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Charcuterie is a French term for the art of preparing cured and smoked meats. A charcuterie board, then, is a collection of deli meats, as well as cheeses, crackers, and other tasty snacks that complement the meat. But what if you’re vegetarian or vegan? Does this mean you can’t enjoy a charcuterie board? Absolutely not! There are countless delicious options for plant-based meats, vegan cheeses, crackers, dips, and sauces. In this article, we’ll go over how to put together an easy vegan charcuterie board, including ingredients you can buy and some you can quickly make at home. We’ll also talk about making a vegetarian charcuterie board.
Let’s dive in!
Vegan Charcuterie Board Ideas
What goes into a plant-based charcuterie board? The only difference from a regular charcuterie board is that we won’t include any real meats or dairy cheeses. We’ll also be careful to make sure our dips, sauces, spreads, crackers, and breads don’t have any eggs or dairy ingredients in them.
The rest of the board can be filled with nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, and veggies. Feel free to go overboard with this category—there are absolutely no rules!
Now, let’s take a look at some ideas for what to include in each category.
Vegan Charcuterie Meat
Luckily, there are tons of delicious plant-based deli meats on the market. Their availability may vary depending on where you live, but most grocery stores will have at least a few options. They typically come as ham-style or turkey-style deli slices and are made with some combination of vegetable protein, beans, vital wheat gluten, coconut oil, and spices.
If you’re feeling up to it, you can also make your own homemade vegan deli meat. There are tons of recipes online, like this one from The Curious Chickpea. It’s made with tofu, vital wheat gluten, chickpea flour, sun-dried tomatoes, and lots of aromatic spices.
Plant-based cheeses are also widely available in most grocery stores. You should have no trouble finding vegan substitutions for popular cheese varieties like cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, and feta.
If you can, try to include at least two or three different types of cheese on your charcuterie board. A combination of soft and hard cheeses will offer a variety of flavors and textures.
Of course, you can also make your own plant-based cheese. Soft and crumbly cheeses are easier to make because they don’t require a thickening and gelling agent. If you have a food processor or high-powered blender, you can quickly and easily make a delicious vegan cheese ball using cashews, almonds, or tofu.
Try this recipe from Connoisseurus Veg. It’s made with raw cashews and coconut oil. Nutritional yeast flakes give it an undeniable cheesy flavor, while the Dijon mustard and maple syrup add a touch of a tangy sweetness.
Crackers and Bread
Most crackers and bread products are vegan, but it’s a good idea to check ingredient lists anyway. Some products contain small amounts of dairy, eggs, or animal fats, and many crackers are flavored with cheese. When in doubt, look for products that are labeled as vegan.
You can also make your own vegan crackers. Try this recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. It’s made with flour, nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor, baking powder, and simple seasonings. You can also up the nutritional value of your crackers by adding nut flours and seeds.
Dips & Sauces
Finding vegan dips and sauces should be pretty simple. Just check the ingredient lists to make sure they don’t contain any dairy, honey, or other animal products.
Here are a few ideas:
- Preserves, jams, or jellies
- Olive tapenade (with no anchovies)
- Grainy mustard
- Olive oil & balsamic vinegar
Or how about making your own vegan tzatziki dip? Minimalist Baker has a great recipe that uses coconut yogurt as the base. Simply mix it with grated cucumber, minced garlic, chopped dill, lemon juice, and olive oil for a creamy and refreshing tzatziki dip. It will go perfectly with slices of pita bread or fresh veggies like broccoli and celery.
Nuts, Fruit, and Vegetables
Fill any gaps in your charcuterie board with delicious nuts, dried fruit, and fresh produce. There are countless options to choose from, such as:
- Fresh berries
- Apple slices
- Dried fruit
- Salted and candied nuts
- Broccoli florets
- Celery sticks
Perhaps the only thing to watch for is candied nuts, as most store-bought varieties are made with egg whites. Look for ones that are labeled vegan, or make your own.
The Big Man’s World has the easiest recipe for candied pecans. As it turns out, water is a pretty good substitute for egg whites and will help the sugar stick to the nuts. Be sure to add a bit of salt, vanilla extract, and cinnamon to the mix to give the pecans a festive aroma and flavor.
Vegetarian Charcuterie Board Ideas
If you follow a vegetarian diet, all of the above ideas are still great options for your charcuterie board. That being said, you can definitely be more lenient with your choice of crackers, breads, dips, and sauces.
Most importantly, you can feel free to include any kind of cheese you like. As with vegan cheeses, opt for a combination of soft and hard cheeses to add lots of variety to your charcuterie board. Here are some ideas:
- Blue cheese
Assemble Your Vegan or Vegetarian Charcuterie Board
Grab a large cutting board or serving tray, and get working on your masterpiece. Start with large items like bowls and cheese balls. Next, add folded vegan deli meats, piles of crackers, and sliced bread. Fill any gaps with nuts, fruit, and veggies. And don’t forget to include little cheese knives and spoons for dips and sauces.
Charcuterie boards never fail to impress at parties and family dinners. Now you know how to make a plant-based one that even your non-vegetarian guests will love!
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