We have been taking full advantage of the beautiful bounty of fresh summer vegetables readily available at our local farmer’s markets lately. Not just for a juicy tomato sandwich, or for a savory side of sauteed squash (bonus points for alliteration!), but for the real gift of the Southern summer– a vegetable plate!
There is hardly a vegetable that I don’t like, so I could have a plate FULL and be happy for dinner. BUT, there is definitely a difference between a good vegetable plate for dinner, and a great one. One that will qualify as a meal, and one that will really satisfy. One that will work for a vegetarian, versus one that is good enough for a meat and potatoes kind of eater! And I have figured out what makes the difference.
A plate full of veggies all cooked the same way is no fun, and a plate of raw crudite is boring too. But a plate of several different vegetables- different varieties, textures, colors, and preparations makes for a great vegetable plate!
When I make a vegetable plate for dinner, I like to to do 4 or 5 vegetables, all prepared differently. I try to pick a variety-something served raw, something sauteed, something roasted and/or something fried (so it’s crispy), maybe a bread, something starchy (maybe a pasta or grain too), maybe a casserole or something baked, a cold salad, and other greens. A combination of five different options makes for the best vegetable plates.
If you are at a loss as to what to serve, here are some options for each variety:
#1 pick is always sliced tomatoes for the summertime! Basically a mealtime staple.
Okra and Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes
Butter Beans/Lima Beans
Black Eyed Peas
Macaroni and Cheese
Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
Traditional Pasta Salad
Do you like vegetable plates for dinner? I’d love to know your favorite combinations!