Delicious food is only one piece of any meal or snack.
Presentation is the other equally important piece and the one that’s most often overlooked. Presentation is often the thing that magically transforms everyday sliced fruit and veggies into an elegant dish!
Here’s a quick and simple way to arrange a cheese-and-veggie plate that’s a bit more interesting than just grouping each food by itself.
Create this Split Balance plate:
- Divide grape tomato halves evenly on the left and right sides of the plate.
- Fill in the remaining space on the top with Persian cucumbers, sprinkled with Italian seasoning.
- Arrange Jarlsberg cheese on the bottom.
- Fill center with blue cheese.
- Garnish with a few basil leaves or other fresh herb leaves.
Think of the plate above in terms of 4 main foods:
- Food 1 — Grape tomatoes
- Food 2 — Persian cucumbers
- Food 3 — Jarlsberg cheese
- Food 4 — Blue cheese
Now, let’s break it down even more.
Food 1 and Food 2 are both a different type of vegetable. Food 3 and Food 4 are both a different type of cheese.
So, all you need is two different veggies and two different types of cheese, plus a sprinkle of dried herbs and a few fresh herb leaves.
How do you choose which veggie to start with?
If you veer more towards the practical side, you’d probably go with the veggie you have the most of. Or the one you like the best. Or maybe the one you want to get rid of.
While that will certainly get the job done, it may not be the most attractive option. Remember, we’re talking about PRESENTATION here, the way the food looks on the plate and the way the plate looks as a whole.
Think of the plate as a canvas for your work of art.
You’re creating that work of art with the veggies, cheese, and herbs.
This is where the Elements of Design can help out. I taught these to all my students, even kindergarteners, so no need to be intimidated. And no art experience needed at all!
The Design Basics for Beginners page is here for you to reference any time, so take a peek whenever you’re ready…and tell a friend!
For this plate, I’m going to focus on color.
Food 1 is the vibrant red tomatoes. They’re divided evenly and symmetrically across the plate, which means they’re nicely balanced.
Food 2 is the not-so-vibrant cucumbers, with just a touch of green. More about green later on…
Foods 3 and 4 are both pale, neutral cheeses, adding more textural interest than color to the plate. Nothing wrong with that! They’re both delicious!
Now back to the green.
On this plate, there are the pale green cucumbers highlighted with a little dark green. There are also a few fresh basil leaves on the opposite side of the plate, on top of the cream-colored cheese.
Since the red tomatoes are so nicely balanced on the left and right sides of the plate, the top and bottom portions of the plate need to be balanced, too.
So how do you do that when using such different foods?
It’s really pretty simple!
It’s all about balance — split balance in this case.
To balance barely-there neutrals with vibrant colors, just use a few pieces of the more vibrant color in the space that has the plainer color.
So for this plate, I used a few fresh basil leaves on top of the Jarlsberg cheese. If you don’t have fresh basil or other fresh herbs, you could use a few cucumber slices, a few leaves of fresh spinach, or maybe a few green olives.
Any green food will work, as long as it tastes good with the other foods on the plate.
Taste and presentation are equally important.
So there’s no point putting anything on the plate just to make it look good, unless it also tastes good with the other foods on the plate.
Even if you love M&Ms, Gummy Bears, and Skittles, a few on this veggie-and-cheese plate would make everything less appealing, and so, less attractive.
Remember the goal — delicious, beautiful, healthy foods.
Thanks for stopping by!
If you’re new here, check out the Start Here page. There you will learn about the Keys to the Kingdom, which are the guiding principles of The Paprika Palace. Or check out the Home page for a basic overview and a peek into the three main pillars of The Paprika Palace:
- Healthy Foods (Keeping your Kitchen Well-Stocked),
- Simplified Shopping (Grocery Lists by store, with links for online shopping coming soon), and
- Quick and Easy Recipes (Things you can easily make if you keep your kitchen stocked with items from The Paprika Palace Grocery Lists).
If you’re wondering about cost, take a look at the Let’s Talk Money page. There you will find monthly grocery spending reports, with itemized lists so you can see exactly what we spend on groceries, including what and where we buy things. And While Things Cook, brighten your mood, pique your curiosity or learn something new on the Just for Fun page.