Vegan Charcuterie Board

How To

With the holidays just around the corner, let’s put together a vegan charcuterie board! They are extremely versatile, customizable, and easy to prepare. I’ll show you how you can create the perfect charcuterie board for your next gathering.

Charcuterie board with fresh vegetables, fresh & dried fruits, chips, hummus, and vegan cheese.

So what the heck is a charcuterie board anyway? Well, it’s a large platter filled with finger foods of varying flavors, textures, and colors. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the senses. Charcuterie boards make a fantastic appetizer for parties, holidays, and other large social gatherings. They are also a fantastic way to serve many different foods as an appetizer or light meal. Everyone is able to select what they would like and create their own spread. In this post, I’ll give you tips about how to put together the perfect charcuterie board.

What to include on your Charcuterie Board

The trick to having the perfect charcuterie board is creating layers. You want to have layers of flavors as well as textures. Think sweet, spicy, salty, savory. As well as creamy, crunchy, and smooth. Fruits, vegetables, spreads, dips, crackers, breads, nuts, meats, cheezes…all of these can fit into any number of those categories. So let’s brainstorm a bit to give you some ideas that might be a little out of the box.

Fruits

Select fruits that are in season. In the spring and summer think berries, peaches, nectarines, grapes. In the fall and winter months focus on figs, apples, persimmons, grapes, pomegranate arils. And don’t be afraid to add dried fruits. Sprinkle raisins over your board for a finishing touch. Or place dried apple rounds out since freshly sliced apples will brown too quickly.

Vegetables

Raw vegetables are definitely a must when making a charcuterie board. Think sweet bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, or cucumbers. If making a charcuterie board in the summer add grilled zucchini or summer squash. Even pickled or jarred vegetables will work. Think olives, asparagus, or artichokes.

Dips & Spreads

It’s easy to select fruits and vegetables when making a vegan charcuterie board. Obviously, those are vegan. But finding dips and spreads that are vegan can be a bit more challenging. If you don’t have access to a grocery store with a wide variety of vegan dips or spreads this may end up being the portion of the charcuterie board that you have to spend a little bit of time preparing. But don’t let that frighten you off. Most dips are very quick and easy to prepare. Allow me to give you some examples of both store-bought as well as homemade vegan dips and spreads.

Crackers

Choose crackers that have some personality. You should have some mild ones that will pair well with anything and some others that are for specific dips and cheeses. Think outside the box. I love the beet crackers and sweet potato crackers from Trader Joes. Off the Eaten Path has a fantastically salty and crunchy Veggie Crisp. There are also dried carrot, beet, and kale chips. All of which will add depth and interest to your charcuterie board.

Bread

Use your favorite artisan breads to enhance the texture of your board. Add breads with rosemary, hunks of garlic, or cranberries and walnuts to create even more flavor on your board. And don’t think you have to slice your bread either! Feel free to rip the loaves into large chunks to add texture and visual interest to your board.

Nuts

Including nuts in your charcuterie board will add visual interest and texture as well as flavor. Use raw, roasted, spiced, or candied nuts to further elevate the flavor profile of you board. Don’t underestimate the power that flavored and roasted seeds can have as well. I have three wonderful recipes for roasted squash seeds that would work perfectly in an autumnal charcuterie board.

Vegan Meats

A traditional charcuterie board will contain deli meats. Now, it is up to you to decide if you would like to include vegan meats in your own charcuterie board. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of vegan deli meat alternatives. I find them to be rubbery, extremely salty, and rather unappealing to look at. That however is just my opinion so please feel free to add whatever, if any, deli alternatives you find appetizing.

Vegan Cheezes

There are so many vegan cheeses available now! Check out your local grocery store or whip up your own nut-based cheeses at home. I love this feta recipe from Erin Ireland. It’s so simple and adds the saltiness to your board that definitely cannot be overlooked.

Extras

Now that you’ve determined what kinds of fruits, vegetables, dips, spreads, crackers, bread, nuts, “meats”, and cheezes you would like to include on your charcuterie board let’s take just a second to discuss the layout of the actual board. Some tips for creating a beautiful and inviting board are as follows:

  • Pick a board large enough to fit everything you want to include. But not a board that is so large that you will have lots of unfilled space. Empty space on the board will give it an unfinished, uninviting feel. You can, to some extent, fill empty space with herbs but you want to use fresh herbs sparingly as a garnish, not as a star feature.
  • Make sure that you provide utensils for spreading, cutting, spearing, and slicing the spreads, fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. These can be fancy to add interest to the board. They can be your everyday serving utensils. Or you can use something as simple as toothpicks! There’s not need to go out and buy anything special.
Charcuterie board with fresh vegetables, fresh & dried fruits, walnuts, vegan deli meat, crackers, chips, hummus, and vegan cheese.

Charcuterie Board Steps

Once you have all the pieces of your charcuterie board puzzle figured out, it’s time to put them all together to create that visually appealing appetizer no one will be able to keep their hands off. Let’s go through the steps of laying out all your charcuterie board items.

  • Step 1: Gather your board, bowls, and food items. Place any dips or spreads into your selected bowls and place them on the board in the rough location that you would like them to be.
  • Step 2: Begin by placing your largest food items on the board first. Think large crackers, blocks of vegan cheese, fruits (such as this pomegranate half), and vegetables (the florets of broccoli). Ensure that the food is overlapping to prevent the board from showing through.
  • Step 3: Place medium food items around the larger ones. Think slices of vegan deli “meat”, smaller crackers, chips, and/or dried fruit.
  • Step 4: Place your smallest food items on the board last. If necessary, corral them onto the board by surrounding them with larger, sturdier foods and bowls to prevent them from rolling off the board. Think loose grapes, blueberries, or nuts.
  • Step 5: The final step is adding fresh herbs to your board. Top dips with parsley, dill or cilantro as appropriate. Stick sprigs of rosemary or sage out from under bowls. Don’t be afraid to re-arrange as you go. If something doesn’t look or feel right rearrange it or remove it from the board. Everything you intended on using might not fit and that’s ok. You can always have two charcuterie boards!

Bonus Tip

Make a dessert charcuterie board! Include your favorite cookies, cakes, chocolate hummus, fruits for dipping in chocolate, sugared nuts…let me know in the comments section what you include in your dessert charcuterie board.

I hope that you all have found this charcuterie board how-to informative and helpful. Know that any board you put together will be a hit with your party guest. I mean, who doesn’t love a bunch of fresh food sprawled out on a wooden board? Be sure to let me know in the comments if you make a charcuterie board.

Enjoy friends!

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Vegan Naan

If you’ve been searching for the perfect vegan naan, look no further than this recipe! All you need are 10 ingredients and a warm bowl of curry to complete your next vegan Indian-inspired dinner night.

Vegan naan wrapped in a blue towel on a rusted cookie sheet surrounded by basil and cherry tomatoes.

I’m going to be 100% honest with you right now: I’m afraid of yeast. Irrational fear? Perhaps. But it’s taken me YEARS to work up the courage to prepare breads that require yeast. I had a bad experience with cinnamon raisin dough and a bread maker back in my teens and I think I’m still trying to recover. Anyway, I digress…I still have difficulties with yeast dough at times. Thankfully, as with many other skills, practice makes perfect. And boy have I been practicing this fall!

The perfect vegan naan recipe has eluded me for almost a year. I struggled to find a recipe that didn’t require crazy flours which would leave the dough to stick to the pan and not rise properly. But I finally found the PERFECT naan recipe that I have veganized from the amazing Half Baked Harvest version. Let me take just a second to explain some important steps in this naan-making process.

Water & Yeast

Two things about working with yeast…First make sure that it hasn’t passed it’s expiration date. Expired yeast will prevent your bread from rising. Secondly, as with any recipe that requires yeast, you’re going to have to “activate” or “bloom” it with water and sugar. It’s very important to remember that your water should be about 110*F. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast and your bread will fail to rise.

Pan & Oil

Once your dough has risen and is pillowy soft and ready for cooking you need to make sure that you use the proper pan to fry it. You will definitely need a heavy cast iron skillet as well as a large lid. Once your pan is screaming hot add about a tsp of avocado oil to the pan. You might be tempted to use olive oil. DON’T! Avocado oil has a smoke point of 520*F, which is 50-150*F hotter than olive oil. What does that mean? It means that avocado oil will not begin to burn until it reaches a temperature of 520*F. In turn, you can heat this oil much, much hotter without setting off your smoke detectors. Trust me, use the avocado oil.

So now that I’ve concurred naan, I’ll have to try my hands at Challah bread (but that’s going to have to wait for now…).

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Almonds: protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, iron

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Potato, Spinach, and Chickpea Curry

Vegan Naan

All you need are 10 ingredients and a warm bowl of curry to complete your next vegan Indian-inspired dinner night.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Rise Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Bread, Indian, Vegan
Keyword: Indian, naan, vegan
Servings: 8 naan
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¾ tsp active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup plant-based milk
  • 1 cup almond yogurt I prefer Kite Hill's plain, unsweetened almondmilk yogurt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4-8 tbsp melted butter depending on how buttery you want the naan

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm (but not hot) water, yeast, and maple syrup. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes, until bubbly.
  • Add plant-based milk, almond yogurt, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a dough hook, mix until the flour is evenly incorporated. The dough will be sticky.
  • Lightly flour you workspace and gently knead the dough into a large ball. Return to bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Place the bowl in a warm place to rise for 1 hour* until the dough has doubled in size.
  • When ready to cook, cut dough evenly into 8 and form each into a small ball. Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball into an oval/rectangle shape that's about ¼ inch thick.
  • Brush each side of the naan dough with melted vegan butter. Lightly brush a VERY HOT cast iron skillet with avocado oil** and place in one piece of naan dough cooking over medium-high heat. Immediately cover with a large lid cooking for 1-2 minutes as bubbles form. Flip and cook uncovered for 1-2 minutes more.
  • Keep cooked naan warm by placing in a clean kitchen towel while you work with the remaining dough.
  • Serve with more melted butter and a sprinkle of fresh herbs and a bowl of curry.

Notes

*I have found that the perfect place to let any yeast-y dough rise is in my oven with the oven light on.  
**Avocado oil has a higher smoke-point that most oils, meaning it will withstand the heat of the pan better than an olive oil will.  Plus it has a neutral flavor which won’t deter from the naan.

Adapted from Half Baked Harvest’s Herbed Garlic Butter Naan.

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5-Ingredient Bruschetta

A quick, easy, and crowd-pleasing appetizer this 5-ingredient bruschetta is sure to please the masses. Perfect to use up those end-of-summer tomatoes and fresh basil.

Toasted sourdough topped with bruschetta on a dark cookie sheet with a bowl of bruschetta in the background.

Labor Day weekend is upon us and that means it’s the unofficial end of summer. So if you’re throwing an end-of-summer bash this weekend then do yourself a favor and prepare this amazingly simple appetizer, snack, lunch-whatever you wanna call it. You’ll be in the kitchen for less than 10 minutes and back out enjoying the last bits of summer with family and friends. Most importantly, there’s no cooking required which means you won’t have to worry about unnecessarily heating up your house to enjoy this 5-ingredient bruschetta.

Ingredients

And all you need to make this bruschetta are 5 simple ingredients:

  • Roma tomatoes
  • White balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Fresh Basil
Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, a head of garlic, and a loaf of sourdough bread on a white marble countertop.

A tip for preparing this dish: make sure that you tear (not cut) the basil. Cutting basil bruises the leaves and turns it a deep green. Tearing the basil will ensure that its vibrant green remains intact. This dish is so simple and really only has two ingredients that are visible so you want to ensure that it’s as beautiful as possible. Therefore, you should tear the basil. Promise?

One of the best things about this bruschetta is its versatility. It can be served on toast (may I recommend sourdough?), crackers and even tortilla chips. The fresh tomatoes and basil would also work well as a salsa served on tacos, nachos or burrito bowl.

Toasted sourdough bread on a black cookie sheet next to a bowl of bruschetta and a sourdough loaf in the background.

So what do you guys think? Are you ready to kiss summer goodbye with this 5-ingredient bruschetta? Or are you counting down the days until pumpkin makes its way into everything? Let me know which season you prefer in the comments. And be sure to let me know if you make this bruschetta! I guarantee it will become an easy appetizer staple in your home.

Toasted sourdough topped with bruschetta on a black cookie sheet next to a bowl of bruschetta.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Basil: Phytochemicals; volatile oils (antibacterial properties)

Garlic: Phytochemicals

Olive oil: Monounsaturated fats

Tomatoes: Vitamin C; potassium; polyphenols

5-Ingredient Bruschetta

A quick, easy, and crowd-pleasing appetizer this 5-ingredient bruschetta is sure to please the masses. Perfect to use up those end-of-summer tomatoes and fresh basil.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Keyword: 5-ingredient, appetizer, basil, easy, fresh, quick, tomatoes
Servings: 6 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh basil, torn to taste

Instructions

  • Dice tomatoes into bit-sized pieces.
  • To a medium-sized bowl add diced tomatoes, white wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and torn fresh basil.
  • Serve with toasted bread (I prefer sourdough), crackers, tortilla chips or as a topping to tacos.
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