Reinventing Your Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie boards or grazing boards have gained a lot of popularity over the past few years. There are many varieties from your classic cheese and meat board to dessert and butter boards – the sky is the limit. With the holidays in our midst and social gatherings more common, you will probably run into a few or even try your hand at making one.  Since charcuterie boards are traditionally your meat and cheese type boards, let’s look at ways to make a healthy holiday “grazing” board.  Below are interesting and healthy ideas for a lighter, fun, and healthful grazing board.

Have fun exploring making grazing boards with a variety of fruits, vegetables, spreads, dips, fish, seafood, cheeses, nuts, and whole grains.  The combinations are endless.

Cheese and fruit board

Pack your cheese and fresh fruit grazing board with a variety of cheeses. Try to get reduced-fat cheese as most cheese comes in a reduced-fat version. Choose fresh fruits that are from a variety of colors such as red raspberries, cherries and strawberries, green and purple grapes, blueberries, yellow pineapple, green honeydew, and orange cantaloupe cubes or slices. Add whole grain crackers and sprinkle some almonds or dried fruits (dried cranberries or apricots) in to top it off.  The fruits, cheeses, whole grains, and nuts pack this board with nutrients. The colors are eye appealing and the sweet and salty/savory flavors are a win-win.  

Vegetables and Protein

You can also make grazing boards with fresh vegetables, such as red, orange, or yellow bell pepper strips, baby carrots, cauliflower, broccoli florets, grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and red onions. You can add pickles, olives, marinated artichokes, roasted red peppers, and sundried tomatoes. You can serve these vegetables with a variety of cheeses, fish/seafood (shrimp, salmon, lox, crab, lobster), or sliced hard-boiled eggs.  There are many dips and spreads you can use to accent your ingredients. The vegetables and healthy protein pack a powerful nutrition punch. The salty, briny foods, savory cheeses, and other foods will make you come back for more.

You can also make holiday-themed boards:

For Chanukah – you can have traditional latkes (potato pancakes), with sour cream, apple sauce, lox, capers, thinly sliced red onions, lemons, and cucumbers. You can add in your own touches with fresh herbs like dill or parsley.  Don’t forget to add in some whole-grain crackers. 

For Christmas – you can choose red and green fruits and/or vegetables:  sliced red or green bell peppers, cherry or grape tomatoes, pomegranate arils, and red and green apples. You can shape your ingredients into a Christmas tree or ornament. Place a slice of star fruit and use that as the star on the top of the tree. Add in some cheese cubes, dried cranberries, and nuts.

For New Year’s Eve – choose boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce, whole grain crackers, pickles (such as cornichons or bread and butter), smoked salmon, Havarti cheese with dill, bell peppers strips, grapes, and vegetable cream cheese spread.

The best thing about grazing boards is there is no limit on what you can put together – have fun, be creative, and enjoy!

Source: Today’s Dietitian