You're getting ready to host your next party, and you know what that means: It's time to stock up on a charcuterie board.
Charcuterie boards are one of the easiest ways to impress your friends and family, whether you're hosting a casual get-together or throwing a swanky soiree.
But this time, we're not talking about just any old charcuterie board. We're talking about an elevated one. A healthy one. A delicious one!
Today we'll look at the wonderful world of healthy charcuterie boards and discuss some of our favorite ideas for making a healthy charcuterie board.
Before we get into the deep end with tons of healthy charcuterie board ideas and tips, let's start with an introduction to what charcuterie boards are. Are charcuterie boards healthy, and why are they such an awesome party option?
What Is A Charcuterie Board?
A charcuterie board is a large platter of cured meats and cheeses that is served at parties. It’s great for dinner parties because it’s simple and delicious and allows you to be creative with your serving options.
A charcuterie board is also a great way to show off your hosting skills, and provides an easy appetizer for guests who are happy to mingle while they eat!
A charcuterie board will typically contain cured meats such as prosciutto and salami, pâté, fruit preserves, cheeses, bread, and crackers.
Are Charcuterie Boards Healthy?
Many charcuterie boards aren't considered healthy due to their high-fat meats and cheeses and their sodium content, but there’s no reason that has to be the case!
One of the best things about charcuterie boards is how customizable they are, so you can easily make these boards healthier if you make the right choices. For instance, using fat-free cheese paired with lean meats and fresh fruit will help balance out the fat content in charcuterie boards and make them more nutritious as a whole. Throw in some probiotics, and you have something downright healthy!
Healthy Charcuterie Board Ideas
The key to a successful healthy charcuterie board is variety. There are so many different kinds offermented vegetables and pickles out there—try mixing them up!
You can also add some olives or nuts for crunch. The possibilities are endless! You want your guests to be able to choose something they'll like and be intrigued by.
Here are some tips for putting together your own healthy charcuterie board.
Add Lean Meats For Protein
The charcuterie board is typically filled with delicious cured meats like salami, prosciutto, saucisson sec, or speck—all of which are packed with sodium, nitrates, saturated fat, and calories. Where are you supposed to find a healthy alternative?
The secret to making a healthy charcuterie board is using meats that are unprocessed, lower in fat, and high in protein. The best options for this include chicken, turkey, and sirloin steak. These meats can be served cured, like cold cuts, or cooked and sliced into thin pieces to make deli-style sandwiches.
Here are some examples of meats that are good for making healthy charcuterie boards:
- Chicken breast (contains only 3.6 g of fat with 31 g of protein per 100 grams)
- Turkey breast (contains only 8 g of fat with 29 g of protein per 100 grams)
- Round steak (contains only7 g of fat with 28 g of protein per 100 grams)
Sirloin steak (contains only14 g of fat with 27 g of protein per 100 grams)
Go With Homemade Cheese For Calcium And Flavor
When it comes to making a healthy charcuterie board that's free of gluten and high in flavor, homemade cheese is the way to go.
There's something to be said for the kind of flavor that comes when you make something yourself—and cheese is no exception. Plus, the healthiest options are often the most expensive ones, so it's helpful to know how to make your own cheese.
Making your own cheese at home is surprisingly easy and fun. Depending on the type of cheese you want to make, all you really need are two things: milk and acheese-making kit.
Here are five easy cheese recipes for you to try out on your next charcuterie board:
- Kefir Cheese
- Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese Recipe
- Cheddar Cheese Recipe
- Dry Cottage Cheese Recipe
- Homemade Swiss Cheese Recipe
- Traditional Parmesan Cheese Recipe
Switch To Sourdough Bread And Crackers For Extra Nutrition:
Sourdough bread is made fromsourdough starter, which contains live yeast and bacteria in a symbiotic relationship.
You also get more vitamins from sourdough than regular breads because it has less gluten and contains prebiotics, which make it easier for your body to absorb them. It also has less sugar and fewer additives.
The same goes for whole wheat sourdough crackers—they're low-carb and high in fiber, so you can enjoy them without feeling guilty! If you want to add some extra crunch, try pairing with nuts, seeds, or even dried fruit for some texture.
You can also make your own crackers at home! Making them yourself will ensure they are free of additives and preservatives, so they'll be a great addition to any charcuterie board. Try out oursourdough rosemary crackers recipe for your next charcuterie board.
Choose Fresh Fruits For Fiber And Vitamins
Add some fresh or seasonal fruits to this combo, and you've got yourself an even healthier appetizer that has more going on than just meat, cheese, and bread. It's also an easy way to add more vitamins, color, and texture to your platter.
Fresh fruits will lend just the right amount of sweetness. Don't forget the olive oil!
Put Out A Bowl Of Nuts And Seeds For Healthy Fats & Plant-Based Protein
Craving something salty? Try adding some nuts to your board instead of chips; they're crunchy and delicious without the high sodium content found in most other snacks. And the best part? They’re a great option for your vegan friends.
Nuts and seeds are full of healthy fats and plant-based protein, something that many vegetarians miss out on at parties—thanks to more common meat portions. They make an excellent alternative for those who aren't fans of meat and cheese but still want something savory and satisfying.
Fermented Vegetables For Healthy Probiotics And Flavor
Next up:fermented vegetables. These add crunch and acidity, which balances out the rich fat from all those cured meats. Try adding some fermented radishes or sauerkraut for extra oomph!
They also have lots of antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and have been linked to helping prevent heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.
In addition, fermented veggies have probiotic benefits. Probiotics help promote digestive health by increasing the number of healthy bacteria in your gut—this can improve digestion overall and help prevent diarrhea or constipation.
Plus, fermented vegetables are super easy to make at home. Here are five easy fermented food recipes for you to try out on your next charcuterie board:
- Sauerkraut Recipe
- Lacto-Fermented Radishes Recipe
- Lacto-Fermented Peppers
- Lacto-Fermented “Kosher” Dill Pickles Recipe
Add A Mix Of Savory And Sweet Spreads And Dips For A Taste Twist
By adding savory and sweet spreads and dips to your charcuterie board, you can make your guests feel more welcome and excited about what's to come. The colors, textures, and flavors of these additional ingredients will make your healthy charcuterie board more interesting—and delicious!
Healthy Charcuterie Board Ideas: The Bottom Line
Charcuterie boards aren't typically considered healthy foods because they often contain high amounts of fat and sodium content; but they can still become quite healthy if they are well-portioned and balanced.
And finally, don't forget that what goes on your board matters too! Try pairing your charcuterie with fresh fruits, fermented vegetables, and sourdough, instead of high-fat meats or white breads and crackers—this will help keep your calorie count low while still delivering deliciousness.