Get Your Veggies Noticed

Let’s face it.  Talking about eating your vegetables is about as exciting as pairing up the socks in your laundry basket.  No one wants to be reminded about it (“Hey, do we have any clean socks?”), and it’s a lot easier to not talk about it and just do it. Eating your veggies can be a beautiful thing in the summer.  It doesn’t have to be all about same old carrots and celery sticks, either.  Farmer’s markets boast seasonal, local fare but even the grocery store can be a great source of inspiration for finding something new and different to try. If you want your vegetables to get noticed, they have to look enticing.  Dress them up.  Make them look intriguing.  Give them a place to go!  No one will eat the celery if it is stuffed in the bottom of the vegetable bin.  All too often the vegetable plate is the wallflower of the buffet table.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Here are some quick tips for making a vegetable plate worth noticing.

  • Start with a special plate.  Pick something that reflects the rest of the meal.  Dig around in your cabinets and be creative.  A hand painted ceramic plate and recycled glass tumbler carries out a Mexican theme and gives a preview of the meal that is to follow.
  • As far as the actual veggies go, try to match them to the meal.  Pair new and unfamiliar foods with ones that you usually serve.  This makes the new foods feel more familiar, and increases the likelihood that people will try them.  Put out the usual carrots, celery, and bell peppers.  But throw in a few surprise elements with jicama, radishes, and roasted shishito peppers.
  • Vary the size, shape and color.  Cut bell pepper strips, cucumber rounds, jicama half moons, celery sticks and irregular carrot matchsticks.  Rainbow carrots look much more interesting than the orange baby carrots you see all year.  Purple, red, and white easter egg radishes are better than just plain old red ones.  Plate some veggies uniformly, and arrange others haphazardly.
  • Vary the height.  An easy way to do this is to stand something up in a glass, like the celery sticks.
  • Add some garnish.  A few cherry tomatoes, some sprigs of fresh oregano?

Now be bold.  Set that plate down and let it get noticed.  I am so fearless with my veggie foisting that I set this down amidst the chips, snuggled up to the salsa and guacamole, with not a single pang of guilt about not making a special dip.  And believe it or not, by the time we ate it was almost all gone.

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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