turkey veggie platter healthy thanksgiving appetizer kid-friendly

You know that moment when everyone descends on the first appetizer you set out because they’re ravenous? Take advantage of that opportunity if you have kids, even on a holiday. Make the first appetizer something healthy for everyone (including you!) to snack on before the big binge that is Thanksgiving.

Last year I served this kitchy vegetarian “turkey” veggie platter on Thanksgiving. It was a big hit and fairly easy if you don’t mind cutting up some veggies. I used the bottom of a pepper as the head, a baby carrot stub as the beak (I put into the pepper head with a toothpick that I broke in half so it wasn’t too long). I used mini chocolate chips as the eyes for the turkey veggie platter and I am going to make a confession here. I’ve gotten the mini chip eyes to stick with toothpick pieces in the past, but for this particular platter the mini chocolate chips were dry and split every time I tried to put the end of a toothpick in them so I used glue. Gasp! I know. I don’t usually resort to inedibles, and I’m sure there is an edible alternative (cream cheese?) that one of you will think of, but I needed a quick fix and just told everyone to keep away from the bird head!

You can use whatever veggies you want to surround the dip and make the turkey veggie platter body. I especially loved the blanched asparagus tail (toss asparagus into boiling water for about 1 minute, until bright green, then plunge immediately into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep the bright green color and crisp texture). The peppers are also a nice touch for a turkey veggie platter because they give the platter a ruffled feather look.

Use any dip you and your family like for this turkey veggie platter. We are big fans of Labneh (click on link for my Kitchen Spotlight post on Labneh), a thick and luscious Middle Eastern yogurt spread that’s higher in protein and low in lactose. I buy Labneh in NYC at Sahadi’s Middle Eastern Market in Brooklyn, or at Zabar’s on the UWS. I found Labneh in Rochester, NY when I was visiting my fam for Thanksgiving at Wegmans (Perinton location, near the hummus), so I served it up with the turkey veggie platter. You could use whole milk Greek yogurt, which is similar but not quite as rich and think. It would be great with some chopped mint, dill or any other herbs that you like, but I kept it simple for the little people when I served it with this turkey veggie platter.

Hope this turkey veggie platter is as much of a hit with your family as it was with mine. Added bonus: Whatever portion of the turkey veggie platter is uneaten you can use in tacos, burritos, omelets, a stir-fry or salad later in the week.