Building A Beautiful Vegetable Crudite Platter

Confession: I have a slight obsession with cheese boards.  From designing them to serving them to eating them, cheese boards make me very happy…especially when paired with a delicious bottle of wine.  But I’ve been doing a lot of them lately, and decided to try my hand at something new.

Not only are vegetable crudité platters a very healthy option to serve at a party, they can also be edible art.  What better way to wow your guests than a beautifully crafted, colorful spread to be nibbled and munched at, guilt-free?  Added bonus?  Super easy!

Veggie Crudite
One of my recent creations. Attractive, delicious, and healthy!

A successful crudité platter requires 2 key elements:

  • Fresh veggies
  • Tasty dips

You can always throw on some extra goodies, such as crackers, pita chips, Greek dolma, dried fruit, nuts, even (of course) cheese!  I think a herby chevre is a great option in this case as it can be spread on crackers and topped with veggies.

For the veggies: think “color” and “fresh.”  You probably want at least 1 selection from several color groups.  Then just go to the market and purchase whatever looks the brightest and freshest.  Here are some options:

  • Green: cucumber, celery, sugar snap peas, asparagus, broccoli
  • Red: cherry tomatoes, red pepper
  • Yellow: yellow carrots, yellow pepper
  • Orange: orange carrots, orange pepper
  • Purple: purple carrots, radish (watermelon radishes are especially lovely), red Belgian endive
  • White: cauliflower, endive, fennel, jicama

For the dips: you could whip up some Green Goddess dressing from scratch…or you could make life easy and hit up your local Trader Joe’s.  With an impressive array of colorful hummus options, you can take care of this part in a snap.  I recommend selecting 2-3 different color hummus options for your crudité platter.  Some examples:

  • Trader Joe’s Beet Hummus (purple)
  • Trader Joe’s Edamame Hummus (green)
  • Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Hummus (orange)
  • Trader Joe’s Eggplant Hummus (tan)
  • Trader Joe’s Original Hummus (tan)

Now, some tips for assembling your platter:

  • I use a mandolin set at the thickest slice setting for things like cucumbers, fennel, radishes, and carrots. You get a uniform slice and it gets done fast.
20150116-mandoline-slicers-vicky-wasik-4
Mandolin slicer. I suggest setting it to the thickest slice for veggie crudités.
  • You can add some extra flavor to veggies like broccoli or asparagus by doing a quick sautee: toss the veggies in olive oil, salt, and pepper and sautee for 1-2 minutes so they are still crisp but slightly cooked.
  • To take your dips from basic to “wow!” you can do some simple garnishes. Top Beet Hummus and Edamame hummus with lemon zest.  Top Tomato Basil hummus with a few Trader Joe’s sundried tomatoes and some shredded basil.  Top Eggplant Hummus or Original Hummus with some fancy olive oil and pine nuts.

Now just place your dips on the board and arrange the veggies around them.  Add in your extras and serve!

 

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