Part of Thanksgiving

How to Make a Turkey Veggie Tray

Dress up your Thanksgiving table without cooking a thing.

There are so many inspired and fun recipes here on it can be hard to decide exactly which one to start with. This Turkey Veggie Tray, however, is a no-brainer. It is hands down the most fun you will ever have NOT cooking a Thanksgiving turkey. Here is the original turkey appetizer recipe, and I thought it would be fun to break down it down, step by step. You can certainly change up your veggies here based on your preferences — once you get going, the creative possibilities are pretty endless. I opted for standard vegetable platter fare, and that’s what I will help you get started with here. 

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This process will actually go rather quickly if you take the time to wash and prep all your veggies ahead of time. You’ll need 1 bunch of sturdy lettuce (opt for red leaf or, as pictured here, Savoy cabbage leaves), 1 yellow squash, 1 cucumber or zucchini, 4 celery ribs, 4 carrots, 1/2 a red bell pepper, 2 cups snap peas, 4 radishes, 1/2 a red onion, 4 large mushrooms, 2 cups cauliflower florets, and 2 cups of broccoli (optional and not pictured with my completed bird).


For the squash, cucumber or zucchini and carrots, cut them in half crosswise and then halve the two pieces lengthwise. Proceed cutting them into thin strips.

You will cut the radishes into thin slices, the peppers into thin strips, the mushrooms into thin strips (stems removed), and the cauliflower/broccoli into florets. Cut your half a red onion in half crosswise and then proceed to cut it into thin strips. Try to keep the pie-shaped onion slices together as best you can.



Making the dip for your Turkey Veggie Tray is quick work with a food processor. You can also use a blender. You will need 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 4 ounces cubed cheddar cheese, 4 ounces sour cream, 1 teaspoon season salt and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika.
Pulse in your food processor or blender until smooth.

You will need to remove the lid and scrape down the sides several times during the processing to yield a smooth dip.


Choose your platter and lay down your lettuce or cabbage leaves in a fan pattern. Place a bowl upside down on the ends to fasten them in place. Then spread the bowl with your prepared cheese spread. The spread/dip works like glue during your turkey build.

Next, layer your prepped vegetables so that they look like feathers.


Here’s where you will give your turkey more than just feathers and fanfare. This part of the build is for the turkey’s body and head. Cauliflower and broccoli can be stacked against the radishes while mushrooms are carefully layered like bricks up the front of the spread-covered bowl.

Bring the mushrooms all the way up and around so they almost resemble the petals of a flower. You will need 1 whole radish for the head. Situate the head right in the center. You’ll also need 2 peppercorns for the eyes, 3 sun dried tomatoes for the wattle, and 1 thin slice of yellow bell pepper for the beak. Use a dab of the cheese spread to hold these pieces in place.

Serve your Turkey Veggie Tray with the remaining dip on the side for a simple appetizer that makes a stellar buffet centerpiece!

About Heather T.

Heather, who runs, has been making messes in the kitchen since she was a little kid when her mom handed her a cook book and told her, “If you can read, you can cook.” Today she serves up fresh, healthy eats, easy weeknight meals and decadent sweet treats.