Thanksgiving “Relish Tray” PALEO Style!

Our first Thanksgiving question is here!

Dear Nell, 

Thanks for your invitation on your blog for questions!  My husband and I are doing great on Paleo; the biggest challenge is time management and organization. I’m either training, working, sleeping, eating, cooking or washing dishes!

My question is a pretty simple one: I have been assigned the relish tray this year. I did the whole meal last year; any thoughts on how to mix it up or make if more cool & fun? 'Relish' beyond carrots & celery.  Any olive tips?

Take care and have a great holiday,


Thanks for your question, Susan!  Agreed; celery and carrots alone can be… well, a bit boring.  In addition, if your guests or friends at the gathering you're attending think that's all one can eat on a Paleo diet, it would be doing Paleo such a disservice!

'Traditional' relish trays would tend to include all sorts of olives, pickles and pickled foods including sauerkraut (and even kim chi!)  as well as an assortment of veggies like whole carrots in red, yellow, orange with a bit of their tops still on, artichoke heart,  haricot vert, cauliflower, mushrooms, radishes, celerey stuffed with peanut butter, cherry tomatoes; jicama sticks; red pepper spears; fennel and, of course 'dips' like those based on sour cream or hummus.

Easy enough to pick out which things are (or are NOT) Paleo friendly!

  • Let's address olives first.  You CAN find olives that are organic and NOT soaked in a sodium laden brine. Yes, they're harder to come by but you've got a week until you'll need them, so you might want to consider an online source if you cannot find them locally.  For example, there is a company called Natural Zing that sells salt- free olives that just contain… OLIVES!  You can then infuse them with your favorite herbs (I like rosemary and garlic) , toss them with some raw pecans, and serve them warm.
  • As far as the veggies go, I feel that if presented nicely, they're quite appealing, so this will go beyond 'just carrot and celery sticks'.  Go for TONS of color; all of the rainbow can be represented and cut even sized pieces of red bell pepper, carrots, yellow bell pepper or julienned yellow squash, blanched broccoli and/or asparagus, purple carrots, served on a bed of kale (or kale chips!  Why not?  SO easy to make!) on a large platter.  I always tend to opt for serving that with guacamole. Who cares if it's not a 'traditional' Thanksgiving food?  It tastes great!
  • I also like to offer 'toppings' as people are often used to having the option of cheeses or sauces to top off their food.  Instead, minced green onion, finely-chopped hard boiled egg tossed with paprika, diced radish and chopped raw walnuts make nice options.
  • To keep it 'seasonal', add the tradtional spices wherever you see fit; dust the olive and nut mixture with dried sage and thyme or sprinkle nutmeg atop the crudites platter.

Hope this helps!