Picture Perfect Vegan Platter

Hi everyone, it is getting in to Spring and do you know what I love most about the warmer weather? Picnics! And of course, getting together with friends to share all this good food. This past weekend was the AFL Grand Final and my boyfriend and I had some friends over. And I made a delicious platter to share with everyone. I think what I love about platters most are they are visually impressive but also not too hard to create. So, I thought today I am going to teach you how I made this picture-perfect platter that everyone will love. 

Now you may be thinking "why do I need you to teach me how to make a platter? Don't you chuck everything onto a board and call it quits?" Whilst you can do this it might not look as appealing as it would if you follow my formula below. Remember your eyes eat first. So, if your eyes don't like what you see, you may not enjoy your food as much and people might not take anything from your platter at all. But don’t worry its super easy to follow. 

Keep in mind platters are very customizable so if you don't like something then add something else, use my ingredients as a guideline for yours. I Made this for 6 people and it was the perfect amount to keep us fuelled throughout the Grand Final. Keep in mind I had a lot of leftover dip but you can half the recipes or buy small containers of your favourite ones.

Shopping List - Rocket - Beetroot Dip (Recipe Here) - Sweet Potato Hummus (Recipe Here) - Bubba ganoush (Recipe Here) - Herb and garlic Cheese (Recipe Here - I put in a bowl like a dip but can have it just on the board) - Carrots - Cucumber - Pitted Olives - Roasted Capsicum - Semi Sundried Tomatoes - Vegan Sausage - Bagel Crisps - Crackers (buy more than you think, you don't want to run out) - Grapes - Strawberries - Pretzels - Trail Mix

Tools of the trade  - A large platter or piece of wood  - Small Bowls  - Spoons/knives for dips/cheeses

Alright before we get started, the biggest thing I want to teach you is that you want to fill up your whole platter. You want it to feel like its overflowing. So, think about the size of your platter and the amount of food you buy. You don't want to have enough food on a massive platter for two people because it will just look like you were too cheap or lazy to fill it. A good trick is to buy smaller items like rocket, strawberries and grapes so that you can fill up every single gap. You don't want to see any of the board but the very edges.  

Another tip is don't try to place it all out perfectly in a particular shape or pattern. You want to embrace the chaos and go rustic. 

Alright time to get started

Step 1 - Prep Time to prep everything, so if you're making your own dips make sure this is done now. Also cut up your vegetables and fruit ready for the platter. I recommend cutting any vegetables into sticks so that they are easy to dip. You may also want to put your dips into your bowls now or you can do it just before you serve it. Also, just get everything out so you don't need to keep going back to the fridge/pantry whilst you are building your platter.

Step 2 - Rocket Building time! I like to start my platters with a bit of rocket as it just fills in the gaps and helps everything look fresh and nice. You can also use it to separate some items. Just sprinkle it all over the board for now and we will move it around a bit more in the coming steps. 

Step 3 - Bowls/Cheeses One way to make a platter look more decadent, is to have your dips, olives etc. in bowls. We don’t want to see those plastic containers just plonked on. Alright any bowls you are using lay them out on your board. Try not to make it to symmetrical remember we are going for the rustic look. Once your bowls are set out time to put your cheeses out. Personally, if I use cheeses I like to lay them out in a row to create two "sections" but personally it is up to you. If some of the block of cheese are too big, break or cut them up so they fit nicely. Put some rocket under the cheeses and around the bowls to prop them up and fill in any black spaces.

Step 4 – Crackers

I know I said before buy more crackers than you will need. But for actually laying them out on the platter you don’t want to put too many. Platters are all about variety, so you don’t want to take up all the room with one thing. So just put a swirl or two of crackers on your board. Make sure you nestle them nice and close to what you have already put on the board. And don’t worry if you don’t think it looks like enough crackers you can always refill it with the left-over crackers as people eat it.

Step 5 - Create sections

Time to start adding more to the board. Whilst you don’t have to, I like to create “sections” on my boards. So, I put all the veggie sticks together, then I put all my veggies like sundried tomato and roasted capsicum together. You may want to create a fruit section as well. Don’t get too focused on the sections though. If you have a small board it might be a bit harder to do this, but the bigger the board the easier you will find it.

Step 6 - Fill the Gaps

Now that all the big items have been placed on your board it is time to fill any gaps. I’ve chosen to do this with strawberries and grapes. Just place them in any holes there is. It also helps make your platter become more 3D and less flat.

Step 7 - Push in from the edges

Now that your board is almost done it is time to add the last few items and push in from the sides. I did this with bunches of grapes and pretzels. You want to make more room for these items by pushing the food into the middle. This helps build up the middle of the platter and make it look denser.

So, there you go, you should now have a picture-perfect platter. To go with my platter, I had a plate of watermelon, a bowl of chilli and lime soy crisps, some breadsticks, and a French baguette cut up with some garlic-infused oil.

Make sure you comment below with photos of your own platters. I would love to see what you come up with.

What you should do now

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