In this post: A gorgeous charcuterie board is an excellent host or hostess gift, or a great option for entertaining friends & family. Here’s how to make a stunning vegan version that everyone can enjoy!
Charcuterie boards are perfect for date nights, parties, or holiday get-togethers! And making your charcuterie board vegan is an excellent way to include everyone in the celebration! Learn how with these easy step-by-step instructions.
What is Charcuterie?
As I explained in my post about regular charcuterie boards, charcuterie is a French word that is used to describe a collection of meats. It is based on the two French words “chair” which means flesh and “cuir” which means cooked. It was a way of cooking meats to preserve them before refrigeration existed!
What is a Charcuterie Board?
Strictly speaking, a charcuterie board is a display of cured meats. They have gained popularity in the last several years and now usually include meats, cheeses, crackers, dips, pickles, olives, nuts, fruits, and veggies…which was often previously referred to as a cheeseboard.
What is a VEGAN Charcuterie Board or Snack Board?
For a vegan charcuterie board – aka a snack board – we either skip the meat and cheese or use delicious vegan substitutes! Otherwise, it is the same as a regular charcuterie board.
What Does a Vegan Charcuterie Board Include?
A vegan charcuterie board includes:
- vegan meat and cheese (optional – you can skip these if you’d like)
- pickles – sweet, bread and butter, dill; anything you like!
- olives such as green, black, and kalamata; or more fancy olives like alfonso and castelvetrano
- fruits (dried or fresh) like grapes, cranberries, apricot, plumb; whatever is in season!
- raw veggies like carrots, cucumber, and zucchini; or your personal favorites
- bread and/or crackers
- dip like hummus, jam, guacamole, and more!
When to Serve a Vegan Charcuterie Board
You can serve a vegan charcuterie board as a snack before a meal to “hold everyone over” until you’re done cooking.
Vegan snack boards also work as an easy meal when you don’t feel like putting in a lot of work!
Or you can bring it along to a potluck and you’ll be everyone’s favorite person!
Vegan charcuterie boards work for anything from family meals to casual get-togethers to fancy dinner parties.
Reasons to Love Vegan Snack Boards
Vegan charcuterie boards:
- are quick and easy to make
- don’t require fancy equipment or hard-to-follow instructions
- are totally adaptable to any dietary restrictions or allergies (see below for ideas)
Vegan Charcuterie Board Ingredients
Raw veggies – crudites if you are feeling fancy – add a nice crisp texture to this type of snack board. Here are some great options:
- bell peppers
- cherry tomatoes
- cucumber slices
- carrot sticks
Condiments and dips are a necessity for grazing boards. Here are a few you might use:
- hot sauce
- olive oil (with herbs and garlic – yum!)
Vegan cheese options
Some companies like BabyBel®, Daiya, and VioLife make vegan cheese. Many grocery stores also sell vegan cheese made of cashews, soy, almonds, and even beans! There are many options available for vegan cheese.
Bread and other carb dippers
Bread and crackers are wonderful additions to charcuterie boards. You can, of course, include other grains and starches if you’d like.
- flavored crackers like vegetable thins
- seed crackers (great for keto diets!)
- cassava crackers (also good for keto diets)
- potato chips
Dried and fresh fruit
Fruits add a naturally sweet flavor to snack boards. Here are some good ones:
You can include just about any type of nuts and seeds on your charcuterie board – provided of course NONE of your guests has nut allergies. You can choose seasoned, salted, or raw nuts and seeds.
- macadamia nuts
- brazil nuts
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds
These are some of my favorite add-ons:
- dark chocolate (or other dairy-free chocolate)
- fresh herbs like dill, rosemary, thyme, and parsley
How to Make a Vegan Charcuterie Board
1. Start with the bowls. There are no strict rules for bowl placement but you may find these guidelines helpful:
- One bowl – place it to one side or place it in the center and have all the other ingredients spread out from that center point.
- Two bowls – place them near opposite sides or corners of your board.
- Three bowls – have the bowls form a loose triangle.
- Many bowls – put a couple on their own and then group the rest together.
2. Place the vegan cheese, if you’re using it. Space a variety of cheeses around the board leaving room for crackers around them. Make sure your cheeses are spreadable or cut into bite-sized pieces!
3. Position the fruit and vegetables. Fill in the space around the cheese – avoiding where you want the crackers to be – with bite-sized fruits and veggies. Because fruit and veggies have a variety of bright colors, now is the time to organize and evenly spread out colors!
4. Place the crackers. We place these now so they don’t get soggy under the fruits and vegetables.
5. Fill in the gaps. There will likely be small gaps where you can put olives, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, etc.
6. Add the dips. You’ve already placed the bowls for these dips so now it’s time to put the dips in the bowls (remember to vary colors)!
7. Decorate and garnish. Garnish with well-washed, edible flowers and/or herbs. Flowers like nasturtiums, zinnias, bachelor buttons, and calendula are great options! And basil, lavender, chives, and dill are excellent herbs to use.
How to Arrange a Charcuterie Board
Here are some styling and arranging tips for your board:
- Just like in decorating, an odd number of items look best! This is more important to remember for the bowls or large items on your platter.
- Start with the largest items first and work your way down to smaller things.
- Serve everything in bite-sized pieces. This will make it easier for everyone to eat from the board!
- Help your guests to know what goes with what by putting those things together, like cheese and crackers or pickles and olives!
- Try to space out your foods that have similar colors so they’re not all grouped together. This will create a balanced-looking snack board!
How to Make a Vegan Charcuterie Board Whole Foods Plant-Based (WFPB)
The whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet avoids animal products, emphasizes minimally processed foods, focuses on plants, and excludes added sugars, white flour, and processed oils. To make a vegan charcuterie board that lines up with the WFPB diet you should:
- buy whole wheat or whole grain bread and crackers
- make your own dips (because most store-bought dips contain oil and are fairly heavily processed)
- avoid using chocolates or other sugar-sweetened foods
Can a charcuterie board be vegetarian?
Though a vegetarian or vegan charcuterie board does not fit the traditional sense of the word charcuterie, it is absolutely possible – and actually quite common – to have a vegetarian or vegan “charcuterie” board! To make the charcuterie board vegetarian just remove the meat or replace it with a meatless alternative. And to make it vegan, as listed above, leave off true dairy items as well.
What size board should be used?
The size of the board you choose should be based on how many people you are serving! As a meal, a board around 9″x13″ should serve four adults and 18″x24″ should serve 8 adults. Serving a charcuterie board as a meal for more than 8-10 people may require you to use 2+ boards!
What goes in a vegetarian charcuterie board?
Aside from the meat, everything you put on a regular charcuterie board can go on a vegetarian charcuterie board – cheese, crackers, fruit, veggies, nuts, pickles, olives, and more!
What can I use if I don’t have a charcuterie board?
If you don’t have a charcuterie board you can use a:
- large plate
- cutting board
- cookie sheet with parchment paper
Do charcuterie boards have to be wood?
Though it is the most common material, charcuterie boards don’t have to be wood! You can use metal cookie sheets, plates, plastic cutting boards or trays, etc.
What is the difference between a charcuterie board and an antipasto board?
Both charcuterie and antipasto boards include meats and garnishes. But the big difference between the two is that antipasto boards do not include cheese whereas charcuterie boards do!