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How to Make a Perfect Cheese Board (vegan options)

Everything you need to know about making a Show-Stopping Cheese Board, any time of year! This guide details the 5 elements you need to create the perfect charcuterie board, along with diverse options for specific ingredients. Vegan and gluten-free options included!

overhead shot of wooden cheese board with a variety of fruits, cheeses, and nuts in a purple green color scheme

How To Assemble a Cheese Board: The 5 Elements You Need

To begin, you’ll want to a cutting board/serving board for displaying all of the ingredients. After that, setting up a cheese board is really a simple process. I’ve devised this formula for cheese board success every time. Follow these ingredient categories in order and you’ll feel the same way!

1) First, add crackers and breads.

Add your scooping carbs for dipping and serving cheese. This can range from crispy toasts, pita chips, wheat thins, seed biscuits, and thicker crisp breads. In this recipe I specifically use chia crackers, Wasa, baguette toasts, and water crackers. Aim for textural and flavor variety. You want them to be sturdy enough to withstand cheese/jam, but not too sturdy that they’re unpleasant to break or bite into. You also do not want to go too crazy with flavors (like a red chili cracker), as that runs the risk of overpowering your other toppings. However, I sometimes like to throw add one cracker with a more interesting flavor profile, just to mix things up.

crackers and bread slices on a wooden cheese board

2) Next, add your cheeses and dips.

I like to select at least three high-quality cheeses for my board, with at least one hard and one soft option. In this recipe specifically we’re using vegan Parmesan and vegan goat cheese, but feel free to customize this to your preference. If you do not have access to great cheese, recipes like rosemary white bean dip, hummus, or spanakopita dip can be unique additions that add protein and interest to your board.

3) Next up, add some salty elements.

These add a nice contrast and are a great opportunity for unique textures. I like to include some roasted almonds, capers, and olives for bite. Cashews and roasted walnuts also would work well.

4) Then, add some fresh and dried fruit.

A mix of fresh and dried fruit provides color and flavor. Here we have pomegranate, pears, grapes, and fig jam. These are in season right now, and fit a general color scheme. If you are slicing pears or apples, I recommend rubbing the exposed pieces with a bit of lemon juice to prevent oxidation. Dates, dried apricots, and dried figs also will complement the cheese well. Jams should of course be served with a small spoon or knife for plating.

5) Finally, add some greens for brightness.

Some herbs or micro greens help finish any gaps on your tray. When selecting herbs, try to stay in the “soft” family with things like parsley and basil.

overhead shot of vegan cheese board with almonds and capers

How To Cut Cheese for a Cheese Board

This depends on the kind of cheese you are using, but here is a rule of thumb:

  • When serving soft cheese, serve it with a small knife so that it can be easily spread right onto a cracker.
  • When serving hard cheese, use a sharp knife to slice half of the cheese block into a few slivers that are about 2 cm long. This is an easy size for adding to a cracker or eating on its own. Wrap and reserve the other half to break into as needed later.

overhead shot of fig jam on a vegan cheese board with a sliver knife

Other Cheese Board Ideas and Tips

  • Stay within a three color scheme. Here I am using green, purple, and beige as my primary accents. Some other combinations could include:
    • Orange, red, and yellow (Using cheddar cheese, sliced apples, wheat crackers, cashews and strawberry jam)
    • Green, pink, and white (Using herbed cheese, pomegranate, dried cranberries, stilton, and green olives)
  • Rotate out what you serve with the seasons. For example, sliced peaches and basil are lovely additions in the summer. Blanched vegetables like asparagus can be fun for springtime. In fall, apple slices and caramel dip would be a crowd-pleaser.
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overhead shot of wooden cheese board with a variety of fruits, cheeses, and nuts in a purple green color scheme

How to Make a Perfect Cheese Board (vegan options)


  • Author: Emily
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Everything you need to know about making a Show-Stopping Cheese Board, any time of year! This post details the 5 elements you need to create the perfect charcuterie board, along with diverse options for specific ingredients. Vegan and gluten-free options included!


Ingredients

  • Crackers like: Wasa crisps, baguette toasts, chia crackers, wheat crackers, water crackers, or pita chips
  • Cheese like: goat, Parmesan, Cheddar, Brie, and Stilton (vegan options available at most stores)
  • Dips like: hummus, pesto, chili crisp, red pepper, and white bean
  • Fresh fruit like: grapes, pomegranate, sliced apples, sliced pears, and dates
  • Jams like: apricot, fig, or berry
  • Dried fruit like: raisins, cranberries, apricots, and figs
  • Nuts and seeds like: pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, and cashews
  • Salty items like: capers, green olives, and black olives
  • Greens like: parsley, basil, microgreens, and chives

Instructions

  1. Select 1-3 items from each of the categories listed above. Prepare ingredients by toasting breads and slicing fruits and cheeses as necessary.
  2. Arrange all ingredients on a large board in the following order: crackers, cheeses, dips, fresh fruits, jams, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, salty items, and greens.
  3. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Notes

Nutritional information varies based on ingredients used. Have fun with it and choose what you like!

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Plating
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: One sixth of board
  • Calories: 200 calories
  • Sugar: 13 grams
  • Sodium: 10 milligrams
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 5 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

Keywords: cheese board, charcuterie, snack, fruit, nuts, party, dips, appetizer

Pin this Cheese Board Guide For Later

Everything you need to know about creating a Show-Stopping Cheese Board, any time of year! This post details the 5 elements you need to create the perfect charcuterie board, along with diverse options for specific ingredients. Vegan and gluten-free options included!

Portrait of Emily, founder of Garlic Head

About the Author

Hi, I'm Emily! Garlic Head is a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets. My recipes focus on entertaining-style cuisine, perfect for celebrating all of life's little moments!

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Garlic Head is a plant-based community founded by me, Emily. I focus on providing affordable, simple, & healthy recipes for entertaining.

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