15 Vegetables to Instantly Improve Your Vegetable Platter

published Jun 27, 2015
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(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

I love that I can find a platter of vegetables at every birthday, barbecue, and holiday gathering. But let’s face it — carrot sticks, celery sticks, and sliced cucumbers are not the only candidates to arrange on a platter and serve with a dip. (I’m not judging; I get myself into that rut, too.)

There are tons of vegetables that would love an opportunity to shine on a platter, to serve as a vehicle for a pesto, salsa, vinaigrette, vegetable puree, cheesy dip, or hummus.

A fresh new player or two will instantly add color, texture, and dynamic flavors to the plate. Try a variety of groupings — just use the season as a guide. Most vegetables are delicious raw (when cut in the right way) or briefly blanched to slightly temper their bite.

I guarantee that mixing things up with one or two new options will please any crowd. You will be amazed, too, at how easy it is to reinvent this classic. (You may even want to start assembling vegetable platters to enjoy with an after-work glass of wine.)

→ Tip: You don’t have to omit carrots completely to improve your vegetable platter. Try featuring colorful heirloom varieties to add more color to the plate. Leave some of the greens attached and cut them in half lengthwise to show off their form.

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

15 Fresh Candidates for Your Crudité Platter

  1. Sugar Snap Peas, trimmed and served raw, or very briefly blanched and shocked.
  2. Watermelon, French Breakfast, and/or Easter Egg Radishes, raw, cut into wedges or thinly sliced.
  3. Fennel, raw, sliced.
  4. Endive or Escarole Leaves, raw, separate the leaves and serve them whole.
  5. Fingerling Potatoes, steamed to just tender.
  6. Asparagus Spears, blanched (to crisp-tender) and shocked.
  7. Romanesco Florets, blanched or steamed very briefly (or Cauliflower Florets or Broccoli Florets and Stems, blanched briefly).
  8. Baby Turnips, raw, cut into wedges.
  9. Jicama, raw, cut into sticks.
  10. Shishito Peppers, blistered and charred in a heavy skillet.
  11. Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, raw, served whole (with cocktail forks or toothpicks).
  12. Kohlrabi, raw, cut into thin slices.
  13. Celery Root, raw, cut into thin slices or shaved with a mandoline.
  14. Green Beans, raw, or briefly blanched to crisp-tender and shocked (Broad, Romano Beans are an excellent choice).
  15. Zucchini, raw and cut into thick noodles or thin spears.
(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)