Need inspiration for a healthy and easy vegetable dish for your next family gathering or party? Give this delicious Mediterranean vegetable platter a try. The hardest part about assembling this fantastic heart-healthy and vegan-friendly vegetable tray is chopping up all the veggies. I’ll walk you through the rest. And as always, I’m here if you have questions. I’m happy to help inspire you and answer questions you may have about flavors and food combinations. Leave a comment below or email me directly through the contact page.
Not all vegetables need to be served hot. In fact, many vegetables hold their flavor, texture and taste wonderfully either at a cool or room temperature. I prepared all of the vegetables for this platter the night before my event and refrigerated them. This particular platter went to our school as a donation for a teacher’s luncheon. That morning, I assembled the platter and did the final seasoning and dressing. All the vegetables can be served cold as part of a buffet.
One of the keys to achieving great texture and variety of flavor on a vegetable platter is to cook the vegetables separately.
Vegetables such as yellow zucchini squash (as pictured above) cook quickly and are best grilled. The combination of red and yellow peppers were roasted simultaneously in the oven. The peppers require a much higher temperature and longer cooking time to achieve caramelization. Onions sizzled slowly in my non-stick skillet on the stove top at the same time. This entire process took about one hour, plus approximately 10 minutes assembly time in the morning. Each of the vegetables also offer a slightly different, but harmonious herb or seasoning with extra virgin olive oil as the base.
Also pictured above are, Italian olives, cannellini beans (1 can, rinsed), fresh arugula, fresh oregano and parsley and lemons for dressing and garnish.
Tap into your creative inner chef and give a healthy vegetable platter a try. Happy cooking.
Useful kitchen tools for this recipe:
- 3 small yellow zucchini squash sliced (not too thin)
- 2-3 each red and yellow bell peppers sliced, seeds removed
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3-4 cloves garlic peeled and smashed, left whole
- sea salt & freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 tsp red chili pepper flakes optional for bell peppers
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups arugula leaves
- 1 can cannellini beans rinsed
- 3/4-1 cup Italian olives mixed variety
- 2 lemons Cut one lemon in wedges. The other in slices.
- 2-3 sprigs fresh oregano or Italian parsley for garnish
Toss the zucchini slices in 1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Heat the grill pan on medium-high heat. Arrange the zucchini slices on the pan and season with a generous pinch of sea salt, freshly ground pepper and dried oregano. Grill for approximately 2-3 minutes, then turn the slices once. Grill for approximately 1 more minute or until the zucchini is al dente (fork tender, but not mushy). Transfer the zucchini to a plate to cool.
Heat 1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and saute until they soften and turn golden brown. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Reduce the heat as necessary to avoid scorching. Transfer the onions to a plate to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, toss the peppers with 2 - 2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and the smashed garlic cloves. Transfer the peppers to a large jelly roll pan. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Season with 1/8 tsp red chili pepper flakes (optional for spicy flavor). Space out the peppers so they have plenty of room and are not laying on top of each other. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes turning the peppers once or twice during this time. Reduce the heat to 375 F half-way through the cooking time if they appear to be scorching. (Ovens vary). Discard the garlic cloves after. Transfer the peppers to a plate to cool.
Arrange the arugula all over the platter. Next, top it with zucchini squash on the outer edges. Continue with the red and yellow peppers and onions on either side. Add the cannellini beans and olives to the center of the platter. Garnish with fresh oregano or parsley and lemon slices. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the zucchini and peppers (about 3-4 wedges). Keep cool and serve.
- You will need a grill pan, 12 inch skillet and a large jelly roll pan to cook each vegetable separately and simultaneously.
- Cook the vegetables ahead of time, then cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the platter.