A dinner party centerpiece can do one of two things: take up unnecessary space, or enhance the overall vibe. This year, let your Thanksgiving centerpiece be part of the meal for a truly unforgettable feast. This is one holiday that is all about the food, so why not embrace it?
We’ve long admired the elegant and actually delicious edible centerpieces from top plant-based catering co, Heirloom LA. Just ahead, discover how to make this year’s version of their signature (and always gorgeous) edible DIY — and why we’ll never think of a holiday tablescape the same way…
Heirloom LA teamed up with Archive Rentals to create a lush tablescape that you can easily mimic at home. This design is always a crowd pleaser and invites guests to talk with one another as they mingle over the colorful platters of food in front of them.
The menu is very simple — it’s all vegan with roasted vegetables, beans, grilled breads and dips. It is an easy menu to prepare, and one that won’t break your wallet, yet it still has a glorious wow effect. The secret is to take the same kind of care with the food arrangement as you would with flower arrangements because, basically, the foods are the flowers in this design.
Reduce waste | We are always looking for ways to reduce waste, and as much as we love big clusters of flowers as a centerpiece, they typically get tossed afterwards, making their way to the landfill. So, why not use food as a centerpiece? Sure, we’ll use flowers here and there to add a delicate touch, but they are edible and water wise.
it’s a Low-cost set up | Pretty much everything in this food set-up is from a hardware store or Ebay. Long strips of lumber act as a base for bowls of food placed intermittently. Low-cost tiles are used as risers to add height for whatever bowls and platters you have on hand. Driftwood, stones or even beautiful whole produce can be dotted about the table for visual interest.
Use Thoughtful placement | For long tables, make sure each guest can reach all menu items. This can mean placing two to three platters of the same item on each table, depending on how long it is. Guests don’t want to reach too far over each other, so keep this as the general rule when placing items.
KEEP IT SEASONAL | Let nature conduct your color palate. When shopping at the farmer’s market, you will find produce at its peak level of flavor and color. For this fall table, we used pumpkin, beans and heirloom tomatoes to highlight fall. The set-up is vegan but you could easily add platters of meat if you so choose.
USE YOUR BEST CHINA | This is a time for your china to shine bright. Archive Rentals gave us a complete cool-color contrast to use with our warm-color food palate — and this works to bring a balance to both. In the same way, the feminine edges of the dinner plates soften up the roughness of the food platters.
LITTLE BOWLS FILL EMPTY SPACES | Little bowls can be filled with sauces or dips, depending on the menu. We included guacamole and a sunchoke and parsnip hummus (see recipe below), a great base for bruschetta. Just like creating flower arrangements, there aren’t many rules to this tablescape, just guidelines. The most important? Embrace your creativity with food as your medium.
Sunchoke + Parsnip Hummus
Makes 1 quart or 8 servings
cutting board and knife
pot for boiling
food processor (blender is okay, but you will need to stir while blending so try using a small metal ladle, as that will avoid the blades)
cookie sheet/baking pan lined with aluminum foil lightly sprayed/wiped with oil (trust us, you don’t want to clean the natural caramelized sugar from the parsnips and sunchokes out of the oven)
1 sunchoke, washed, sliced in 1-inch rounds (peels are okay!)
1 parsnip, peeled and cut in ½ inch rounds (peels won’t hurt you, but it will taste more earthy)
1 Granny Smith/Pink Lady apple (or any tart apple), peeled, sliced and tossed with a little lemon to prevent browning
1 cup chopped garlic
1 cup chopped onions
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 cup olive oil/sunflower oil
½ cup white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a pot, combine parsnips, sunchokes, vinegar, one pinch of salt and cover with water. Boil for 4-5 minutes. Remove from liquid with strainer/slotted spoon and transfer to mixing bowl.
Toss cooked parsnips and sunchokes with garlic, onions, apple slices, one pinch salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil, toss and transfer to baking sheet. Roast in oven uncovered for 15-20 minutes our until golden brown on the edges. Test one for tenderness by smushing it with the back of a spoon. If it smushes easy, you are ready.
Transfer hot baking sheet contents to the food processor immediately. Add remaining olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and be sure to scrape the baking sheet with the rubber spatula as there may be crispy crunchies still on the pan. This makes for added flavor. Blend/process on high for at least 1 minute or until smooth.
Transfer to bowl to cool uncovered at room temperature. This will help establish the starches and allow the vapor to evaporate away for a less liquid hummus.
Garnish with toasted sunflower seeds, sunflower oil and petals because, fun fact, sunchokes are the root of sunflowers!
Discover our OG fave edible Thanksgiving centerpiece from Heirloom LA here.