If you are hosting a party, you can easily create a vegetable tray. The nice thing is, you can prepare this in advance and keep in the refrigerator. Another benefit is that fresh raw veggies are very healthful!
You can use a large round or oval serving tray or a specially designed dish with divided cavities for the vegetables. If your tray doesn't come with a vegetable dip container, you can add a bowl in the middle.
A good variety of vegetables will make for an interesting and attractive presentation.
How to prepare the veggies:
Wash and pat dry all of your vegetables. Cut off any roots, stems or unwanted leafy portions.
Specifics for each vegetable -
Leafy Lettuce: Separate the lettuce leaves and use them to line your vegetable tray.
Broccoli: Cut florets off the stalk into small bite sized pieces.
Cauliflower: Cut pieces from head of cauliflower into individual serving-sized pieces.
Cherry Tomatoes: Remove stems. Wash and pat dry.
Cucumbers: You can remove the skin or leave it. Slice cucumber into 1/4" thick round slices or you can cut the cucumber vertically into four or six pieces, then slice into 1 or 2 inch lengths.
Carrots: If using baby carrots, just use them as is (but be sure to scrub well to get dirt off). If using full-sized carrots, you will need to slice them down into sticks measuring approximately 1/4" by 4" in size.
Celery: Cut off leafy portions. Cut celery stalks into 4" long pieces.
Radishes: Cut off stem of each radish and any roots that might remain. It is best to use radishes that are less than 1 1/2" in diameter, larger ones tend to be very spicy.
Mushrooms: If you are using baby mushrooms,, leave just a 1/4" of the stem remaining. If using larger sized mushrooms, slice them down into quarters or smaller pieces.
Green or Red Pepper: Remove the stem and seeds. Cut down into sticks measuring 1/4" by 4" in length.
How to arrange the vegetables:
Put the lettuce leaves on your tray, covering the entire bottom of the tray. Take your prepared vegetables and arrange them around the tray in sections. Try to keep your colors separated and spread out the green colored vegetables. You can alternate green vegetables with colored ones. Leave an opening in the center of the plate for your vegetable dip. You can add parsley, olives,or cilantro for additional decoration and some fruit can add a nice touch (strawberries or grapes for example). Use long vegetables like carrots or celery as separators between the various types.
Dill Weed Vegetable Dip
1 tbsp. minced onion
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. non fat sour cream
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. dill weed (use a bit more if you use fresh dill)
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Chill for several hours before serving. Serve with raw vegetables
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