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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Pecan Pie Quick Bread

Have dessert for breakfast with this pecan pie quick bread recipe. Prepared with pecan butter, chopped pecans and topped with maple pecan halves there are some serious fall-vibes going on with this quick bread. Vegan, and easily made gluten-free, this breakfast bread will become a cozy new family favorite on crisp autumn mornings.

Close up of sliced pecan pie quick bread on a wood board.

I think pecan butter may be my new obsession. It’s amazing. And you know what? It’s even better when it’s homemade. Nut butters are so simple to make at home. They’re cheap, customizable and oddly gratifying to watch come together. But more on homemade pecan butter later, let’s get back to the recipe at hand.

So I made this pecan butter and though that a dessert-type quick bread would be amazing. So here it is: Pecan Pie Quick Bread. Yeah. It’s a dessert that you can eat at breakfast. You’re welcome.

Pecan Pie Quick Bread

There’s nothing complex about this pecan pie quick bread. No crazy ingredients, no special kitchen gadgets, and (thankfully) no yeast. Yeah, I’ve yet to master the yeast bread. But I’m working on it.

I decided to drastically cut down on the amount of sugar in this bread. There’s a full cup of applesauce to give it some sweetness and I don’t really like my breads to be overly sweet. That being said, if you’d like to make yours a bit more dessert-like, feel free to add more sugar. It’s customizable that way.

I also understand that not everyone has access to pecan butter. There are two options here: either make your own (see notes at end of recipe), of substitute in your favorite cashew or sunflower butter.

Slices of pecan pie quick bread on a wooden cutting board with wheat and pecan halves.

Maple Pecan Topping

To give this bread a little more of the pecan pie vibe I decided to decorate the top of this quick bread with some maple pecans. I picked out the prettiest pecan halves and simple tossed them in some maple syrup. Not too hard right? Then I layered them on top of the pecan pie bread right before going into the oven. Just make sure that you keep an eye on the pecans while they’re baking. You don’t want those glorious little beauties to burn.

Pecan pie quick bread on a wooden cutting board with wheat and pecan halves.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Apple- Vitamin C

Flax- Omega-3 fats; soluble and insoluble fiber

Pecans- Thiamine; Vitamin E; magnesium; protein; fiber; antioxidants; oleic acid; phytochemicals

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Pecan Pie Quick Bread

Have dessert for breakfast with this pecan pie quick bread recipe. Prepared with pecan butter, chopped pecans and topped with maple pecan halves there are some serious fall-vibes going on with this quick bread. Vegan, and easily made gluten-free, this breakfast bread will become a cozy new family favorite on crisp autumn mornings.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: bread, pecan pie, pecans, quick bread, vegan

Ingredients

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • cup pecans chopped
  • 2 flax eggs 2 tbsp flaxseed meal and 6 tbsp water
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • cup pecan butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Pecan Topping

  • pecan halves about 30
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

  • Preheat oven for 350°F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Mix gound 2 tbsp flaxseeds with 6 tbsp of water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  • In the mean time, melt vegan butter. Combine with applesauce, pecan butter, and vanilla.
  • In a seperate bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and chopped pecans. Add flax egg and melted vegan butter mixture.
  • Mix until just combined and pour into prepared loaf pan.

Pecan Topping

  • In a small bowl, combine maple syrup and pecan halves stirring to coat evenly.
  • Line the top of the pecan pie batter with the maple pecans.
  • Place in the preheated oven for 1 hour, 15 minutes. Check loaf at 45-50 mintues to make sure that maple pecans aren't burning. Tent with aluminum foil and continue baking if pecans are browning too quickly. Loaf is done when toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in loaf pan before cutting.

Notes

To make your own pecan butter- Place 2 cups of raw pecans in a food processor and process for 20-30 minutes.  Pecans will go from chopped to ground.  They’ll form a ball then start to become creamy and buttery.  Stop food processor periodically to scrap down the sides and give the motor a break. 
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