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Need some new meal ideas or are you looking for something a little more “upscale” to serve for upcoming get-together meals? Here are some simple but unique charcuterie board ideas.
Non-Traditional Unique Charcuterie Board Ideas
Guest Post by Kendra P.
Charcuterie boards have been all the rage this past year, and my family has definitely gotten in on the action. “Charcuterie” is the art of preparing cured or smoked meats. Traditionally, charcuterie boards are an elegantly displayed variety of boards with smoked meats, fancy cheeses, crackers, breads, olives, nuts, dips, and fruits. As you can imagine, if you do charcuterie boards the “right way,” you can really spend quite a sum on the highest quality meats and savory and hard cheeses.
Our family, though, takes a more “comfortable” and —ahem— affordable —approach to charcuterie, and we use these various boards on a weekly basis. In fact, before I started getting creative, charcuterie-style, my family wouldn’t touch certain classic breakfast dishes like oatmeal!
Today I want to share just a few of the fun charcuterie board spin-offs I have created for some inspiration! These boards are great for an entire meal in themselves or you can create smaller versions for an appetizer. You can put the ingredients on a board, special platter, or a large plate…anything you have!
Oatmeal Charcuterie Board
This was the one that really got us excited about variety! Personally, I love oatmeal, but my family isn’t so much a fan… until one morning I decided to put out little bowls of seeds, nuts, fruits, sweeteners, and other add-ins and let the kids go crazy. Suddenly, oatmeal is now their favorite! Some of the things we put on our oatmeal charcuterie board are:
- fresh berries
- diced apples
- sliced almonds, nuts, and/or pecans
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
- raisins (or other dried fruit)
- dark chocolate chips
- brown sugar
- heavy cream
- pure maple syrup
Pancake Charcuterie Board
This one was fun! I had leftover crepe batter one morning, and it wasn’t enough for our family of seven, so I decided to stretch it. I made silver-dollar pancakes and placed them on our wooden turntable along with the leftover crepes and:
- fresh berries
- banana slices
- variety of chopped nuts
- peanut butter (or any nut butter)
- dark chocolate chips
- pure maple syrup
- whipped cream
- bacon or sausage
Fruit ’n’ Veggie Charcuterie Board
We are produce-crazy at our house, and I almost always have a fridge stocked full of fresh fruits and veggies. Sometimes when I am needing a break from cooking—Sunday evenings, or weekday lunches when Dad is gone — I pull out all of the odds and ends of produce in the fridge and chop them up for a picnic charcuterie in the living room!
Honestly, this is my kiddos favorite meal ever…is that normal? This one can really flow with whatever you have in your fridge, and you can display it as fancy or as simple as you’d like! My kids really enjoy it when we have a full fridge of many colors of produce and I make a rainbow.
- Red bell pepper
- Red Delicious, Gala, or Honeycrisp apples (peels on)
- Red Pears
- Sliced beef, salami, prosciutto, or ham
- Orange slices (ha!) or mandarins
- Orange bell peppers
- Carrot sticks
- Cheddar or Colby Cheese
- Yellow bell pepper
- Yellow carrots
- Golden Delicious apples
- Yellow pears
- Green bell pepper
- Snap Peas
- Fresh green beans
- Fresh broccoli
- Green Olives
- Fresh Herbs
- Black Olives
- Purple carrots
- Sweet cherries
- Purple cauliflower
- Red onions
White (for “clouds”)
- White cheeses
- Marshmallows or powdered donuts (Ok.. this isn’t healthy.. but it sure can be fun! Try this homemade maple marshmallow recipe for a healthier version!)
- Sliced chicken or turkey
- Hardboiled Eggs
Ice Cream Charcuterie Board
For my son’s birthday recently, he requested ice cream sundaes for dessert. I could have just made simple hot fudge sundaes, but instead I elevated it a notch by using up leftover Valentine’s and Easter candy that I had in the freezer, a few berries I had in the fridge, and waffle cone remotes from a local ice cream shop, and made a variety board of toppings. Think: frozen yogurt place in town, only much cheaper! The fun thing about this is it looks expensive, but really it isn’t—there is such a small amount of each topping, and when you save some of the holiday candy in the freezer for later, it makes pulling off these special occasion boards a snap! My son’s “ice cream charcuterie” included:
- hot fudge
- caramel sauce
- waffle cone remnants
- assorted leftover holiday candy
- sandwich cookies (or try these homemade thin mint cookies!)
You can find fun ways to elevate your simple charcuterie boards by switching up the arrangements. Consider using wavy, curved lines instead of straight, neat and tidy rows. Sprinkle your berries in multiple locations instead of one big clump. Group like items into three’s—three strawberries, nine broccoli florets, etc.
For your lunch meats, try rolling the slices or folding them in a wavy pattern and then alternating flavors on your board.
Cut out fun shapes with cheese, lay the slices in triangular, layered stacks, or consider cubing into bite-sized pieces.
Really, the sky’s the limit with what you can do to elevate a simple family meal or snack! With just a little bit of creativity, you can really make something simple, fun and memorable!
What else can you serve with a charcuterie board?
As you can see from the ideas above, the sky is the limit! You can create a board around a theme or you can just use whatever you have on hand. These might be a fun way to use and showcase leftovers!
What different types of charcuterie boards can be made?
You can make a charcuterie board for any meal of the day (breakfast, lunch, supper, snack) and you can make them for any part of the meal (appetizer, main meal, dessert).
What are 5 tips to making a charcuterie board?
- It doesn’t have to be complicated. Use as few or as many things as you’d like on your board.
- It doesn’t have to be expensive. Kids will eat colby cheese just as well as a fancy cheese!
- It doesn’t have to be some epic platter. Pinterest envy is real…skip the fancy and keep it simple and filling.
- It doesn’t have to be an appetizer. Use your board to create an entire meal, brunch, snack board, dessert, or anything you can dream of!
- It doesn’t have to be for a special occasion. Make your own charcuterie boards whenever you’d like!
Have you ever made non-traditional or unique charcuterie boards? What is your favorite simple meal to elevate in this way?
Kendra Paulton is a freelance writer, photographer and Certified StoryWay Guide specializing in family Legacy Books in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She resides on a fourth generation cattle ranch with her husband, five homeschooled children, and pack of German Shepherds. Visit her website www.dakotacanyonranch.com to connect.
This blog post on Unique Charcuterie Board Ideas was originally published on Little House Living in September 2021. It has been updated as of August 2022.