Looking for the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer? This Vegetable Turkey tray will make you the talk of your Thanksgiving dinner! Not only is it a healthy appetizer, but even the kids won’t complain about eating their veggies.

Appetizers are our favorite. Our guests are always huge fans of our Baked Brie Appetizer and our Spinach Artichoke Dip. These are great appetizers for a crowd!


How to make a turkey veggie tray

Veggie Turkey Tray

We are always looking for creative ways to celebrate the holidays. There are tons of great DIY decorations and delicious recipes out there. BUT, when we find one that combines creative DIY with food – let’s just say I get a little hyper about it and this Veggie Turkey Tray makes us downright giddy!

Picture this ….. it is Thanksgiving night. The table is set, the turkey is in the oven, side dishes are cooking, dessert is being chilled. Ding, Dong…the guests begin to arrive and what is the first thing they see….


This amazing display is the creation of Karen Havling! Karen is the creative genius behind this appetizer than went crazy viral. But thanks to one of my readers, Terrell, we found her and she was kind enough to share the how to make a vegetable turkey tray in a few easy steps!

Karen has made this for her Thanksgiving dinner the past few years. She has her work cut out for her with a part vegetarian family, part vegan and part meat eaters. Karen was up for the challenge and able to please everyone (’cause that is what a Hostess with the Mostess does, right!!)

How to make a Vegetable Turkey Tray

Vegetables Needed:

  • Red-leaf lettuce
  • Celery
  • Baby carrots
  • Asparagus spears
  • Red, yellow & green peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Yellow squash
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Black olives
  • Tooth pics
  1. Once the veggies are prepped, putting it together is quite simple and only takes a little longer than a standard veggie tray. You will use red-leaf lettuce, celery, baby carrots, asparagus spears that were blanched in boiling water for a minute or two and then plunged into ice water. Those form the tail.
  2. The body is red, yellow, and green peppers that have been halved lengthwise and then sliced.
  3. The breast is sliced cucumber, the head is a yellow squash and is held in place by the cucumbers and some grape tomatoes.
  4. The eyes are black olive slices, the beak is a triangle from the yellow pepper, and the waddle is a slice of the red pepper.
  5. The face pieces are held in place by toothpicks that have been cut in quarters ( only used the end pieces that have points). The feet/legs are celery sticks that are cut into “toes”.

Here is a smaller version that Karen also made!

small turkey veggie tray

BUT WAIT – my good friend Betsy just blew me away with this adorable version in a Turkey Fruit Tray!! Check it out!!

Turkey Fruit Tray

The only thing you have to be careful about with starting out with this amazing appetizer is the expectations are set very high for the rest of the night!

Looking for some other Thanksgiving appetizer ideas?

More Easy Thanksgiving Appetizers - can't get enough Easy Thanksgiving AppetizersAlso – check out:
Thanksgiving: Course 2.5 – Side Dishes
More Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Thanksgiving: Course 3 – Dessert…saving the best for last

Thanks so much, Karen, for sharing your creation! Can’t wait to see what you come up with for Christmas!!

Article originally posted November 16, 2013.

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  1. I made this back in 2017 and everyone loved it and wanted to know where I had bought it. When I told them I had made it, I had to show them the picture from the internet I had used.
    I am looking to do a scarecrow this year.

  2. Definitely a unique way of presenting the vegetables, I’m going to try a variation of this for my next party!