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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Pumpkin Pie Granola

Pecan meets pumpkin in this slightly sweet, totally crunchy, and super chunky pumpkin pie granola. It’s the ultimate autumn snack, breakfast, or dessert. All you need is 1 bowl and about 30 minutes to whip up it up.

Oat yogurt in an orange bowl topped with pumpkin pie granola and a jar of spilled pumpkin pie granola in the background.

So let’s talk about what you’re going to need to make this amazing pumpkin pie granola. What makes this granola special is the use of pecan butter. Have you ever tried pecan butter? If not you’re going to be hooked after this recipe. You have been warned…

Close up of a sheet pan full of pumpkin pie granola.

Pecan Butter

Now, I usually can only find pecan butter online since it isn’t carried at many of my local grocery stores. And although I’m sure the online brands are good, there’s just nothing like HOME MADE pecan butter (or any nut/seed butter for that matter). And let me tell you…it’s easy. It’s cheap. And it tastes absolutely AMAZING when you make it yourself. But you have to be crazy to make it at home right? I mean, it takes FOREVER and you have to have a super powerful food processor. Right? Wrong, wrong, WRONG!

All you need is 1 1/2 cups of pecans to make enough pecan butter for this recipe. And you’ll even end up having extra to spread on toast, drizzle into oatmeal, dip apples into, or lick right off the spoon (I won’t judge).

So here we go…Dump those lovely little raw pecans into your food processor and process. The stages of pecan butter (or any nut/seed butter) are as follows:

  • Flour: After about 30 seconds the nuts will turn into a flour-like consistency.
  • Paste: Give it another 1-2 minutes and it will turn into paste. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and continue.
  • Thick butter: Another 2-3 minutes and you’ll have a thick butter-like texture. Scrape the sides again. You’re almost there!
  • Creamy, delicious, warm pecan butter: Another 2-3 minutes and the thick butter has turned super smooth and pourable. Congratulations! You’ve done it! You can now make your own nut and seed butters at home! Go crazy, get creative, and tell me what you come up with!

After you’ve successfully created the most amazing pecan butter in the world all you have to do is combine it will the other wet ingredients and pour it over the mixed dry ingredients. And if you don’t have pecan butter or don’t want to make it, you can sub almond or sunbutter instead. Bam! Done. Well, kinda…continue reading for my 3 perfect granola tips. Because having an amazing granola recipe is only half the battle.

A jar of pumpkin pie granola with oat yogurt in an orange bowl topped with pumpkin pie granola in the background.

Granola Tips

You have to promise that you’ll follow these tips for making the perfect granola. Because even though you have this awesome recipe, if you fail to do these few simple things your granola might not turn out quite as perfectly as it should.

  • First, make sure your rimmed baking sheet is lined with parchment paper or a mat. Otherwise your granola will stick and burn.
  • Next, firmly press your raw granola into the baking sheet. Make sure that it is evenly pressed into the pan and that there are no holes in the granola where you can see the parchment paper. Evenly pressed and spread = chunky granola.
  • Lastly, LET IT COOL! Please, please resist the urge to break the granola apart when it’s still hot, or even just warm. Letting it cool completely will make it brittle and perfect for breaking into large chunks.

So there you have it! I hope that you have found this post informational. And when you make this granola it’s going to be perfect. I hope that you all enjoy my Pumpkin Pie Granola and as always, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Oats- vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, iron, fiber

Pumpkin seeds- omega-3 fats, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, fiber

Pecans- thiamine, vitamin E, magnesium, protein, fiber, antioxidants, oleic acid, phytochemicals

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Pumpkin Pie Granola

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: easy, granola, pecan butter, pecans, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, quick, simple
Servings: 3 cups
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • cups rolled oats
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup pecan pieces
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp salt

Wet Ingredients

  • cup pecan butter
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Stir well to combine.
  • Evenly press granola onto parchment paper. About ¼ inch thick.
  • Bake for 25 minutes until fregrant and slightly browned but not burned. Do not stir granola or shake the pan.
  • Once completely cooled, break granola into large chunks.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
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Pumpkin Pie Hummus

Ready to go in 10 minutes and with only 6 ingredients this pumpkin pie hummus is sure to hit the spot the next time you’re craving a sweet snack. Vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, oil-free, nut-free, and seed-free but definitely not flavor-free. Grab your blender or food processor and let’s do this!

Pumpkin pie hummus in a bowl with pretzel crackers and cinnamon sticks.

I’ve been on a hummus kick lately. I’ve been making different varieties all week and although they’ve been amazing they’ve all been savory. And today, I needed something sweet. It’s the weekend after all! So here it is, my ode to the fall season: pumpkin pie hummus.

Pumpkin pie hummus in a bowl with pretzel crackers and cinnamon sticks.

There’s not much to say about this hummus except that it’s absolutely delicious. It’s super simple, ready quickly, and requires ingredients you probably already have (especially at this time of the year). I only have one note about the dates…

Dates

When it comes to dates you REALLY want to make sure they’re fresh. And by fresh I mean soft, moist, and gooey. It’s easier to remove the pits from them and your blender/food processor won’t have such a hard time combining them if the dates are soft. That being said, if your dates aren’t up to snuff, no worries. Simply place your dates in very hot water for 5-10 minutes. Once they’re soft, squeeze out the excess water from them and remove the pits. Now they should be soft enough to pulse in the blender or food processor.

Pretzel cracker being dipped into pumpkin pie hummus surrounded by pretzel crackers and cinnamon sticks.

Serve It

This pumpkin pie hummus is absolutely amazing with pretzels (can you say salty/sweet?), crackers, or your favorite bread. For a finishing touch, top the hummus with vegan graham cracker crumbs or some cinnamon. This hummus would also make a nice addition to a vegan cheese board. It’ll also make a perfectly quick and easy dessert for Thanksgiving. The possibilities for this hummus are endless.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Pumpkin

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Pumpkin Pie Granola

Pumpkin Pie Hummus

Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: 10-minutes, 6-ingredients, dates, gluten-free, hummus, naturally-sweetened, nut-free, oil-free, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, refined-sugar free, seed-free
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 8 soft dates, pitted make sure the dates are very soft*
  • cup plant-based milk I used flax milk
  • cup canned pumpkin not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1, 15oz can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  • Add pitted, soft dates* to the blender or food processor and pulse until they resemble a paste.
  • To the blender/food processor add plant-based milk, canned pumpkin, vanilla, garbanzo beans, and pumpkin pie spice in this order.
  • Blend until well combined stopping occasionally to scrap the sides of the container.
  • Garnish with vegan, gluten-free graham cracker crumbs or a sprinkling of cinnamon. Serve with pretzels, crackers, or bread.

Notes

*If your dates are rather dry place them in hot water for 5-10 minutes allowing them to soften.  Squeeze excess water from each date before adding to the blender.
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Roasted Squash Seeds Three Ways

Use the seeds from all your winter squash by roasting them in one of these three seasoning blends. Choose from either sweet, spicy, or curry. Nothing but squash seeds, oil and spices. Eat up!

Close up photo of roasted and seasoned spaghetti squash seeds with a side salad in the background.

STOP! Before you throw out all those seeds from your favorite winter squashes (I’m looking at you pumpkin, butternut, spaghetti and acorn) let’s talk about just what exactly you’re tossing in the trash. Firstly, you’re wasting money. You’ve paid for not only the flesh of the squash but the seeds as well. Use them! Secondly, you’re wasting nutrients. Squash seeds contain magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, fiber…all things that definitely don’t belong in the trash. And thirdly, you’re wasting flavor, texture, and interest that could be used to top soups, salads, breads and pasta. They can be the base for a unique pesto or, if you have enough, they can be turned into a seed butter.

Close up photo of a spaghetti squash on a wooden table with a black background.

My point is, don’t toss out those amazing little squash seeds. They’re worth the extra work to harvest from the “guts” of the squash. Once you’ve got them, just wash them really well and let them drain thoroughly. Air drying them is best. But you can also dry them between two dish towels. Once they’re dry, they’re ready to be transformed!

I have here 3 simple spice combinations that will work really well with all manor of autumn recipes (including a few I currently have on my site). Enjoy any one (or more) of the following: sweet, spicy, or curry blend. But don’t just go by these three. Use these as a jumping off point. Get creative with your use of these seeds and be sure to tell me down in the comments section how you use them this fall.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Ginger: antioxidants

Squash seeds: omega-3 fats, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, fiber

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Roasted Squash Seeds Three Ways

Use the seeds from all your winter squash by roasting them in one of these three seasoning blends. Choose from either sweet, spicy, or savory. Nothing but squash seeds, oil and spices. Eat up!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: 5-ingredient, savory, snack, spicy, squash seeds, sweet, topping
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • ½ cup squash seeds pumpkin, delicata, spaghetti, butternut, acorn, etc.

Sweet Roasted Squash Seeds

  • tsp nutmeg
  • tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla optional
  • ½ tsp maple syrup granulated or coconut

Spicy Roasted Squash Seeds

  • pinch paprika
  • tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp avocado oil

Curry Roasted Squash Seeds

  • pinch ginger
  • tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp coconut milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl combine the spices of the particular spice blend that you've chosen. Lightly coat seeds in olive oil or coconut cooking spray then toss with spice blend.
  • Spread seeds evenly on prepared baking sheet so that none or overlapping or touching.
  • Roast seeds for 10 minutes. Stir seeds are return to oven for additional 8 minutes watching that they don't burn.
  • Once roasted remove from oven and enjoy on salads, soups, breads, pastas or turn into a pesto or seed butter.
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Apple Pie Bliss Bites

Only 7 ingredients and 30 minutes stand between you and these apple pie bliss bites. Packed with wholesome ingredients to power you through than afternoon slump these snacks are vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and refined-sugar free.

Apple pie bliss bites on a white plate, one of which is being picked up.

I’m going to be completely honest with you guys (because that’s what blogs are for right?). I had never made energy bits before creating this recipe. I know. Crazy right? But it’s true. Phew…I’m glad to have gotten that off my chest. Now…on to why you should give these apple pie bliss bites a try.

Apple pie bliss bites on a white plate one of which has a bite taken out of it.

Complex Carbohydrates

I’m gonna get a little nerdy with you guys right now. But not too much. Alright, carbohydrates ARE NOT BAD. Let me just say that again so it can sink in a bit: Carbohydrates are not bad. Carbohydrates are an important energy source for the human body. Our brain and muscles love carbohydrates and need them to function properly. Quick, easy energy. That’s what our body sees when it’s given carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are a slower form of energy which means that your body is still going to get the energy but the sugar will enter your bloodstream slowly, and be absorbed slowly. In the simplest terms, there’s not going to be an energy crash after eating complex carbs like there might be after eating straight sugar. And that’s a good thing! We want our food to give us long-lasting energy. No afternoon crashes wanted.

Apple pie bliss bites on a white plate with slivered almonds all around.

Healthy Fats

Fat is an as an important component of our food. It helps us stay full, longer. And that’s great because no one wants to be eating constantly right? We are busy people and we have other important things to do with our day besides eat. Fat is also an important component for brain function. Just like carbohydrates, your brain needs fat to work properly. All the fats in this recipe come from plants which means that they have positive health attributes. Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds all provide healthy fats in this recipe.

Apple pie bliss bites on a white plate with apples and slivered almonds on the side.

Plant-Based Protein

We know that protein in important in building lean muscle. But did you also know that protein plays an important roll in cell formation and functionality, as well as the health and well-being of your immune system? It’s true, proteins are not a one-stop shop when it comes to their importance in the diet. And plant-based proteins are just as useful as animal-based ones. Thank the almonds, oats and chia seeds for their supply of plant-based proteins in this snack.

What do you guys think about gaining a little more nutritional background information about these apple pie bliss bites? Is this something you’d enjoy reading more of in the future? Or is it all just way too much information? Let me know in the comments below your thoughts on this information as well as any feedback you have on the bites themselves.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

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

Apple- vitamin C, soluble and insoluble fiber

Oats-vitamins A & B; calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese; soluble and insoluble fiber; phytochemicals

Sunflower seeds- polyunsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, selenium, copper

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Apple Pie Bliss Bites

Only 7 ingredients and 30 minutes stand between you and these apple pie bliss bites. These snacks are vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and refined-sugar free.
Prep Time5 mins
Freezing Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: apple, apple pie, energy ball, gluten-free, naturally-sweetened, oil-free, refined-sugar free, vegan
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 5-6 soft dates
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1-2 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seed butter

Instructions

  • Add rolled oats and slivered almonds to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the oat and almond mixture and pulse until a ball forms.
  • Scoop out 1½ tbsp amounts of mixture and roll into a ball. Mixture will be sticky so wetting your hands may help keep it from sticking to your skin.
  • Place balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put into the freezer until firm. About 30-35 minutes.
  • Once firm, remove from freezer and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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