Food Art - Salad Decoration in a Cup

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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

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Comments 65 comments

Kulsum Mehmood profile image

Kulsum Mehmood 5 years ago from Nagpur, India

Very appetising salad decoration Om. Nice illustrations too.

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

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

mslizzee profile image

mslizzee 5 years ago from Buncombe County, NC

How fun, thank you.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 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.

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

@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. :)

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

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!!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 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. :)

midnightbliss profile image

midnightbliss 5 years ago from Hermosa Beach

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

Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

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

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

Thanks for the read and support, everyone! =D

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 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 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Dolores. :)

SJKSJK profile image

SJKSJK 5 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 5 years ago Author

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

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 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 5 years ago Author

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

Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 5 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.

jansplace 5 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.

carriethomson profile image

carriethomson 5 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:-)

Liola Lee 5 years ago

Pretty impressive!!

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 5 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.

outsourced profile image

outsourced 5 years ago from Omaha

Lovely....thanks for the instructions.

BethanRose profile image

BethanRose 5 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 :)

AppsHub profile image

AppsHub 5 years ago from London

Great hub!! Great Hub!!!

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 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!

c-bless 5 years ago

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

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

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

AlienWednesday 5 years ago

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

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

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

Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 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.

cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

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

Ashlea B profile image

Ashlea B 5 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.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 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! :))

Ladda Boonmee profile image

Ladda Boonmee 5 years ago from Thailand

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

marellen 5 years ago

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

sriparna profile image

sriparna 5 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!!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 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!

fucsia profile image

fucsia 5 years ago

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

MyMastiffPuppies profile image

MyMastiffPuppies 5 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...

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

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

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

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. :)

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

@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 5 years ago Author

@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 5 years ago Author

@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 5 years ago Author

@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 5 years ago Author

@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 5 years ago Author

@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. :)

TheListLady profile image

TheListLady 5 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!

vitex profile image

vitex 5 years ago from China

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

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

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. :)

greatlove profile image

greatlove 5 years ago from Beaufort, NC

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

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

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

@greatlove - Yay! Good luck. :)

Jennie Demario profile image

Jennie Demario 5 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 5 years ago Author

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

kristymckeown profile image

kristymckeown 5 years ago from Havelock, Ontario

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

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

Thanks. Kristy. :)

happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 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 5 years ago Author

You're welcome, happypuppy. :)

anglowriter 5 years ago

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

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

Thanks! :)

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago Author

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

batool 4 years ago

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

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago Author

Thank you! :)

AnnaCia profile image

AnnaCia 2 years ago

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

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 2 years ago Author

Thanks, AnnaCia!

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