At first, when I was dabbling in the primal way of eating (grain free, whole, natural, unprocessed foods) I tried to get rid of our un-primal pantry staples by bringing them to parties. Fiesta night? I’ll make the Mexican rice! Recipe swap? I’ll bring pasta salad! Cookout? I’ll bring macaroni and (velveeta, fake) cheese with corn in it!
But now that most of our grainy pantry items are gone, I try to make delicious party foods that I can actually enjoy while I’m at the event. So this five-part series includes a few of my ideas for primal party foods, because you can’t always bring steak and eggs. Several of these are healthy low-carb snacks, so if you’re an Atkins/South Beach person, you can also benefit from these.
This one is so obvious that seeing it on my blog might make your eyes hurt a bit… but sometimes it’s the most obvious things that seem to slip our minds when we’re wracking our brains trying to think of a great HEALTHY appetizer or party food that will be well-liked by most people in the crowd.
Making a veggie tray is as simple as buying a few different vegetables, washing and cutting them (and if you choose something like asparagus or green beans, you’ll want to blanch them too), and deciding on a dip or two. My problem is that I always end up buying way too many vegetables, but there are worse problems to have in life.
Some vegetable ideas are:
- Carrots, peeled and cut into sticks (much cheaper than baby carrots to cut up the big ones)
- Broccoli, cut into florets. A huge pet peeve of mine is when veggie trays have these HUGE chunks of broccoli – make sure they’re bite-sized, please.
- Cauliflower – same deal as the broccoli. Please make sure they’re sized properly so you don’t make your guests look like chipmunks with every bite.
- Bell peppers of all colors, cut into strips. Here’s my easy method for cutting bell peppers.
- Grape tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes tend to be too big, and if someone bites them they squirt the other guests. Eww! Best to stick to the smaller grape tomatoes.
- Asparagus, trimmed and blanched.
- Fresh green beans, ends trimmed and blanched.
- Cucumbers. Make sure to slice them thick enough to scoop up a bit of dip.
- Celery, cut into strips about 3-4″ long.
- Olives – green, black, Greek, whatever you like.
- Raw summer squash and/or zucchini – I like to slice squash but cut zucchini into spears.
And for dips, you may choose:
- Homemade Ranch dip
- French Onion dip
- Baba Ganoush (sort of like hummus but made with roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas)
- Olive Tapenade
- Cumin Yogurt Dip
- Muhammara , a roasted-red-pepper dip made with nuts and a touch of molasses or balsamic vinegar – sounds amazing.
- Another healthy option
Hopefully I’ve jogged your memory about how great veggie trays can be, and maybe even gave you a new idea you haven’t thought of before. No go forth into the party world, and spread delicious healthy food!