Charcuterie Board Ideas

The holidays are filled with “bring an appetizer to share” events.  We get there and the tables are laden with rich holiday treats. How about taking some healthy and beautiful options? It is great having some options for our vegan and dairy free friends.

This year we are celebrating the charcuterie platter.  This is, very basically, a tray of various snacks. Originally, it was full of meats and cheeses. I love mine with some meats and cheeses, but healthy options straight out of your pantry and your fruit and veggie bin are delightful additions. You can use any platter but any wooden board is beautiful.  Consider what is in your pantry and refrigerator before you grocery shop. You will be amazed at what you already have to fill in your board. 

Charcuterie Board Ideas:

Salami

Soft Cheese

Sharp Cheddar or Blue Cheese

Fig preserves or honey

Various crackers (not too many)

Olives (all varieties)

Marinated or Pickled Vegetables

Raw Vegetables such as

grape tomatoes, celery, radishes

 Fruits, especially thinly sliced

apples, pears, grapes and berries

Nuts

Dried Fruits, apricots, dates

Various spreads including

hummus and dips

 

Vegan Cashew Cheese Ball with Cranberries

 

I have tried many versions of the cashew cheese and this one is my favorite. Creamy and rich with the punch of thyme and cranberries. Your vegan and dairy free friends will rejoice this addition to the table.

Vegan Cashew Cheese Ball with Cranberries
Author: 
Cuisine: appetizer
 
Soak the cashews in 3 cups of water for at least 4 hours, or longer, in a covered bowl.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp. white miso paste
  • (available at Sprouts)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Drain cashews and add to food processor along with the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, coconut oil, white miso paste, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper. Blend until creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Add the thyme leaves and pulse a couple of time just until incorporated.
  2. Line a small bowl with plastic wrap. Spoon the contents into the bowl. Gather up the sides of the plastic wrap and twist to form a ball. Refrigerate the cheese until firm for at least 3 hours or freeze for 1 hour.
  3. Remove plastic wrap and reshape into a neat ball. Place cranberries on another sheet of plastic wrap and roll cheese ball in the cranberries, covering the ball. Rewrap until ready to serve or place on plate. Serve with crackers or toasted crostini.

 

Prosciutto Wrapped Cantaloupe Slices

 

The perfect addition to a charcuterie board or just on a plate by itself.  I love Sugar Kiss melons for this because they are so sweet and juicy. Get the best cantaloupe you can for this. Order your prosciutto at the deli counter. For 30 bites, you will need 15 slices. Ask for the slices to be as thin as they can without shredding the meat and ask them to separate the slices with deli paper.  

Prosciutto Wrapped Cantaloupe Slices
Author: 
Cuisine: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 15 super thin slices of Proscuitto
  • (cut in half vertically to form two long strips)
  • 15 thin slices of cantaloupe, peeled
Instructions
  1. Cut each cantaloupe slice in half. Wrap the ½ of a prosciutto slice around the slice as pictured. Wrap each of the remaining slices.

 

Mushroom & Pecan Pate

A light and flavorful appetizer. It will be especially perfect for Thanksgiving because the flavors are reminiscent of Thanksgiving dressing.  

Mushroom & Pecan Pate
Author: 
Cuisine: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil – I used Branch & Vine Wild Mushroom and Sage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 (yes 6!) cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups sliced portabella mushrooms
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground sage
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Toast the pecans in a large dry skillet over medium heat. Stir them often. As soon as you can smell them toasting remove the pecans from the pan. Don’t let them burn. Place pecans in food processor.
  2. Return the pan to the medium heat and add olive oil. When hot add the onions. Sauté for a few minutes until they are translucent. Add garlic and stir. Cook about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper. Sauté the mushrooms until they begin to brown and release their liquid, stirring often. This will take a while, be patient.
  3. Add the pan ingredients to the nuts in the food processor. Process until smooth and a pate consistency. You may leave a bit of texture. Check seasoning. Add parsley and pulse just until it is incorporated. Press into a dish, cover and chill completely. Serve with raw vegetables, crackers and toasted crostini.

 

Roasted Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

This recipe is adapted from a wonderful cookbook, Oh She Glows Everyday, by Angela Liddon. The book celebrates plant-based eating and this is a perfect example. It will be a festive and healthy addition to your appetizer table. 

Roasted Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
Author: 
Cuisine: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium garlic heads
  • 1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • (I used Branch & Vine Basil Olive Oil)
  • ¼ cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes; drained
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • (I used Branch & Vine Basil Olive Oil)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. water; or as needed to thin
  • Dash Cayenne pepper; optional
  • Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • Oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped for garnish
  • Fresh Basil leaves, minced for garnish
  • Vegetables or Pita Chips for Serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425?.
  2. Peel off the outer layers of skin from the garlic heads, leaving the skin on the individual cloves. Slice off ¼ to ½ inch from the top of each head to expose the individual cloves. If your knife misses a couple of cloves, just use a paring knife to cut the tips off.
  3. Set each head on its own piece of aluminum foil and drizzle about ½ teaspoon of the extra-virgin olive oil on top of each, making sure to cover each exposed clove. Wrap the garlic heads in the foil and place them directly on the oven rack or on a small baking sheet.
  4. Roast on the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cloves are golden and very soft.
  5. Let cool slightly, then carefully unwrap and let cool further. Once cool enough to handle, gently squeeze the garlic cloves out of the skins. You should have a scant ⅓-1/2 cup of roasted garlic cloves.
  6. In a food processor, mince the sun-dried tomatoes. Add the roasted garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, and chickpeas. Process again, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  7. Add the water as needed to thin the hummus to your desired consistency, and finally add the salt and cayenne (if using). Process again. Let the machine run for at least a minute to get the hummus really smooth.
  8. Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil, and finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Serve with sliced vegetables and pita chips.

 

Nancy Jaworski

Nancy Jaworski is the chef and owner of My Chef Nancy, a personal chef and catering service in Fayetteville. Traveling and learning new culinary cultures are her passions.

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