How to Make a Beautiful Crudités Platter

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Thanksgiving dinner can be such an intimidating meal. While I'm all for the heavy hitters (priorities for me include mashed potatoes, dinner rolls and stuffing), there's something nice about kicking dinner off on a lighter note. Enter: a fancy crudités platter. This isn't the time to bust out the baby carrots and prepackaged celery. When done right, it should be a beautifully curated selection of seasonal vegetables that can really elevate the start of a meal. Though creating a crudités platter seems simple (just throw vegetables on a plate!), there's an art in putting it all together. Here are the tips I swear by for making an appealing platter.

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1. Buy an assortment of vegetables (I'd say seven to ten different types), in a variety of shapes, colors and textures. 

2. Prepping will make setting up the platter much easier. Wash, trim, peel and store in separate bowls before you start.

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3. Cut or break your larger vegetables into smaller pieces (they should be eaten in 2-3 bites). Any smaller and the platter could start looking messy.

4. I like to lay down a base of lettuce for texture (it also acts as a makeshift bowl to hold things that tend to roll).

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5. Place the lettuce on the platter first, then the dip bowl at the end (keep your dip in the fridge until you're ready to serve). 

6. Start in the middle and build out. I always begin with the most abundant vegetables first – in this case, it was the cauliflower. 

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7. I try to separate similar colors so that it's well balanced. 

8. You want an over-abundance of veggies. I layer heavily so that it not only looks plentiful, but if you take one thing, you won't be left with a gaping hole.

9. You can be creative with your platter: I used a cutting board instead of a traditional plate and like how the veggies aren't restricted by any edges. 

10. I also pick up garnishes like dill, fennel flowers, parsley, edible flowers, or basil leaves and place them sporadically around the platter. It helps it look finished. 

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