table, and heath conscious guests will appreciate the tasty, guilt-free offering. Served with rich dressings or dips, though, and even the most health-resistant person will be tempted to nibble. A homemade vegetable platter can have twice the offerings a store-bought packaged platter does for the same price, and by picking each vegetable yourself you can ensure it is at the peak of freshness.

Things You'll Need

  • Selection of fresh vegetables
  • Colander
  • Rag
  • Cleansing spray
  • Cutting board
  • Large platter
  • Dip bowl (optional)
  • Bowl or can for garbage
  • Sharp knife
  • vegetable peeler
  • Dip (optional)

Wash all your vegetables ahead of time and let them drain in a colander until dry. Clean your counter well and put a bowl or can near your cutting board for discarded peels and seeds. Place a large platter or tray near you so that you can arrange the vegetables as you cut them. Set a dip bowl in the center of the platter if you are using a dip.

Choose bell peppers with vibrant colors, such as red, yellow or orange. They are riper, and therefore tenderer, than green bell peppers. Turn bell peppers stem side-down on the cutting board and cut it in half. Cut off the stems and remove the seeds. Slice peppers lengthwise into 1/4- to 1/3-inch strips.

Lay the peppers on the platter, piling them so they are all lined up in the same direction. If you have more than one color pepper, separate them into different colored piles. If it’s a round platter, the vegetables should be radiating outward from the center or dip bowl. If it’s a rectangular or square platter, you can line them up in rows from left to right, working around the dip bowl when you come to it.

Peel vegetables such as cucumbers and zucchini. Cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Turn them so the flat side is down and cut them into 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut the strips in half crosswise to make the pieces a more manageable length. Arrange them on the tray along-side the colorful peppers.

Slice the florets off of a bunch of broccoli. You can use a head of cauliflower if you prefer, or use both for color variation. Pile them, floret side-up, on the tray.

Trim the top and bottom edges off celery stalks and cut them into 3-inch long pieces. If the celery stalks are very wide, you can slice them in half lengthwise. Line them up next to a more colorful vegetable.

Trim the top and bottom edges off celery stalks and cut them into 3-inch long pieces. If the celery stalks are very wide, you can slice them in half lengthwise. Line them up next to a more colorful vegetable.

Pile cherry tomatoes, sugar pea pods and peeled baby carrots in rows on the tray. Add a row of crackers or quartered pita bread.

Prepare your favorite vegetable dip, or open a ready-made package. Stir it and scoop it into the center bowl. Some good options are garlic and chives flavored cream cheese, sour cream and onion dip, hummus, blue cheese or ranch dressing. Cover the tray with plastic wrap tightly and keep refrigerated until the party starts.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prepare the vegetable platter the night before the party to save time. Add the crackers or bread at the last minute.
  • Alternate green vegetables with vegetables of other colors to make your tray look festive.

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