Charcuterie Boards (pronounced shaar-koo-tuh-ree) are fun to eat and perfect for entertaining. Here are some tips to help you make a healthy charcuterie board that everyone will love.
Healthy Charcuterie - an Easy Appetizer or Dinner
Don't you just love meat and cheese boards filled with all kinds of bite-sized goodies that you can mix and match while sipping on a glass of wine?
I know I could help empty a meat and cheese tray for dinner along with a big bowl of salad and be completely happy. Who doesn't love appetizers for dinner?
How to Build a Healthy Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie boards are typically filled with processed meats and cheeses can be a little bit unhealthy. I've come up with a better way to enjoy a meat and cheese board without compromising the flavor.
Healthy Charcuterie Board Ingredients
There are no set ingredients when it comes to making a healthy charcuterie board. The key is to fill it up with a balance of quality ingredients like nitrate-free meats, artisan cheeses, veggies, and fruits.
Select any variety of meat with an assortment of flavors and textures. Think salty, smoky, and spicy. More importantly, choose meats that are preferably free of nitrates and minimally processed.
If you can't find nitrate-free meats, look for artisanal meats that are minimally processed or check out carnivore club for high-quality artisanal charcuterie products.
Any variety of cheeses with a combination of flavor and textures. Soft cheese such as brie, goat, or camembert are good choices as well as sharp cheddars, Parmesan, gouda, and swiss.
Cheese used on this board: sharp cheddar with herbs, mild cheddar
Fresh Seasonal Vegetables
Seasonal vegetables brighten up any board with their refreshing flavors and vibrant colors.
Celery and carrots are always a great stand-by option, and so are cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, roasted peppers, hot peppers, cucumber slices, cauliflower, and broccoli.
Vegetables used: carrot and celery sticks
Fresh Fruit and Dried Fruit
The sweetness of fruit balances out the saltiness in the meats and cheeses and makes a nice contrast in both taste and appearance. Once again, different flavors and textures play well together.
Here are some seasonal fruit suggestions; in the fall and winter use figs, pears, grapes or apples. In the warmer months, fresh berries, cherries and peaches are a great choice. Use dried fruit sparingly since it contains more sugar than fresh fruit.
Fruit used on this board : fresh grapes, dried apricots
Pickled or Brined Foods
Think olives, sweet or dill pickles, pickled jalapenos, pepperoncini, marinated artichokes or any variety of pickled vegetables for a salty piquant flavor.
Pickled Foods Used: Greek Olive Mix, Hot Pepper Rings, Baby Dill Pickles
Spreads and Dips
Spreads and dips are a must for dipping those veggies! Healthy Hummus, fruit spreads, gourmet mustard, bean dips, guacamole or pate like this mushroom pate.
Spreads and Dips Used: Homemade Hummus
Nuts to add some crunch. Use an assortment of raw nuts that are lower in salt and have no added fats. Nuts in the shell can be a fun addition to add to the board too.
You might even find that you eat less because you can actually see how many nuts you ate from the shells. These Maple Glazed Cashews or Sweet and Spicy Pecans also taste great on a charcuterie board, they are slightly sweet and crunchy.
Nuts Used on this Board: Almonds
Bread and Crackers
Any kind will do, my recommendation is a whole wheat baguette, breadsticks, crostini, or plain and simple crackers. Don't forget the gluten-free crackers for your guests with gluten intolerance.
Bread and Crackers Used: Crostini and Cheese sticks
Add These to Your Meat and Cheese Board
Even though charcuterie boards are almost a meal by themselves, make it a full meal by serving your board with an arugula salad, chopped salad, spinach salad, cilantro lime shrimp, or grilled chicken.
Healthy charcuterie board tips and questions
Yes, it can be healthy when you fill it up with healthy ingredients. Go heavy on plant-based foods such as hummus, fresh veggies, olives, and fruit (fresh or dried). Add lesser amounts of minimally processed or unprocessed meats and cheeses.
Not always. Low-calorie and healthy foods don't always go hand in hand. Some foods that are low in calories are not healthy and vice versa.
If you are looking for a healthy and low-calorie board, stay away from the fatty meats and cheeses and fill your board up with vegetables and other plant-based ingredients.
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Click on serving size to scale this recipe
- Place all of the ingredients onto a board or platter and enjoy!
- The amount of items on the board depends on how many people you will be serving. One to two slices of meat per person, and a few pieces of cheese. The beauty of these boards is that they can sit out for a while without spoiling and it's easy to store any leftovers.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used
Check out more of our appetizer recipes here!