A vegetable platter is a type of appetizer or side dish often served at a brunch or lunch. It may also be referred to as a veggie tray, and typically contains a mixture of fresh, raw, cut vegetables served with a dip or a few different types of dip. Often, a vegetable platter is served alongside a cheese plate or a meat and cheese platter with small, rolled pieces of deli meat and cheeses, as well as chips and crackers. These types of appetizer trays are easy to make and serve, inexpensive, and a great way to provide appetizers or a small snack to guests.
The vegetables included on a vegetable platter will differ depending on an individual's personal preferences, as well as the vegetables that are available and in season. The most common vegetables are those that are easy to slice into individual portions, eat with the hands, and taste good raw. Broccoli, for example, is found on nearly every vegetable platter. Baby carrots, sliced celery, or cut peppers are also common. Peppers are a great option for vegetable platters because they add a punch of color and can be purchased in many different varieties, including red, orange, and yellow in addition to the more commonly available green. They may also be either sweet or hot, thus providing a lot of variety in flavor.
Usually on the side, or in the center, of a vegetable platter will be a dip to go with the veggies. A creamy cheese dip is the most popular, and these may be homemade or store bought in many different varieties. The vegetable platter may then simply be served with a few small plates, a serving spoon and tongs to pick up the vegetables, and cocktail napkins. Keep in mind that it is very important to wash the vegetables for a vegetable platter thoroughly, especially since they will not be cooked.
In many cases, a vegetable platter is served with another type of appetizer tray, such as a meat and cheese tray, which will include various types of cheeses and deli meats or cured meats that do not need to be cooked. Some people will add fruit to their veggie tray as well, to make it a little more interesting and flavorful. It is generally a good idea to keep the meat trays and vegetable trays separate for those who are following a vegetarian or vegan diet, and would prefer not to include meat in their diets at all.