(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Several of you asked me about the crudité and hummus cups I served at the wedding I've been sharing with you this week. These are one of my favorite make-ahead appetizers for a big group; it's so nice to have some fresh, crunchy vegetables in an easy-to-eat format.

Here are a few tips for making these really stand out.

Cutting up mini bell peppers.
(Image credit: Faith Durand)

1. Get the right container.

I look for small, narrow cups that will keep skinny slices of vegetables standing upright, but also hold the right amount of hummus or dip (I usually put 1 to 2 tablespoons of dip in the cup).

I used these cups: Incline Shot Glasses - Clear, 3 Ounces, $44.99 for 100 at Restaurantware

The cups with just the cucumbers in place.
(Image credit: Faith Durand)

2. Buy small vegetables, and cut them up.

It's best to use small veggies for these little cups, and to cut them in easily-handled sizes. This time around each cup got:

  • 1 or 2 red or yellow bell pepper slices (I bought these at Costco)
  • 1 mini Persian cucumber slice
  • 1 or 2 sugar snap peas

All of these are of a similar size and shape and looked nice in the cup.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

3. It's fine to use store-bought hummus!

I was initially going to make hummus from scratch (you know, pressure cook the chickpeas and DO THE WHOLE THING) and then suddenly I was all, oh look at these nice tubs of hummus at Costco! Done. I was going to doctor up plain hummus with smoked paprika just for that homemade touch, but even that went out the door when I found red pepper hummus that was quite delicious.

→ If you do want to make your own hummus, though: How To Make Hummus from Scratch

This is seriously one of my favorite appetizers — fresh, yummy, and healthy. The cups can be left at room temperature for several hours without worries, and with a few helping hands they're easy to set up.

Of course, I wouldn't go to the trouble for a smaller party where a bowl of dip and a platter of vegetables would suffice, but when you have a large crowd, this kind of presentation lets people grab a serving and move on instead of holding up the line picking out veggies and scooping dip.