cruditÉs

raw vegetables to me and you


'Crudités' is a term used for either small pieces of vegetables served with a delicious tasty dip or for a selection of vegetable salads presented in separate dishes. They can be lightly cooked or raw vegetables, especially if fresh spring vegetables are plentiful. They are always beautifully presented as part of the hors d'oeuvres table.

This as you can imagine is an extremely healthy diet – it is part of the Mediterranean diet, which is one of the healthiest diets for everyone. Although France is a meat eating country, it has a plentiful supply of the very best fruits and vegetables, and this is why they include them at meal times as part of their natural diet.

They are presented in small quantities as part of the meal, in this way everyone engages in a family meal of the highest quality, yet not an expensive meal as you might think.

Strictly speaking there are no set recipes for crudités. The French housewife will prepare vegetables that are available and plentiful at the time. She will not waste any as she will use any vegetables left over for a stir-fry, or they will go straight into the vegetable pot for a stock or stew.

Therefore, any of the following vegetables, can be used as examples of a colourful array of delicious tasty snacks to present on your table.



One of the most pleasurable dishes of crudités came my way a few years ago when I was cycling around the Loire valley. I stopped at lunchtime at a tiny auberge in the village of Panzoult, a few miles east of Chinon, and ordered the plat du jour, which started with crudités served with humus, a deliciously light mayonnaise and a chunk of baguette – superb, and yet so simple.


And when you have a group of friends at the table, crudités are a great way to get people started, picking, dipping and inevitably licking fingers – so don't forget the napkins.

Here is example of vegetables for making healthy vegetable crudités.

Choose your vegetables from those of the following that are in season, and wash and trim them.

Celery – cut into thin sticks

Carrots ­ cut into thin sticks, or if small left whole

Broccoli – broken into tiny florets

Cauliflower – broken into tiny florets

Bell peppers – deseeded and sliced into thin strips

Onions – Cut into very thin slices

Mushrooms – Cut into strips


All the above can be presented in individual dishes, or on one large plate as above and served with a variety of dressings or dips.

A mayonnaise dressing is a favourite, either freshly made or a good quality bought one. A mayonnaise verte or green mayonnaise is delicious and contains fresh herbs. A garlic mayonnaise is also delicious, or if you prefer you can very easily make a simple vinaigrette dressing.

Thinking differently, and serving small portions of vegetables in this way at your family meals is a sure way to encourage everyone to eat more healthily.

If your children have been reluctant to eat vegetables up until now, why not encourage them by making some colourful crudités, which can be stored in the refrigerator until you need them. They also make healthy snacks when you find yourself wanting to pick!

Cold sliced meats or fish can also be served on a platter as accompaniments along with paté and fresh crusty bread – together they will all make a wonderful display for your table.