If you're wondering what to take to a potluck, make your own veggie tray! It's simple, healthy, and always gets eaten.
I used to take the request to "bring an appetizer to share" as a personal challenge.
Not wanting to tarnish my reputation as someone who loves to cook, I felt like I had to have the most delicious, most talked-about, most quickly devoured dish on the table.
I would scour Pinterest and magazines for innovative recipes, and spend lots of time and money whipping up seafood dips, exotic cheese balls or delicate phyllo-wrapped concoctions.
There were also times when I ran to the store en route to a party, grabbed some Tostitos and salsa, and stealthily dropped the grocery bag on the host's table before darting away in shame.
These days, I'm aiming for the middle ground.
My current favorite is the tried and true veggie platter (crudite if you're fancy). I know, I know...it's so old fashioned and unoriginal and lame. But here's the thing — it always gets eaten.
Why it's worth it to make a homemade veggie tray:
A big part of what's given the veggie tray its bad reputation is the depressing state of most pre-made store bought versions. They tend to contain limp, browning vegetables, and a bunch of stuff nobody really wants to eat (I'm looking at you, celery!)
The nice thing about making your own tray is that not only will it look better and taste better than one you can buy, but you can also customize it with vegetables people truly like.
Carrots are almost always the favorite and the first to disappear, so I include a lot of those. I know many people don't like radishes, but I love them so I put them on my trays to be selfish.
It's really worth the extra effort to do the peeling and/or chopping yourself, and it takes a lot less time than you probably think it does.
Challenge: If you think it seems like a big waste of time to peel and chop real carrots instead of buying the bagged baby ones, I beg you to do a taste test between a baby carrot and a freshly peeled and cut carrot. I promise the whole carrot is crunchier and tastes SOOOOO much better.
Best veggies for a simple veggie tray:
- Grape tomatoes
- Sliced bell peppers
If you want to go the extra mile, you could add mini pickles, olives, edamame, zucchini, snap peas, green beans, or anything else you like that's in season.
Best dips for a simple veggie tray:
- Ranch dip
A hand cut vegetable platter is pretty, healthy, and simple. I feel good serving it to guests or taking it to an event, even if I'm crossing my fingers that someone else took the time to make buffalo chicken dip.