Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! Getting together with family, eating delicious food, watching football…what’s not to love?
My outlook on this food-centered holiday changed a bit when my kids’ food allergies were thrown into the mix. When they were babies, it didn’t matter too much if we had wheat free stuffing, dairy free mashed potatoes, and egg free dessert. But as they became old enough to know that they could not partake with the rest of the family, it became more difficult.
In November 2008, when my kids were four and two, I was getting ready to host Thanksgiving. I remembered when I was growing up we would make little candy turkeys for each table setting. Each little turkey was made with Ritz crackers as the base and back, chocolate candies for the body, and candy corn for the feet and beak. I wanted to continue this tradition but at the time was at a loss for how I would substitute all of those ingredients.
I thought about other traditions we might start that would be more allergy friendly and at the same time, was trying to think of an allergy friendly appetizer that everyone would enjoy.
Making New Traditions
Killing two birds with one stone (ha ha), the turkey veggie platter was born! We made our first turkey veggie platter in 2008 and have made one every year since.
Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year or heading to Grandma’s house, this turkey veggie platter adds some fun to the menu.
This Thanksgiving appetizer is healthy and so much fun to make! Enlist the help of your kids and cut up extra veggies. They tend to munch while assembling!
- Romaine or leaf lettuce
- 1 cucumber sliced
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- baby carrots
- 2 black beans or black olives
- 1/3 celery stalk
Slice the bell peppers crosswise and then cut each circle in half. Cut one 1/2" piece off of one of the red pepper slices and set aside (this will be used for the face). Set aside the bottom part of the peppers for the turkey's body.
For the feathers: Cover a platter with the leaves of lettuce. To make the turkey's feathers, start with forming a circle with the cucumber slices towards the bottom of the platter. Above the cucumbers, form a semi-circle with the red peppers, then the yellow peppers, then the green peppers. Place the baby carrots vertically above the last row of peppers.
To make the turkey's body and face: Break two toothpicks in half. Put two of the toothpicks where the eyes will go. Push the black beans onto the toothpick making sure that the toothpick doesn't go all the way through. Cut a triangle out of the leftover bottom from the yellow pepper. Attach with a toothpick below the eyes. Attach the reserved red pepper piece to the left of the yellow pepper "beak".
For the Legs: Cut the piece of celery in half lengthwise. On each piece, carefully slice lengthwise from the end of the celery piece to almost the center. Do this twice on each piece. Place the celery in ice water and place in the refrigerator until the ends curl. When curled, nestle the un-curled end under the cucumbers.