“Seriously?” he said.
One look at my grazing table and my husband’s too-much-money-spent-on-food radar went bananas.
But for such an impressive and massive spread, it’s a deceptively cost-effective way to feed a crowd. It just looks expen$ive … which is sorta the point.
It’s loaded with veggies (cheap), various carbs (cheap), dips/hummus (pretty cheap), and the pièce de résistance: fancy cheese and charcuterie (not cheap, but worth it).
I made one of these for a party a couple weekends ago and now I CAN’T STOP making and thinking about them, mostly because they save me from myself.
Old me would plan for WAY too many apps and snacks, buy hundreds of dollars worth of ingredients, mismange my time leading up to the event, scramble to get things done, eff up multiple menu items, neglect others entirely due to lack of time … and let their ingredients languish in our fridge for the next several weeks.
Yes, hi, that’s me, the food blogger. SHAMEFUL.
With a grazing table, party prep is fun again and the pressure is off—because there are no recipes, rules or forgotton ingredients. Best of all, one grazing table/platter can be home to anything and everything you would want to nosh on (as evidenced in these beautiful works of art from Lush Platters).
And they only look intimidating to put together. I promise! Just follow these loose instructions/tips.
What you need for a grazing table
- Veggies (seedless cucumber, snap peas, carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery, radishes, etc.)
- Dips (hummus, spinach dip, onion dip, etc.)
- Salads (not the green kinds—the pasta or bean variety; I used a mediterranean bean salad)
- Crackers, breadsticks, pretzels
- Toasted bagguette/pita slices
- Fruit (grapes, strawberries, apples, figs, etc.—fresh and dried)
- Cheese (Aged cheddar, manchego, goat cheese, brie, etc.)
- Charcuterie (I like prosciutto and salami)
- Optional: something prepared like crostini (mine had goat cheese and radish), bacon wrapped dates, prosciutto-wrapped melon, etc.
- Craft or parchment paper
- A table (duh)
How to arrange a grazing table.
- Cover your table (or tray/board/platter) with a layer of parchment paper.
- Wash and cut your veggies. Carrots look pretty peeled and sliced in half length wise; cherry tomatoes on the stem add a farm-to-table vibe; you get the idea.
- Cut the cheese (hehehehe). Match-stick shape/style cuts are faaaancy and unexpected.
- Start with your dips, salads and anything else that needs to be contained in a bowl. If they’re store bought (no shame in that game), transfer them out of their plastic containters to bowls to
trick your guestsup the aesthetic. Place them in various spots on the table/board with enough room in between them to arrange the rest of the ingredients.
- Next, place any larger cheese wedges (like the brie) on the table/platter, again, allowing for enough space between the dips and cheese wedges.
- Fill in the spaces around the dips with veggies, crackers, crostini and meats in small clusters, filling all empty spaces.
- To keep things from looking to fussy or uniform, garnish parts of the board—marmalade on the brie; dried fruits scattered across the cheeses; springs of herbs. Go nuts (literally. Nuts are good for scattering, too).
Happy grazing y’all!