Author: Oona Sapunor-Pfaff
Vegetables. I love them, some people hate them. But we can find a middle ground people. The holidays are often a time of overindulgence. Rich foods, sweet treats, and booze o’plenty. We love those things for a reason, they’re delicious. But I encourage you during this upcoming holiday season to break out and bring the veggie tray to your staff party, friendsgiving, or holiday get together!
When I say veggie tray, I am not referring to the readily available plastic tray divided into your traditional carrot, celery, tomato, and ranch dip. While this option does provide little to no time, it also lacks imagination, and you my friends are better than that.
Think seasonal, colorful, and savory vegetables. You don’t have to break the bank on fancy and exotic foods to make this a crowd pleaser. I suggest you walk around the produce section at your local grocery store or farmer’s market and see what catches your eye. I’m all about including friendly and familiar vegetables (tomatoes, carrots, and celery) but try an alternative like baby heirloom tomatoes or rainbow carrots to spice up your tray. This will still call out to the kids (and adults) who avoid the vegetable section, while also enticing people to try something dare I say healthy? Snap peas, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, peppers, green beans, baby corns, pickled veggies, and jicama are all easily found items in the produce section depending on the time of year. Feel like taking it up a notch on the vegetable sophistication level and impressing your guests? Try adding romanesco, radicchio, or parsnips.
When it comes to arranging your vegetable tray, think about different ways to cut the veggies, and display using colors and varying heights. Slice cucumbers in spears rather than circles, leave the greenery on the tops of your rainbow carrots, add little glass jam jars with beans or other pickled veggies in them to create some dimension to your tray.
In addition to the vegetables, some pita bread cut up, crunchy breadsticks, and a few dips to accompany are always a good idea. If you need to save time, pick up a roasted red pepper hummus or salad dressing (ranch or blue cheese are my favorites) that you can pour into a little dish. If you have the time try my green goddess dip recipe below that is full of bright and efervescent herbs and is the perfect addition to any veggie tray.
Green Goddess Dip
- 15 ounce can of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
- a generous handful of fresh parsley roughly chopped
- a generous handful of fresh basil roughly chopped
- a generous handful of chives roughly chopped
- the juice of one large lemon
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all the above ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add more salt, pepper, lemon, or herbs depending on the flavor you are going for. If you want the dip to be slightly more silky in texture, add a little extra olive oil while blending.