Happy times during the holidays call for fun and easy appetizers. Give yourself a break from the whirlwind of cooking and planning by serving a cute crudité platter that comes together in no time. This Christmas tree is adorned with a cheerful garland and bright ornaments, and topped with a yellow bell pepper “star.” Mushrooms stand in for the tree trunk, and a snowy white background, arranged out of cauliflower and leftover mushrooms, gives guests even more to munch on.

Serve with a creamy cheese dip to complement the crunch of the fresh veggies, or try one of my favorite dips: Puree a 15 oz can of drained white beans with a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of lemon zest and a couple of good squeezes of lemon (salt and pepper to taste).

Read on for the tree-mendous recipe…

Crudité Christmas Tree
You can also try jicama, fennel or cucumber in place of (or in addition to) some of the veggies.

  • 1 pound celery, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into pieces
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, kept whole except for 3 thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced into rounds
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into pieces

On a large platter, create the outline of the tree, including the tree trunk, with celery sticks. Fill in the tree with broccoli, and fill in the trunk with sliced mushrooms.

Arrange carrots and cherry tomatoes in the shape of a garland on top of the broccoli, and place a few tomatoes at the end of the celery “branches” for ornaments. Turn yellow bell pepper on its side and cut horizontally to create the star. Surround entire tree with cauliflower and mushrooms, and serve with your favorite dip.