Hello, hello! Happy holidays! I don't know about you, but I've been having so much fun this holiday season hosting and feeding people! Ha! It's what I love best and it's easy to do when you can display everything so beautifully on a lovely grazing board. This gives people the option to well...graze! Who doesn't love a good grazing board? So, I flip-flop between calling it a grazing board and a charcuterie board. If we want to get super technical, the word 'charcuterie' means "cold cooked meats", but I am here to flip the script and kind of like calling it a vegan charcuterie board because it sounds fancy. ...but I digress. Whether you call it a grazing board, charcuterie board or appetizer platter, it all pretty much means the same thing; lovely little finger foods.
I have labeled my most recent one for you, so you can use it as inspo to create your own.
Obviously, you can add whatever you like to it that makes you happy, but I think having some basics included is key.
Some of the basics include hummus and fresh organic veggies. Choose any vegetables that are in season. All veggies add fabulous pops of color, so you can't really go wrong with whatever you choose.
Add crackers of your liking. I tend to add a more "rustic" looking cracker for some texture, like a Mary's Gone Crackers kind of cracker and then you can add a more familiar, basic cracker like a "Wheat Thin" or "Ritz" kind of style. I do not recommend those particular brands, as they are not made with healthy ingredients, but Trader Joe's or Whole Foods sells their versions, and they tend to have slightly better ingredients.
Next, I love to include castelvetrano olives. Why? Because they are bright green, plump, mild, and add such a richness to the board. If you can find them fresh (Whole Foods typically has them at their olive bar), this is best!
Fresh fruit adds a lovely contrast and some sweetness to your board. Choose anything that is seasonal. For this one, I chose grapes (which I think should be a basic on any board, since they really do make your board "pop") and persimmon, which are definitely seasonal, so I wanted to take advantage.
Dried fruits can also be nice and add some texture, color and contribute to the sweetness of the board. I added dried apricots and dried figs. Typically, I would prefer fresh figs, but their season is super short-lived. If you can find them in season, snag them and add them!!
Okay, so now on to the GOOD stuff; the vegan cheeses!!!! I recommend at least one "dip" style cheese. I really enjoy Treeline which you can find at places like Whole Foods, but can also order online. Kitehill also makes amazing vegan dips and spreads.
I like to add a hard cheese; something like a vegan cheddar. I used the Daiya block cheddar on this board. Daiya is more readily available, and you should be able to find this at most conventional grocery stores.
I also added vegan prosciutto, which is also available at some conventional markets as well as online! The brand I used is called Good & Green. It's really tasty!!
Lastly, I think it's nice to add either fresh herbs (I used rosemary from our garden), fresh flowers, or even both (which is what I did here). It brightens up the board, adds more color, texture, and overall, just makes it look pretty. You could even add edible flowers, if you want people to be able to actually consume every little thing on your board.
So, what do you put all this food on and where can I purchase one? I look at all different shops for nice platters. I prefer natural wood, since I think it makes the loveliest backdrop for beautiful food, but you are not limited to wood at all. World Market, Etsy, and even Amazon sell boards of all shapes and sizes. I would recommend purchasing a large one, and perhaps a medium sized one. It's fun to jam pack a large one with all those yummy goodies, and obviously, you are quite limited the smaller you choose. Smaller platters can be nice for dessert boards though, so collect a few and have fun!
It's also useful to have small bowls on hand to put items such as hummus and dips into. Try to avoid plastic, and go for glass or porcelain since it just looks nicer. You can find nesting bowls or unique designs anywhere, really! Any store such as Home Goods, Ross, World Market, Anthropologie or even ethnic markets. These can be fun and add a bit of personality to your board. I'm always on the lookout for neat little bowls.
Maybe you'll consider giving a vegan grazing board a try the next time you host. Clearly, there are tons of options to choose from when creating one! This would be deliciously lovely for New Year's Eve...just sayin'. Let me know how yours turns out!