Build your charcuterie board with these healthy ingredients.
Any classic charcuterie board recipe is usually filled with a plethora of delicious but highly processed meats and cheeses that can run on the unhealthy side. Here are things to keep in mind when making your charcuterie board shopping list.
- Meats/Protein. Keep your charcuterie board packed with healthy, lean proteins by including minimally processed, nitrate-free cold cuts and protein alternatives. Opt for artisanal cold cuts, smoked fish, vegan or vegetarian “salami,” egg slices, or marinated tofu.
- Cheeses. Because charcuterie boards are a feast of flavors and textures, try a mix of soft and hard cheeses. Goat cheese is a healthy, low-fat, and protein-rich alternative to cheese made with cow’s milk, comes in hard and soft variations, and is less likely to cause gastrointestinal upset.
- Tip: Feeling adventurous? Try plant-based, non-dairy cheeses!
- Vegetables. Seasonal vegetables are sure to brighten up any spread with their color, flavor, and texture. Include fresh crudités like carrots, celery, bell peppers, and pink radishes, or tuck little jars of antipasti like olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and cornichons into your platter.
- Fruit. The sweetness of fresh fruit is a perfect addition to any charcuterie board because it balances out the saltiness in meats and cheeses. You can include various fresh, seasonal fruits (figs, pears, and apples in cooler months; berries and peaches in warmer months).
- Tip: Dried fruit is a good option for charcuterie-lovers on a budget, but use them sparingly as they have higher sugar content than their fresh counterparts.
- Dips and Spreads. Dips and spreads keep things exciting by adding more flavor and texture options. Healthy and tasty dips include hummus, seasoned yogurt, mushroom pate, or guacamole. Got a sweet tooth? Place small jars of your favorite fruit compote, jellies, or raw honey all over your platter.
- Tip: Looking to hold back on excess sugar? Drizzle honey over a part of your spread instead of leaving a tempting little pot to dip in.
- Nuts. Raw, unsalted nuts are high in heart-healthy fats and protein and add an enjoyable crunch to your charcuterie board. Nuts like almonds and pistachios are a tasty charcuterie staple, but variety is the spice of life so add pine nuts, cashews, and even nut butters.
- Crackers and Bread. Keep your carb options healthy by choosing whole-grain crackers and low-sugar bread like sourdough, sprouted grains, and pumpernickel.
- Tip: Looking for protein-rich alternatives? Try crackers made with legumes like chickpeas and white beans!
- Herbs. Make your board look extra fancy by topping them with fresh or dried herbs. Basil and thyme are typical charcuterie mainstays.
- Tip: Fresh herbs like parsley and mint are helpful as breath fresheners after a flavorful meal.
Step 1: Choose your board, platter, or plate. There are specialty charcuterie platters and boards, but those on a budget can use wooden chopping boards or plates instead.
Step 2: Lay out your soft and moist ingredients because they may be more challenging to relocate later.
Step 3: Place your dips around the board. From here, you can strategically arrange ingredients according to what goes best with each dip.
Step 4: Lay out your dry ingredients. Let your inner artist burst forth! You can do nothing wrong here — whether you choose to arrange everything by color, texture, or pure whimsy — because everything will be delicious anyway.
Step 5: Top with your choice of garnishings, then dig in!
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Hungry for more delectable food and drink options to try yourself? Check out our library of delicious and healthy recipes!