Fresh, Crisp Vegetables in a Spicy Dip
Fresh vegetables are in abundance right now, fresh being the operative word. While it is a good idea to freeze, can, dry, etc., to preserve the variety for the rest of the year, there isn’t much better or more delicious than fresh, raw, cut up vegetables. Fresh from the garden or from a farmer’s market, they taste healthy and wonderful just as they are.
So why mess with a good thing? I like to keep a container filled with bite sized pieces in the fridge to grab for a snack, for lunch, or for a healthy, low calorie appetizer. A container also makes it easy for kids to pull some out to nibble.
Carrots and celery are pretty standard, but have you ever tried raw turnips? They are one of my favorite raw veggies. I use the roundish, purple and white ones. Peel, slice, and dip! Or have a bite with some salt. They look like jicama, but taste better raw in my opinion. Usually the platter won’t hold everything at once, so keep the rest wrapped separately to grab as needed.
The dip makes the vegetables irresistible. Buffalo ranch dip gives you a nice bite–make it as mild or hot as you like. Ranch or onion are good options if you aren’t into spicy, but for this one I used Franks hot sauce!
This is perfect and lovely for any party dish. Even if you aren’t having a party, I bet most children would would find this hard to resist! It’s always fun to have a grab and go a veggie bite, even more so with dip!
Looking for other party appetizers? Check out Marinated Mushrooms and Olives for another taste treat.
Tasty Vegetables to Add to Your Appetizer Tray
Cauliflower is another vegetable that tastes great raw and looks so pretty on a platter. I used zucchini for this platter as well, but you can use for favorites.
Nutritionists often say 3/4 of our dinner plate should be vegetables. If you are fixing a salad, that’s pretty easy, but for times when a salad isn’t on the menu, a platter is an excellent way to supplement your meals.
Put a tray out for an appetizer—for your family or your guest. You can add your favorites, add what’s on sale, however you arrange it, you might be surprised the attention it gets.
So often I will see children reaching for the vegetables with dip, and skipping the chips. Any time you can get children to eat more veggies, is a success in my mind.
For adults, so many are watching their weight and/or trying to eat healthier. A vegetable tray is a wonderful way to provide that healthier option.
Try some of these:
- Crookneck squash
- Green onions
- Green peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Green beans, steamed then chilled
What else would you add?
Sometimes I will slice the veggies into strips, like the celery and carrots, but it’s often more fun to dip when you have shorter pieces. So sometimes I keep all the pieces 2 to 3 inches long. With celery, peppers and carrots especially short works great.
Serves: 8 to 10
- 1 head green or red leaf lettuce
- ½ head red cabbage
- 1 or more turnip, halved, then sliced
- 1 or more red pepper, sliced
- 3 or more carrots, scrubbed or peeled, sliced
- 3 stalks celery, cut in thirds, then sliced
- 2 cups cauliflower, broken into bites
- 1 zucchini, sliced into circles, or cut into spears
- 10 or more radishes, halved or left whole
- 1½ cup ranch dip or dressing
- 2 teaspoons Frank's hot sauce
- Wash and gently dry the lettuce and veggies.
- Mix Frank's hot sauce into ranch dip, starting with 1 teaspoon. Add more until it's as spicy as you like it. Refrigerate
- Peel and cut veggies into small dipping size. You can slice then into strips or into bite sized chunks that you might serve with toothpicks. It's pretty to do some of both.
- Remove the center of the red cabbage. To do that use a sharp knife to cut out an area. Once you can pull a part of it out, then you are able to pull actual leaves out so the finished cabbage looks natural. Don't make the first cut too deep. You can always do more. If the cabbage doesn't sit flat, trim the bottom with a knife so it will.
- Line platter with green leaf lettuce, overlapping the edges. Place the cabbage on the platter, then build the veggies around it.
- Pour dressing into the cabbage right before serving.