From parties and Instagram posts to magazine covers and influencer videos, charcuterie boards are trending – and for good reason. These fun and easy platters offer infinite opportunities for personalization, flavor, and texture. Simply select your plate, board, or platter, and start building!
Here are some ideas to help you create a healthy board to please palates:
Fill Your Board with Fruit
Seasonal fruit offers a sweet way to add color and texture to your board. Consider berries, cherries, apricots, peaches, and melons in warmer months, and figs, pears, and apples when temperatures cool.
Dried fruits like cranberries, figs, and raisins add sweetness and texture. Check food labels for added sugars to keep your board healthy.
Tip: To keep cutup apple, pear, and pineapple from browning: Before plating, soak them in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of honey to one cup of water for five minutes.
Bring on the Veggies
As with fruit, vegetable options are nearly endless. Fresh crudités like carrots, bell peppers, pink radishes, and celery are classic choices, along with snap peas, green beans, and cucumbers.
For an added twist, stack lettuce leaves on your platter to make wraps. Boston bib, romaine hearts, and chard provide a sturdy structure and healthy doses of vitamins and minerals. See our recipe for Crunchy Chicken Salad wraps!
Pick Your Proteins
If meat is a must, look for low-sodium and low-fat items. For healthier fare, include more of these options:
Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts
Cooked shrimp drizzled with lemon
Choose Your Cheese
Cheese provides protein, calcium, vitamins, and other nutrients.
To bring balance to your board, offset a high-fat favorite like Brie with a lower-fat option such as Swiss – and offer more of the latter. Read nutrition labels, and look for light, skim, or reduced-fat versions of cheese.
Aged, hard cheeses like Swiss, cheddar, and parmesan are naturally low in lactose. If you want to avoid dairy entirely, you can find lactose- and dairy-free cheese, too.
Whole grains have many health benefits. Eating whole grains can lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. So, whether you prefer baguettes, bagel chips, crackers, or pita wedges, look for whole-grain or whole-wheat versions.
Many whole grains are naturally gluten-free, but be sure a product is labeled “gluten-free” to be certain.
Beyond Green Garnishes
Instead of – or in addition to – fresh herbs, garnish your board with beautiful edible flowers. Bonus: These beauties are rich in antioxidants, which may reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. Here are a few to try:
Nasturtiums feature pretty orange, red, yellow, or white flowers and taste peppery, almost mustard-like.
Pansies and bee balm grow in a variety of splashy colors and have a minty flavor.
Nearly all roses are edible. Sprinkle some petals on your platter for a beautiful, velvety texture and taste ranging from floral to gingery.
Where to find them: To be edible, flowers should be grown organically, without chemicals or pesticides. Find edible flowers at farmers’ markets, in the produce – not floral – department at grocery stores, or online. You can also grow your own (see “6 Surprising Benefits of Gardening” on page 6).
Keep in mind: Not all flowers are edible. Some may even be toxic. So eat flowers only when you are sure they are edible.
White Bean Hummus
This healthy hummus packs a punch of Mediterranean flavor and makes a perfect dip for raw vegetables. It can be served in a colorful cup and makes a delicious addition to a charcuterie board. Serves 10.
1 can (15.5–16 oz.) reduced-sodium cannellini beans, drained (reserve 2 tbsp. of liquid)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. honey
1/8 tsp. sea salt
Chives (about 1 tbsp.) for garnish
Place all ingredients, except for chives and reserved liquid from the bean can, into a blender or a food processor fitted with a standard blade. Puree until smooth, or about three minutes. If the hummus is too thick, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of reserved liquid. Garnish with chives.
Crunchy Chicken Salad
Add flair to your board with this simple salad that works well in a lettuce wrap or on whole-grain crackers. Serves about 12.
2 cups chunked cooked chicken (leftovers work well!)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1/4 small onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 small apple, diced (leave the peel on)
1/2 cup grapes, cut in half
1/4 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
Put all the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together. Serve in a colorful bowl for your board.