How to Build Your Pinterest-Worthy Platter (Plus 3 Appetizer Recipes!)

No need to order a fancy appetizer platter to wow your guests when you can create your own with our step-by-step guide, with options to customize to your taste and accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions.

Elevate a simple combination of cheeses, meats, vegetables, fruit and crackers with a few creative presentation tricks. Build your own with this easy formula, or replicate ours, an eye-catching plant-based spread. 

  1. Select two or three bowls or ramekins. Fill them with foods that can leak, such as sauces and dips, or jarred items like olives and pickles. Place them first on your platter. 
  2. Choose a mix of hard and soft cheeses. This can include a combination of cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk cheeses (or plant-based nut cheeses). Cut up some of the hard cheeses into slices and crumble blocks of cheese like blue cheese. 
  3. Select one or two varieties of crackers. Fan them out. 
  4. Bring on the veg! Add both raw and roasted veggies. 
  5. Fill large areas with fresh fruit. Use different colors and vary the cuts (slices, wedges, bunches of grapes). 
  6. Vary the presentation of meats, if using. Fold salami in half then in half again to form a flower. Other meats can be rolled. For a plant-based crowd, simply add more veg such as endive leaves or fennel. 
  7. Fill any empty spaces. Salty nuts and dried fruit like figs or dates can fill those pockets. 
  8. Add a pop of color. Try rosemary sprigs, greens or edible flowers.

1. Roasted Squash & Sweet Potatoes

Halve, seed and slice 1 acorn squash into ½-inch half-moons. Cut 1 sweet potato into 1-inch wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and tender. Set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate until use.

2. Lemon Cashew Dip

In a blender, blend 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 2½ tbsp raw cashew butter, 1 small lemon, zested and juiced, 1 small clove garlic, minced, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, ½ tsp sea salt, ground black pepper, to taste, plus 2 tbsp water until smooth. Refrigerate several hours to thicken.

3. The Plant-Based Paleo Spread

With only plant-based ingredients and no grains or dairy, this easy platter will accommodate most dietary restrictions. Customize it using the tips above to make it your own. 

Written by Pamela Salzman for Clean Eating Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to


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