The food tables at holiday parties are flooded with holiday favorites—basically, cheese and carbs. Which we love as much as the next person, but by holiday season's end it leaves us feeling a little bloated. Plus, we love vegetables too, and are always looking for new ways to eat more of them. Enter: Veggie-taining AKA entertaining with vegetables.
Hear me out. Vegetables are bright, colorful and come in all different shapes and sizes. Throw a bunch of veggies on a wood board and it's already gorgeous without any fussing necessary. So this year, we are getting into the holiday spirit while embracing vegetables as a party food. Serve them in ways people will actually want to eat them—or better yet, serve them up in ways that make them look like a decoration, but a decoration you can actually eat. Here are our favorite ideas for how to pull it veggie-taining off:
1. Turn Vegetables Into Art
Pictured recipe: Crudité Vegetable Wreath with Ranch Dip
Elevate that party veggie and dip tray by arranging colorful vegetables into a picture, like this gorgeous holiday wreath complete with a big bowl of dip. But don't just stop at the winter holidays, you can have just as much fun with your food all year—try a veggie garden for Easter, a skeleton for Halloween or a turkey for Thanksgiving.
2. Make an Edible Bouquet
Pictured recipe: Vegetable Bouquet
Swap flowers for fresh vegetables in the vase at the center of your table. Try filling jars with single vegetables (like a jar of carrot sticks alongside one with celery sticks, another with bell pepper strips and so-on) or make one big bouquet like we've done here.
3. Arrange Beautiful Produce on a Board
Give your party cheese board a colorful makeover with the addition of plenty of fresh vegetables. Or better yet, make a crudité-focused spread on a board. Place a bowl of hummus or ranch dip at the center of the board, then lay down chopped ready-to-eat veggies around it like carrots, cauliflower and broccoli florets, cucumber spears and slices of colorful beets and radishes.
4. Make a Runner with Veggies and Herbs
We first found this idea as a great way to use fresh herbs, they make a beautiful runner down the center of the dinner table and you can hang it after the party to dry for use the rest of the year. But how beautiful would that same runner be with a few colorful veggies tucked in? You could use full veggies like fresh artichokes, whole heads of purple cauliflower or small squashes. Or, go for more crudité options like peels carrots, cherry tomatoes and piles of colorful cauliflower florets. Here's how to do it: gather up fresh herbs with twine, then wrap the bundles with 28-gauge floral paddle wire to string them together. Lay it down the center of the table and tuck veggies in every few inches.
Related: Ideas for Preserving Fresh Herbs
5. Use Veggies As Placeholders
Similar to the runner, if you pair a couple of leafy greens or fresh herbs with a small colorful vegetable like a rainbow carrot or mini bell pepper, it can make a beautiful table decoration that's tasty, too. Use a piece of twine to tie on a hand written name card and your guests will feel extra-special.
Watch: How to Make a Crudité Wreath