Food Art - Salad Decoration in a Cup

Updated on August 9, 2012

© All Rights Reserved

Salad decoration might sound like an unnecessary labor to some people. But believe it or not, how we see the food can affect how it tastes. For example, some people won't normally eat shrimp, rice and avocado together in one meal. Yet, when they see the three ingredients artistically mingled in the form of tempura sushi and daintily arranged on a rectangular porcelain plate, their appetite suddenly rises to its peak. It is the same story with salad. There's nothing very enticing about a messy pile of baby spinach, chopped lettuce and cherry tomatoes, except its abundant vitamins. However, if you transform those vegetables into lush ground cover, leaves and flowers, your plate of salad will become more than just a source of nutrients.

The rule of first impression is not only for humans; it also applies to food. Beauty can turn a mediocre dish into something worth remembering. Unless it is a hopelessly bad dish, the good first impression will likely overrule the simplicity of the food. Vegetable decoration is a great scheme to use when you want to impress your guests but don't have enough time or cooking skills to prepare something extraordinary. If your children won't eat anything but sugary cereal and greasy burgers, don't just keep nagging them to eat more greens and turnips. Instead, wow them with your nifty salad decoration and they might find vegetables more appetizing to eat.

Below are step-by-step instructions on how to turn simple vegetables into food art. Advanced artistry is not required. Basic knife skills and creativity are all you need.

Salad Decoration in an Ice-Cream Cup

Vegetables: a handful of baby spinach or other leafy vegetables, 2 cherry tomatoes, 3 mini sweet peppers, half medium-size cucumber

Container: Any clear ice-cream cup or wide-mouthed cocktail glass that is not too deep

Tools: sharp paring knife, leaf-shaped cookie cutter, vegetable peeler

Plus Points

  • This salad decoration idea is perfect for a cocktail party where the guests tend to enjoy wandering around, drinking, socializing and tasting small portions of food every now and then. Don't you agree it is much more convenient to walk around with a cup in your hands instead of a plate?
  • With this beautiful salad decoration, you won't really need to spruce up your buffet table with flowers or anything else. These cute cups of carved vegetables will do double duty.
  • Many children will love this. The idea of eating a plate of green leaves usually makes them crinkle their nose. A cup of edible art, however, could strike their curiosity quite a bit.
  • For those of you who want to have a Valentine's dinner at home, this salad decoration can add a romantic touch to your meal. Make two cups of this colorful salad, then pair them with a simple but elegant main course, such as filet mignon or roast duck. Decorate your dining table with a few candles. And that's it. Enjoy your romantic dinner!

Pepper Carving

  • Remove the stem from a mini pepper.
  • Insert the tip of your paring knife near the base of the pepper and drag it all the way to the tip.
  • Turn the pepper slightly and do the same thing. Keep turning and cutting about 6 more times to make 6 thin "petals" for your pepper flower.
  • Make two more pepper flowers using the same instructions.
  • Put all the carved peppers into a bowl of cool water. Allow them to soak in there for about half an hour. This process will bring your pepper flowers into their "blooming" state.


Cucumber Carving

  • Peel a cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. You will need only one half, so keep the other one in a refrigerator for other dishes.
  • Press a leaf-shaped cookie cutter on one end of the cucumber.
  • Once you get a leaf-shaped cucumber out of the cutter, use a paring knife to make a few little notches around the edges.
  • Repeat the instructions to make one more leaf.

Tomato Carving

  • Insert the tip of your knife into the middle of a tomato and make a small diagonal cut of about 1/8 inch long. Be careful not to pierce it all the way through the other side.
  • Make another diagonal cut next to the first one but in the opposite angle. Keep doing this zigzag pattern all the way around the tomato. This will divide it into two halves.
  • Gently pull the top and bottom of the tomato apart from each other with your hands. You will get two lovely "flower buds."
  • Repeat the instructions on the other tomato.

Assembling Your Salad

  • Cover the bottom of your ice-cream cup or cocktail glass with baby spinach.
  • Arrange the mini peppers, cucumber slices and tomato halves in a way that resembles a little floral centerpiece. There is no strict rule. Just follow your whim and creativity. Top with your choice of salad dressing and enjoy!

Still want more fun and challenges? Here are some really intriguing salad decoration ideas I have found on Youtube:

Salad Decoration Idea - Carrot Rose

Salad Decoration Idea - Zucchini Pinwheels

Questions & Answers


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    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

      Thanks, AnnaCia!

    • AnnaCia profile image

      AnnaCia 4 years ago

      WOW! Great job. Interesting Hub; the photos and videos are great. Yhank you for sharing..

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      Thank you! :)

    • profile image

      batool 5 years ago

      oh!! thanx a lot for such a gr8 garnishing ideas

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      @snappycanvas - Thanks a lot for stopping by. Glad you like these salad decoration ideas. :)

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      Thanks! :)

    • profile image

      anglowriter 6 years ago

      It's amazing how you can transform food into art!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      You're welcome, happypuppy. :)

    • happypuppy profile image

      happypuppy 6 years ago

      Wow...this is very pretty and the videos are very useful. Thanks for sharing! I would need to practice making them :)

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      Thanks. Kristy. :)

    • kristymckeown profile image

      kristymckeown 6 years ago from Havelock, Ontario

      Great work! I'll have to start practicing! And eating, yum.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      Thanks. Hope you try this sometime (and eat it!). =D

    • Jennie Demario profile image

      Venture Boyz 6 years ago from Floating in the clouds

      This was a fantastic read. I just love the pictures. After taking so much time and care to complete one of these masterpieces I do not know if I would have the heart to eat it. I could see that completed salad bowl as a decoration in my kitchen!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      @LittlePayday - Yeah, maybe this will convert you into a veggie eater! hehehe.... Thanks for dropping by :)

      @greatlove - Yay! Good luck. :)

    • greatlove profile image

      greatlove 6 years ago from Beaufort, NC

      Very beautiful! I'm going to give it a shoot!!! Wish me

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      TheListLady - You're welcome. And thanks for the read and sweet comment. :)

      @vitex - Why don't you give it a try just for fun? If the veggies don't come out so pretty, you can still eat them. :)

    • vitex profile image

      vitex 6 years ago from China

      it seems very delicious,but i can't are great?

    • TheListLady profile image

      TheListLady 6 years ago from New York City

      Oh fabulous! I have a dear friend coming for early dinner tomorrow and presenting beautiful nutritious food to each other is what we do. You have inspired me for vegetable ideas.

      Thanks a million! Well deserved hub of the day and rated up of course!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      @MyMastiffPuppies - You're fortunate indeed. When I was a kid, I didn't really like to eat veggies or fruits at all. I wouldn't even eat something sweet like apples. Then one day, my mom cut an apple into little heart-shape slices and that was the first time I agreed to try it! :)

      @anglnwu - Thanks! And hey, you didn't return my "poke" on Facebook. :)

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      @marellen - Thanks so much for the read and the vote. :)

      @sriparna - Yep, food art can change the way we think about food. If we just look at food as something to keep us alive, then it doesn't matter what it looks like. But with food art, eating can become a much more enjoyable activity. :)

      @Stephanie Henkel - Awesome! Hope your guests will like it too. :)

      @fucsia - Thanks! :)

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      @Ashlea B - Very true. The Japanese really love to do artsy stuff with their food. Lots of Japanese chefs are not only cooks but also artists. :)

      @Peggy W - Oh yes, I hope they will! Thanks, Peggy. So glad you stopped by. :)

      @Ladda - Kon khun kha, Ladda. This is part of what I learned from my grandma when she prepared fresh veggies to serve with nam prik. hehe :)

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      @Alienwednesday - Thanks a lot. Glad you enjoyed this. :)

      @RTalloni - Yep, food art is really cool and fun to make. Thanks for dropping by. :)

      @Movie Master - If you're already familiar with carving tomatoes and radishes, this shouldn't be too challenging for you at all! :)

      @Cardelean - Thanks. Hope you have an awesome party. :)

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      @Appshub - Thank you!!! Thank you!!!

      @Just Ask Susan - Ah next time your radish rosettes can have some little cucumber leaves to complement them. That should be very lovely. :)

      @c-bless - You're very welcome. Bon Appetit to you too! :)

      @Denise Handlon - Thanks a lot! :)

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      @Liola Lee - Thanks! :)

      @Thelma Alberts - Cool. I'm glad you'll give this a try. :)

      @outsourced - You're very welcome. Thanks for stopping by. :)

      @Bethenrose - hehe Too pretty to eat? Is that really possible? Thanks for the read and sweet comment. :)

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      WOW!!!! Thank you SOOOOOOO much everyone. And thank you, HP, for choosing this as the hub of the day. :-))))))))) See how huge my smile is?

      @Anamika - hehehe Yeah, I understand what you mean. But you know if you can't eat your own laborious invention, you could have other people eat it instead! I'm sure they'd be happy to do so. :)

      @jansplace - Thanks! You're super sweet. :)

      @carriethomson - Hey, don't worry about the end result too much. Just have fun with it. If it doesn't turn out as pretty as you'd like it to be, at least it'll still be edible. You won't have to waste any food. :)

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      How did I miss this tantalizing hub? Love the presentation and congrats on the hub of the day:))

    • MyMastiffPuppies profile image

      MyMastiffPuppies 6 years ago

      Congrats on a well deserved win! We love fresh veggies and this just adds some fun and color to a great meal. I am very fortunate that both my sons eat their veggies. My youngest (he is 8yrs old), only eats "Fresh Veggies", no cooking, seasoning or sauce! He will love this idea though,especially if he gets to help. Voted up, useful, awesome and beautiful...

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 6 years ago

      Very interesting Hub about food art! I really like your idea and I can not wait to try it.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      Your salads are works of art! My mom was a great believer in beautiful presentation of food; she would have loved the cucumber leaves and carved peppers! In fact, I'm having company for dinner tomorrow, and you've inspired me to try some special garnishes. Voted up and useful!

    • sriparna profile image

      Sriparna 6 years ago from New Delhi

      Inspiring hub about food art! Indeed the looks affect appetite, that is why chefs spend so much time and effort on garnishing food. Really useful and easy-to-follow instructions. Congrats for being selected as the hub of the day!!

    • profile image

      marellen 6 years ago

      Om...very informative hub.Love the idea especially for a dinner party. voted up....

    • Ladda Boonmee profile image

      Ladda Boonmee 6 years ago from Thailand

      It is very useful and so beautiful. Kob Khun Ka! Vote useful and beautiful ^_^

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Congrats on becoming the featured hub of the day. People all across the world will now probably be serving up beautifully decorated dishes! :))

    • profile image

      Ashlea B 6 years ago

      Very nice. My brother lives in Japan (has most of his adult life), and the Japanese are very aware of food presentation, making it look beautiful. During my brother's visits home he has made lovely fruit tray displays. He's not really someone to typically get into artsy things, particularly regarding food... but after living in Japan he has a greater appreciation for it, perhaps even becoming more of his "norm." It's neat.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Great instructions. I am bookmarking this one for my next party! Nice job.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I have done the tomato carving and managed a twirl out of a radish, but this is taking it to a whole new level and I'm looking forward to trying it out, great hub thank you.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Love food when I can do something artsy with it! Neat hub, fun videos. Voted up.

    • profile image

      AlienWednesday 6 years ago

      Very nice, I like that. Making food look prettier to eat. Great hub, congrats on being hub of the day.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Great Job on a most 'appetizing' subject. Congrats on the featured hub of the day-it deserves it.

    • profile image

      c-bless 6 years ago

      Bon appetit! Very appetizing article (pun intended). Thank you for the food demo.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have always made rosettes with radishes but never have thought about making leafs from cucumbers. Love all your food art decorations here. Fantastic hub!

    • AppsHub profile image

      AppsHub 6 years ago from London

      Great hub!! Great Hub!!!

    • BethanRose profile image

      BethanRose 6 years ago from South Wales

      This is great, it makes a difference when you eat food that looks this great. So professional, I wouldn't want to eat it it's so pretty! Hehe. Good job! Voted up :)

    • outsourced profile image

      outsourced 6 years ago from Omaha

      Lovely....thanks for the instructions.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 6 years ago from Germany

      This is a great hub! I would like to try this out in our reunion party. Voted Up and is bookmarked. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Liola Lee 6 years ago

      Pretty impressive!!

    • carriethomson profile image

      carriethomson 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      oh this is great I am surely going to try this out... hope it looks good, the way u have explained here it seems easy... thanx voted up:-)

    • profile image

      jansplace 6 years ago

      I'm amazed. This is a mouth watering salad and I've never seen one as tempting before. You certainly have the artistic skills for creating such gorgeous food.

      You have explained everything in debth and in an entertaining way. Have you not thought of publishing your own book on this I'm sure it would be a best seller - I'm not into cooking but my sister is and she would love to try this kind of thing out.

      This certainly deserves hub of the day - well done.

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S 6 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      I absolutely love doing vegetable carvings, but the problem is that once i make something I will not have the heart to eat it.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

      Oh I like that title "vegetable artist"! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a sweet comment, KoffeKlatch. :)

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Om, you are a vegetable artist. Your display is beautiful. I have to try it next time I have a small dinner party. I love it. Rated up and useful.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

      haha you're right. It takes quite a bit of patience to do this. Thanks for the read! :)

    • SJKSJK profile image

      SJKSJK 7 years ago from delray beach, florida

      Beautiful pictures. Theses look great but I don't know if I have the patience to do it.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

      Thanks, Dolores. :)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Such a pretty way to present a salad. This would be great for parties when you want your food to look special. And I love the idea of the salad in cups - so convenient for a party!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

      Thanks for the read and support, everyone! =D

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I love food art, and found this hub to be wonderful. Thank you!

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 7 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      this is not only fun to eat but also fun to make.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      This Hub is a beautiful presentation of something so useful and creative. I love salads and like trying different approaches. This one is stellar! I'm also thinking that kids who might snub their noses at salads might be turned around by carved vegetable shapes tucked into a small dish. :)

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      I love this kind of stuff...too bad I'm all thumbs with a knife usually but I'm going to give some of those simpler ones a try! I love presentation!!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

      @mslizzee - You're welcome. Glad you enjoyed this. :)

      @Peggy - Yeah, I have seen people make roses out of radishes. Very cute. But I've never done that myself because I don't like eating radishes that much hehe..Thanks so much for dropping by. :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What a great hub! My grandmother always made roses out of radishes and also cut celery into slivers and put them in water so that they fanned out. Loved the videos also. Will try some of this for our next dinner party. Up and useful votes.

    • mslizzee profile image

      elizabeth 7 years ago from Buncombe County, NC

      How fun, thank you.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

      Thanks a lot for the read and sweet comment, Kulsum. :)

    • Kulsum Mehmood profile image

      Dr Kulsum Mehmood 7 years ago from Nagpur, India

      Very appetising salad decoration Om. Nice illustrations too.