Thanksgiving Turkey Veggie Tray Ideas

These Thanksgiving turkey veggie tray ideas are so easy to make––and so fun for both plant-based eaters and children!

A table topped with different types of vegetables

How about a cute Thanksgiving turkey veggie tray appetizer?

This adorable turkey veggie tray ideas are sure to make anyone on your guest list say, “gobble, gobble!” Plus, the veggie platter ideas make it so much fun to munch on vegetables come Thanksgiving day.

Here are two Thanksgiving veggie tray ideas that are pretty quick to whip up. Plus, they’re great activities to rope the kiddos into helping you with. 

I love Thanksgiving!

In my opinion, Thanksgiving is the best holiday ever. My family and I spend several days celebrating it. We even have a second Thanksgiving No. 2 on Friday or Saturday. Sometimes it’s with family friends, and sometimes it’s a Friendsgiving celebration.

For about 30 years, I celebrated Thanksgiving with same couple dozen friends and family. Of course, the crew has grown over the years, as friends have gotten married and had children of their own.

Below is a photo of my childhood friends and I––I’m the one at the front!–celebrating Thanksgiving together when we were very, very young!

Now, let’s talk about how to make those turkey veggie trays!

A group of people sitting at a table

Ingredients

A couple of years ago, my mom and I started a new tradition: preparing a yearly turkey vegetable tray.

As a pescatarian, this is a way for me to get my turkey fix during Thanksgiving—and is a great way for guests to fill up on nutrient-rich veggies.

After that initial year, making a Thanksgiving veggie platter has become a yearly tradition for us. The turkey out of vegetables is a really cute turkey veggie tray recipe, and kids tend to love helping you put it together in the kitchen.

To make a turkey veggie tray, all you really need is a ton of vegetables!

I find that baby carrots, yellow squash, cucumbers, celery, green and red bell peppers, broccoli florets, cherry or grape tomatoes, cauliflower florets, and roasted red peppers work the best.

Olives are also great for making the eyes of the turkey!

top down view of a tray of vegetables arranged in a pattern that looks like a turkey

Step-by-step instructions

Because I love Thanksgiving so much, I’m going to share not one but two Thanksgiving vegetable tray recipes with you.

They’re both super easy to make and great to pair with a cottage cheese spread, a yogurt veggie dip, ranch dip, or hummus.

Helpful kitchen tools

You’ll find these kitchen items helpful for making and serving your turkey veggie tray:

Turkey Veggie Tray #1

To make this turkey veggie tray, vertically halve a yellow squash. Slice off a small portion off the bottom, and set aside. Stack the squash two halves in the center of the tray.

Place celery pieces around the top portion of the squash. Then place baby carrots in a layer on top of the celery, leaving a gap at the top of the celery so some is visible.

At the bottom of the tray, set cucumber slices around the squash. Slice remaining yellow squash into “legs,” and place underneath the squash’s body.

Slice olives in half, using the pieces as eyes and feet.

Slice the peppers, using the red bell pepper bottom as the turkey’s headpiece for the turkey veggie tray. Place remaining pepper rings on top of this, setting aside a small bell pepper piece to cut into a triangle for the turkey’s nose.

Turkey Veggie Tray #2

To make this turkey veggie tray, place the tomatoes in the center of a large oval tray. To the left of the tomatoes, place the broccoli. Place the kalamata olives below the tomatoes.

Arrange the cauliflower to the right of the tomatoes, placing sections of green olives below and to the right of the cauliflower.

Above the broccoli, place a small row of green olives; next to that and above the tomatoes, arrange the celery slices.

Place the baby carrots to the right of the celery and above the cauliflower. Halve the yellow squash vertically, then slice the top piece in half horizontally and again vertically. Use half of what’s left as the turkey head.

Place a kalamata olive as the nose and a kalamata olive slice as the eye.

Use a roasted red pepper piece as the mouth, and place the remaining roasted red peppers below the cauliflower.

Slice off two small vertical pieces from the remaining squash, making a triangle indent for the feet of the turkey veggie tray. Then place these pieces at the bottom of the turkey, below the kalamata olives.

Each year, we serve the platter alongside the other appetizers, and the veggies always go really quickly—although no one ever wants to eat the turkey’s little olive eyes!

A table topped with plates of food for Thanksgiving

Recipe FAQs

Is it cheaper to make your own veggie tray?

It absolutely is! Buying and slicing up your own vegetables for a veggie tray costs much less than buying a pre-made veggie platter at the supermarket.

What vegetables do you put on a veggie tray?

The sky is the limit! You can use any vegetables you’d like. In this veggie tray, I use baby carrots, celery, yellow squash, cucumbers, and bell peppers. But you can use any veggies that you’d like.

How many vegetables do you need for 20 people?

This is a great question! You’ll need about 4 ounces per guest. This equates to a quarter pound. If you have 20 guests coming, you’ll need 5 pounds of veggies.

More plant-based Thanksgiving recipes

If you enjoy these turkey veggie tray ideas, you may also like:

Need more Thanksgiving recipe ideas? Your wish is my command! Take a look at my plant-based Thanksgiving ideas.

a tray of vegetables arranged in a pattern that looks like a turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey Veggie Tray Ideas

These Thanksgiving turkey veggie tray ideas are so easy to make––and so fun for both plant-based eaters and children!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 20

Ingredients
  

Thanksgiving Veggie Tray #1

  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 kalamata olives
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 2 seedless cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 pound celery, de-stemmed and sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper

Thanksgiving Veggie Tray #2

  • cups green olives (I used garlic-stuffed ones)
  • cups kalamata olives
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups celery, de-stemmed and sliced
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • cups baby carrots
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • ½ cup roasted red peppers
  • ½ yellow squash

Instructions
 

Thanksgiving Veggie Tray #1

  • Vertically halve the squash; slice off a small portion off the bottom, and set aside. Stack the squash two halves in the center of the tray.
  • Place celery pieces around the top portion of the squash; then place baby carrots in a layer on top of the celery, leaving a gap at the top of the celery so some is visible.
  • At the bottom of the tray, set cucumber slices around the squash.
  • Slice remaining yellow squash into "legs," and place underneath the squash's body.
  • Slice olives in half, using the pieces as eyes and feet.
  • Slice the peppers, using the red bell pepper bottom as the turkey's headpiece. Place remaining pepper rings on top of this, setting aside a small bell pepper piece to cut into a triangle for the turkey's nose.
  • Enjoy with your favorite dip!

Thanksgiving Veggie Tray #2

  • Place the tomatoes in the center of a large oval tray. To the left of the tomatoes, place the broccoli; place the kalamata olives below the tomatoes.
  • Arrange the cauliflower to the right of the tomatoes, placing sections of green olives below and to the right of the cauliflower.
  • Above the broccoli, place a small row of green olives; next to that and above the tomatoes, arrange the celery slices.
  • Place the baby carrots to the right of the celery and above the cauliflower. Halve the yellow squash vertically, then slice the top piece in half horizontally and again vertically. Use half of what's left as the turkey head.
  • Place a kalamata olive as the nose and a kalamata olive slice as the eye.
  • Use a roasted red pepper piece as the mouth, and place the remaining roasted red peppers below the cauliflower.
  • Slice off two small vertical pieces from the remaining squash, making a triangle indent for the feet. Then place these pieces at the bottom of the turkey, below the kalamata olives.
Keyword Holiday, Thanksgiving, Vegetable tray, Veggies
Did you make this recipe?Mention @amydgorin and tag #plantbasedwithamy
Looking for healthy Thanksgiving vegetable side dishes? These Thanksgiving veggie tray ideas are the star of the show! Whip up one of these turkey veggie tray ideas today. #thanksgiving #veggietray #turkeytray #turkey #appetizer #vegetables #vegetarian

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know if you whip up one of these vegetable platter ideas. Which of these vegetable platter ideas do you think is the cutest? What are your Thanksgiving family traditions? 

Appetizer | Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Holiday | Low Sodium | No Added Sugar | No Bake | Nut Free | Paleo | Pescatarian | Recipes (Organizational) | Side Dish | Snack | Vegan | Vegetarian | Whole30 |

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