It doesn’t matter if you happen to be a vegetarian or vegan, yet it seems that everyone loves a great spread when it comes to veggie trays. They simply have universal appeal due to the various goodies that are more designed to be appealing and colorful. We want to share some of the best ideas that make the ultimate veggie tray at your next party or event. For starters, you’ll want to invest a few bucks on a good mandilion slicer to make some of the designer cuts we’ll be discussing.
What makes a good veggie tray?
This is often a hard question to answer if you’ve never had the opportunity to put together a vegetable platter or tray. It does become a lot easier when you think of the kinds of veggies that you like the most and lists them on a piece of paper. As many as you can name that are great to eat raw should be on the list. Obviously, you can’t eat them whole and these little crunchy treats are better when sliced and portioned into bite-size bits.
But then, the big dive into the presentation and how everything is arranged will become a major concern. This can be more intimidating to some since this requires being creative. There will also be a collection of various dips and sauces that give vegetables more zest and flavor. Another big question will undeniably include the right wine to pair with your veggie collection.
No matter what time of the year you decide to make a veggie tray, we also have plenty of ideas for seasonal events and holidays. So in the end, these ideas and tips will give you the confidence to put together several types of veggie platters for any occasion.
Types of Veggies
Nearly all vegetables that are raw can be eaten when prepared correctly. There are only a few that aren’t very good if you consume them raw. The worst choices include potato, red kidney beans, eggplant, squash, zucchini, and Brussels sprouts. These should be cooked before they are served and can be part of a platter that features an array of cooked veggies. Green beans (aka French beans) and snap peas are better if they are blanched beforehand.
There are lots of progressive websites that are now pushing people to not eat raw carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, button mushrooms, sprouts, kale, cabbage, apples, baby spinach leaves, and tomatoes. Their claims are now saying that veggies will be healthier if they are steamed or cooked so they release more nutrients. If this way the case, then- this would limit many of the all-time favorites that go onto a fresh veggie tray.
Types of cuts/slices/portions
You might know how to slice and dice vegetables but for veggie trays, you can’t just plop down some slices and expect them to look very appealing. To get the most out of decorative cutting tips, you’ll need to consider what would look attractive on a tray or crudité platter. Many cutting and slicing styles are used for cooking, and veggie trays are quite different.
You want to make slices that are long and thin, but not too thin to be able to pick up with your fingers. Each slice should reflect the overall shape of a vegetable and use that as its strength and not a weakness. Carrots would look better as long carrot sticks rather than rounded-looking chip slices. Oval-shaped veggies can be sliced in half and then cut into long strips that bring out the natural beauty that can be better seen.
Visually, any portions that are sliced need to be laid out in separated stacks that resemble graded steps. Smaller items like mushrooms look great when you can see the familiar stalk and cap sections, but save the unattractive awkward end-pieces for making into dips. Obviously, colors are important for adding more interest to veggies that might disappear into a sea of green, so mixing red, orange, yellow, and purple all around will balance this out.
Tip on Dips
Vegetarians and vegans don’t agree on ingredients since vegans have defined their preference for dairy and fish and even float between definitions. There are actually 5 different types of vegetarians whereas vegans hold the line with only two divisions of vegan and raw vegan. But don’t let that spoil the fun, since there are dips that are universally delicious such as hummus, artichoke dip, onion-garlic dip, and many more dip varieties.
Making a veggie dip can include certain kinds of beans, which are often not welcome for vegetarians. For the most part, several recipes provide a refreshing dipping sauce for your veggie tray. And don’t forget that strong colors such as beet or avocado add festive color to bland-looking dips. If you do make a variety of dips, providing individual dip cups might be better so everyone can add these onto their plate.
Wine Pairing Ideas
It’s not an easy task to consider which wine is going to be best for crudité platters and veggie trays. It will certainly range from white, rosé, and red wines, but not limited to rose wines, or sangria. It’s a matter of choice that happens to be something that is often dry white wine. Acidic wines seem to pair best with raw vegetables, especially when the finish is dry rather than full-bodied.
Another tip is to choose a wine that features more herbal flavor to counter the sharp bitter taste of some veggies like broccoli and or carrot. This is when a good Sauvignon Blanc or similar herbal-flavored wines. The wide variety of typically dry wines is not limited to one country. Perhaps the best choice is to mix and match beforehand with a small tester platter of veggies to see which one tastes better for you.
Festive Veggie Trays
There is always going to be an occasion where family and friends get together. It applies to holidays such as Thanksgiving, Halloween, and obviously the 4th of July. There are also quirky celebrations that include the Superbowl or Labor Day. It might be a birthday or weekend party, and don’t forget that Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day are big opportunities for making a veggie tray.
No matter what time of the year or whatever the reason, a vegetable platter can entertain the senses with a little help from decorating each crudité platter to the appropriate theme. This is where creativity takes charge so you can play with these little veggies even more. This gives you a chance to create and build decorations that are specifically themed for each celebrated event.