Forget the same old veggie tray ideas, these little veggie cups are the perfect individual appetizers in cups for any occasion… An easy vegetarian appetizer, these party snack cups make for easy cleanup and NO double dipping!
Individual Appetizers In Cups
We’re keeping things low key around our house this summer, so I’ve been so I’ve been on the hunt for easy summer entertaining ideas. And it just doesn’t doesn’t get much easier than this simple vegetable appetizer idea!
These little veggie cups are perfectly portioned, portable (so guests aren’t tied to the vegetable platter), AND they prevent double-dipping — something my kids are notorious for doing. Grab and go raw veggies and dip are a great option for just about any occasion: bridal or baby showers, graduation parties, birthday parties, summer cookouts, tailgating, holiday gatherings, etc.
Or as a fun vegetable side dish to get your kids to eat more fresh vegetables at lunch and dinner! In fact, I’ve even served them as their actual lunch, paired with a small cheese board.
Seriously, forget serving up veggie plates, nothing I’ve tried has been more effective at getting my kids to eat the rainbow! We’ve even made similar fruit cups with dip using this healthy fruit dip…
Need a last-minute EASY appetizer recipe? I’m not even sure this qualifies as a “recipe”, but this veggie appetizer will be your new go-to option! These grab and go raw veggies and dip are super quick and SO easy to make, but keep reading, because I do have some helpful tips for best results and keeping them fresh.
Prep Your Fresh Veggies
As simple as these individual veggie cups are, they’re best when filled with crisp raw vegetables. Cut vegetables can get kind of wilty and dehydrated if they’re exposed in the refrigerator without being covered, although covering them loosely with plastic wrap is a great way to help prevent this. Not to mention, the cups do take up quite a bit of room, which is always at a premium in our fridge…
So for the best result, I don’t recommend making you veggie dip cups too far in advance of your occasion. Instead, I recommend cutting up all of your different vegetables in advance and storing them in covered containers. Then you can assemble your veggie cups shortly before your event, so they can be served when they’re still fresh and vibrant..
Here I used a colorful mixture of yellow and orange bell peppers, sugar snap peas, celery, and sweet grape tomatoes. Other choices might include: red cherry tomatoes, red peppers, radishes, green onions, baby carrots, green beans, asparagus, green and black olives, or even endive lettuce. Basically any kind of flavorful vegetables with bright colors that you’d normally put on a crudite platter are a good choice.
You can easily tailor these to the event, going basic or upscale depending on the occasion!
Start With A Thick Veggie Dip
The key to a really good veggie cup is starting with a thick and creamy dip that won’t thin out as it warms up. Ranch dressing just won’t cut it here. It’s too runny and drippy for this purpose, and just ends up being messy…
I typically use this homemade ranch dip for these appetizer cups. To be honest, it’s actually my favorite 3-ingredient chip dip recipe, but it turns out this delicious dip pairs well with both chips AND veggies! Made with a mixture of sour cream, chive & onion cream cheese, and dry ranch dressing mix, it’s the perfect consistency for these veggie dip cups…
Of course there are a number of premade ranch dips that you can pick up at the grocery store, too. Just make sure that the one you choose is substantial enough for use in these cups. There are definitely some varieties that are called a “dip” but are just as runny as bottled ranch dressing!
Individual Veggie Cups
Assembling the individual cups is pretty straightforward once you have chosen a dip and have your different types of vegetables prepped. I used some sturdy 9-oz. cut crystal-style plastic cups (high sides are essential for keeping the veggies in place), and I added two tablespoons of vegetable dip to the bottom of each cup.
PRO TIP: Use one of these 2-tablespoon cookie scoops to make portioning out your veggie dip super easy!
After adding the dip, I simply arranged my veggies in each cup, using toothpicks to hold smaller dippers, like the grape tomatoes. They will make eating them easier, too — no one wants creamy dip-covered fingers from fishing out the tomatoes. Regular wooden toothpicks are just fine, but the frilly ones might be a fun option, depending on the occasion!
Veggie Cup Tray vs Standard Veggie Tray
I’m not opposed to a traditional arranged vegetable tray — they’re probably a more attractive option in some cases. But you just can’t beat the convenience of these veggie appetizers! And when you arrange the cups on a sturdy tray, they’re every bit as portable as your standard veggie tray.
My advice is to choose a tray that can stand up to being filled with ice. Fresh vegetables ARE perishable, so surrounding these veggie cups with ice is a really good idea when they’ll be sitting out for awhile, especially on a hot summer day. Plus there’s nothing I hate more than warm ranch dressing/dip, LOL — just one of my quirks!
Serve these veggie cup appetizers at your next party with potato chips, pita chips, and/or a veggie platter of additional cut up veggies to finish up any remaining dip in each cup.
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If you’re looking for a more portable way to prep a healthy veggie snack, check out these turkey and cheese pinwheels or hummus and veggies snack boxes that I like to prep for my kids’ soccer and softball games! This list of cheap healthy snacks for road trips has lots more ideas, as well.