I made this vegetable tray recently for several reasons: I wanted to have an excuse to make this dairy-free ranch dressing again, I was prepping plenty of vegetables to snack on for the week, and, let’s be honest, I wanted a pretty photo! I love putting together trays for parties and events, and I thought this could give someone some inspiration for any upcoming summer barbecues, girls nights, or baby showers! Another of my absolute favorite appetizers to serve at a party is a fruit and cheese tray (this link to mine has a tutorial about putting one together). The wood tray used for these veggies has become such an entertaining necessity for me! And the blue bowls I used for the dips are pieces that I use in my dining room decor, and also for any kind of salsas or dips. They’re also perfect for side salads.
Rules for Putting Together a Vegetable Tray
- Color – Use all of the color you can find, by sourcing a variety of vegetables. For example, use more than 1 kind of bell pepper. Use purple cabbage leaves as vessels for other vegetables.
- Variety – Try to have at least 5 different types of vegetables.
- Shapes – Cut the vegetables into a variety of shapes. I cut carrots 2 different ways – on the bias (diagonal), and into sticks. By the way, “baby” carrots from the bag are not nearly as tasty and colorful as cutting up whole carrots yourself. I also love to use haricots vert (French green beans) for crunch and the shape. I lightly steam then cool them.
- Keep the stems – If you can find some pretty baby vegetables with the stems still attached, use a few, at least for garnish. I only did this with a few radishes this time.
- Herbs for Garnish – I used what I have planted at home: rosemary and basil. Use what you prefer and what is in season. The leaves add texture and color to the tray.
- Two Types of Dip – At least two. Hummus is a great option, as well as any homemade dressing. The avocado dip is extremely healthy, and it is colorful. I mash avocados, squeeze in some lime juice, and add a little salt.
The dairy-free ranch was inspired by Jay’s Baking Me Crazy. I only slightly tweaked her recipe. If you are on the hunt for some wonderful paleo recipes, I recommend that you check out her blog!
Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
- 1 cup organic mayonnaise
- 1 (14 oz) can organic coconut cream (full fat coconut milk) I love this brand.
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 Tbsp dried parsley
- 1 Tbsp dried chives
- 1/2 tsp salt
- fresh ground black pepper
Whisk the coconut milk and mayonnaise together in a medium size bowl. Add in the herbs and spices. Allow at least 2 hours to thicken in the refrigerator before serving.
I found my wooden tray a couple of years ago, and I have used it countless times! I linked to plenty of serving piece options below. (It says that some of these options are sold out, but I checked the stores, and they are still available online. The farmhouse tray from Pier 1 is even on sale!)