Everyone loves a loaded cheese or charcuterie board, but come spring and summer, we like to let the vegetables be the stars! When the markets are overflowing with gorgeous produce, it’s an excellent opportunity to whip up a stellar dip and serve it with a rainbow of veggies. It’s a healthy, fun, and an easy way to try some new-to-you vegetables from the farmers market.
To assemble a Martha Stewart–worthy crudités platter (aka vegetable board), there a few pro tips we always follow:
1. Let the Seasons Be Your Guide
Head to your farmers market and pick up what looks good or try some new-to-you vegetables from your produce aisle, like romanesco, purple cauliflower, or watermelon radish. If it’s winter, maybe skip tomatoes and opt for roasted root vegetables or slices of apple.
2. Shock Your Vegetables for Max Crunch
Especially if your vegetables are going to be sitting out on a buffet for a few hours, letting them soak in ice water for 10 to 15 minutes before assembling your board will make them extra crisp. Be sure to drain them well and give them a good pat with a clean kitchen towel before assembling your spread.
3. Pre-Cook Your Vegetables When Needed
Tougher vegetables like Broccolini, haricots vert, and snap peas are best when blanched quickly in boiling water and then shocked in an ice bath. This not only makes them more tender, but also locks in their vibrant color. Alternatively, you can pre-char some of your vegetables on the grill or roast them in the oven for a bit of caramelization. It’s a nice way to switch up your vegetable offerings and add some savory depth.
4. Every Vegetable Should Taste Delicious on Its Own
Don’t rely on your dip to season your vegetables. Hit them all with a little drizzle of olive oil and some flaky sea salt before serving.
5. Add Some Starch to the Mix
While this board is all about the vegetables, sometimes we like to tuck in something a little starchy like grilled bread or blanched potatoes to really round out the selection. Add some soft-boiled eggs and maybe a few cooked shrimp and then your veggie platter could pass as a complete meal, like in our Green Goddess Grand Aioli recipe.
6. Think Visually
While you certainly want your veggie platter to taste great, don’t you also want it to look great? For a truly showstopping board, let the rainbow be your guide. Pick an array of vegetables in different colors and try grouping them by hue. Or go for the monochromatic look and keep everything bright and green for spring. Also, this is not the place for your baby carrots and pre-cut vegetables. The little bit of extra effort it takes to peel and slice your own vegetables is well worth it here—plus, we love the organic look of a radish or spring carrot with its greens still attached.
7. Less Is More: Pick One Dip and Make It Great
Keep the focus on the beautiful produce by serving only one dip with your vegetable board—and make sure you pick a great one! This is your chance to make something fresh and homemade. Save the store-bought dips for the game day crowd. May we suggest our Lemony Goat Cheese and Spring Pea Dip to kick things off?
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