Having a Veggie Tray at any big event like family parties, graduation parties, anniversary parties, baby showers, weddings, and tailgates is very popular!
Here are tips on how to make a veggie tray or platter that is simple. Also find ideas on how to cut and arranges vegetables and dip.
Easy Vegetable Tray Ideas
I love when veggie trays or boards are available because I can get my kids to eat plain vegetables that they may not want to eat in other cooked dishes.
The easiest vegetable tray we make is served in a container with a lid that has dividers to separate the vegetables. This makes storing the tray in the refrigerator and traveling to a party very easy.
Having a hard container that other items can stack on helps maximize space in your refrigerator which is hard to come by before a party or holiday.
Tips for Making Vegetable Trays
Here are some tips that we use to make vegetable trays for a 50th-anniversary party and other events:
- Thoroughly wash all vegetables
- Wash original containers when applicable and return clean vegetables back to their package to save baggies
- A divided container with a lid like this makes storing and transporting vegetables much easier
- The type of tray or platter doesn’t really matter if you plan to garnish with lettuce
- For an upscale tray place a layer of bibb lettuce or your favorite style of lettuce on the tray before adding vegetables
- Vegetable dip can be mixed up or purchased – ranch dressing can be used for a simple vegetable dip
- Radishes can be cut in half in a zigzag pattern to make cute edible garnishes for the tray
- The bottom of bell peppers can be cut off to look like a flower, another easy edible garnish
- If space is tight on the food tables, simply use a smaller serving tray and refill more often
- If a large crowd is expected layer vegetable trays by height to add eye appeal
- Display height can be added by putting empty cardboard boxes underneath the tablecloth
Best Type of Lettuce To Line A Vegetable Tray
The goal is to make a flat layer of lettuce that makes the tray look fancier. Leaves of lettuce will accent the edges And cover any holes in the tray as the veggies are eaten.
We like to use smaller pieces of purple or darker colored lettuce. This package of artisan lettuce is fun for lining trays because it gives your variety in appearance.
I prefer using smaller leaves and arranging them in a circular pattern. Larger leaves of any type of lettuce work fine.
Always wash the lettuce and use a salad spinner or allow to dry before adding vegetables on top.
How to Make a Vegetable Tray
Choose multiple colors of vegetables.
I like to wash, cut and prep vegetables into self sealing bags or containers the day before the party.
If using lettuce as a garnish lay the lettuce down around the outside of the tray or board first. Then work inward.
When it’s time to arrange the tray begin by deciding what goes in the center.
If that’s dip or two go ahead and place the empty dish in the center of the tray to help hold the spot.
I usually have the most green vegetables like cucumbers, broccoli, snap peas and maybe green pepper slices.
Start with a green item and then put a different colors of veggies on each side.
Continue working outward until all of the veggies are used.
Displays will be most visually appealing when contrasting colors are placed next to and opposite of each other. They also look best with an equal amount of space is alloced to each item OR each item has a noticeably different amount of space.
Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
How Many Veggies Should Be On A Tray?
I typically use 1 to 2 cups of each vegetable for a family party and increase the amount of food and size of the tray as the size of the party increases.
Start with a minimum of 4 different types and colors of vegetables and increase the variety as space, budget and time to prep them allow.
I estimate that people will eat anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup of veggies per person which is about 4 to 8 pieces depending on the size.
A radish can be made into two small flowers with zig zag edges or triangular points.
Using a small paring knife insert blade in the center. Keep changing the angle to make the zig zag shape. This is a lot like carving a pumpkin.
Once you make it all the way around the radish gently pull the halves apart and admire your flowers.
Radish roses require very thin, consistent cuts and then soaking in cold water. Roses are a bit trickier to make.
Bell Pepper Flowers
A bell pepper flower is a very simple way to garnish a vegetable tray.
Wash the bell pepper and slice a straight line off the bottom that will feature the three or four bumps to make a flower.
My mom likes the outside skin of the pepper to be the flower. I like the inside with some of the white pith cut out and then accent with a cherry tomato in the center.
Vegetable Tray for 50
To make vegetable trays for a crowd estimate the number of pieces you think the crowd will eat. I typically estimate 4 to 7 pieces knowing the bell peppers and carrots will probably be the most popular.
Using round disposable divided trays can make party planning and clean-up much easier!
Be sure to keep food safety in mind. If dips need refrigerated, don’t leave them out for more than two hours without ice.
For extra large crowds we like to serve cherry tomatoes in a bowl so we don’t have to worry about them rolling around. It can really simplify a flat tray on the appetizer table!
Other Easy Recipes for Big Parties:
- Pink Slush Punch is one of my favorites in a big punch bowl.
- Pasta for a crowd options include Mac and Cheese, Macaroni Salad and Angel Hair Pasta Salad
- Cheesy Potatoes for a Crowd is always popular and goes great with Brisket in a Roaster!
Potluck Dessert Ideas:
We hope you enjoy these ideas and recipes as much as we do!
- 1 pound bag Carrots
- 10 stalks Celery
- 3 Bell Peppers
- 2 cups Radishes
- 3 cups Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 bunch Asparagus
- 1 head Cauliflower
- 1 head Broccoli
- 1 pound bag Sugar Snap Peas
- 1 Cucumber
- Clean vegetables and cut or slice into desired sizes.
- Arrange on a bed of lettuce if desired.
- Begin by placing a dish in the center of the tray, platter or board.
- Lay down a green vegetable and then pile different colors of vegetables on each side.
- Continue adding vegetables until all of the space is used. Garnish with radish flowers and bell pepper flowers if desired. If any empty spots remain fill in with lettuce.
- Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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Originally published on March 26, 2018 with pictures updated on November 11, 2022.