Few social gatherings would be complete without the addition of a vegetable platter as an appetizer. While vegetable tray preparation seems simple enough--chop up fresh vegetables and throw them on a platter with a dip--you can do a lot more thinking about the way that you make a vegetable platter. Using proper techniques will help you create a vegetable platter that looks as appealing as it tastes.
One of the key aspects of a successful vegetable platter is balancing the colors. This can present a challenge because so many vegetables are green. To help with this, you may want to choose an even number of vegetables, with half of the vegetables green and half a different color. This way, you can alternate the colors on the platter.
Thoroughly wash all of your vegetables before and after cutting to remove any dirt or pesticides. When possible, try to cut the vegetables you will group near each other into similar shapes. For example, you can cut carrots, celery and peppers into rectangular shapes. For other vegetables, such as tomatoes, broccoli and cucumbers, round cuts may be a better choice.
Place vegetables on the tray in a clear pattern. Keep like vegetables with like. If possible, use a special vegetable tray that has separated areas for each vegetable. If you don't have this type of tray, you can create your own areas using celery or carrot sticks for borders. Place the dip in the center of the tray. Alternate your colors and shapes around the dip.
Traditional dips for vegetable trays are creamy ranch or onion, but these aren't the only choices available to you. For example, you could buy or make a spicy hummus dip. You could also make an artichoke dip or a salmon dip. Consider your guests' personal tastes when choosing the dip.
The amount of vegetables that you need to prepare for your tray will vary based on how many people are coming to your party and the other types of food that you will be serving. If the vegetable tray is the main appetizer at your party, for example, you'll need more than if the tray is a small part of a full spread.
In general, you should assume that each guess will eat about a pound of food total, so estimate from that. It's always good to cut up extra vegetables and store them in containers in your refrigerator. As guests eat from the tray, you can replenish the supply.