Here are two examples - a mixed fruit platter and a relish dish.
- Start with color planning. So for a veggie platter, I plan on getting lots of colors on the platter, not just green.
- Get some pretty green stuff. If you have an herb garden, this is really easy - just go pick some sprigs! If not, get a little extra of something you are using in your recipes - parsley, cilantro, dill, lettuce leaves, or even the greens off of your celery or carrots. Put any big leaves like lettuce or chard down first, before you start arranging.
- Split each item into multiple groups. So, instead of putting all the grapes together, plan on three groups of grapes on one platter. This tends to create that abundant look (and avoids the generic purchased platter look).
- Place your groups around the platter in a balanced, but not even, fashion. So if you can do three groups of olives, you will put the largest at one corner of a triangle, then a medium at the far corner, then a small group at the third point. Alternate the colors, putting orange next to green, next to white, next to red.
- Add the rest of your garnishes, aiming for pops of color and a lush look, even if you don't stick to all the same time of item as your tray. For example, a few black grapes accenting a vegetable platter along with herbs will provide that splash. Try a few capers or cocktail onions on top of a dip orsome olives in your veggie tray.