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5 Ingredient Series: Charcuterie Boards

A charcuterie board with olives, cheese, meats, carrots, cucumbers, fruit, and crackers

Charcutier boards have become all the rage in recent years. It’s a fun meal to serve for lunches, dinners, and large gatherings because it is easy to put together and has zero cooking or baking. What is charcutier? Charcutier was first derived in 15th century France, where people would go to a charcutier store to by meat products. Unlike a delicatessen (deli) or a butcher shop these meats are processed differently. The process was developed by using salt, vinegar, and smoke to preserve the meat. Typically, charcutier boards would have a variety of meats, like salami and prosciutto, some cheese, and might also include miniature pickles or olives, and whole grain mustard.

Nowadays, charcuterie boards have many ingredients besides cured meat and are often called grazing boards, because they encourage people to choose a variety of foods throughout an event and come back to the table when they are hungry for more. 


There are four things to keep in mind when creating a charcuterie board. 

  1. Think about the five food groups. Since this board will have 5 ingredients, using MyPlate as a guide can be a great resource.
  2. Find ingredients that have different textures. For instance, pairing a soft cheese like goat cheese would go well with a whole grain cracker.
  3. Find ingredients that have different flavors. If you like sharp cheddar you could pair it with something tart like green apples. Or if you like a little spice, find a spicy salami to go with a mild cheese. 
  4. Try to add color to your board. Need something green for your board? Add cucumbers, green grapes, or olives. Want something red or purple? Add cherry tomatoes, beets, or dried cranberries. 
A small plate with a serving of cheese, salami, cucumber, oranges, carrots, grapes, crackers, and olives


Salami, goat cheese, red grapes, cucumbers, pretzel crisps.

Low-sodium ham slices, Swiss cheese, peppers,  dried apricots, whole grain crackers. 

Low-sodium turkey slices, sharp cheddar cheese, green apples, whole grain crackers. 


Some great additions you can include on your charcuterie board are condiments. Dijon or whole grain mustard, and jams like apricot or black raspberry are delicious toppings that will enrich the flavors of ingredients on your board.  


When we search for charcutier boards on our phones, we usually come across fancy boards with expensive cheese and meats. But you do not need to have expensive boards or get specialty cheese for your meal. You can find tasty cheese and charcuterie meats at your local grocery store. You can also look for items that are on sale or can be used in multiple meals, like pepperoni for Monday’s charcuterie board and Wednesday’s pizza night! You also don’t need fancy cutlery or boards. Put your charcutier on a cutting board, a platter, or on individual plates. Use serving spoons and butter knives to cut and spread cheese. 


The goal when filling your plate or wA small plate with a serving of carrots, crackers, grapes, dried cranberries, almonds, low sodium ham, and sharp cheddar cheese.hen creating a charcuterie board is to have half the plate filled with fruits and vegetables. Here’s the serving sizes for one person! 

Fruit: For one person, you can have 1 cup of fruit on your plate.  For families or groups plan to have a cup of fruits available for each person 

Vegetables: For one person, you can have 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables. For families or groups plan to have a cup of vegetables available for each person 

Protein: For one person you can have 1 ounce of sliced deli meat, or 1 slice of turkey, ham, salami. Nuts should be ½ ounce (12 almonds, 24 pistachios, 7 walnut halves). You can add a mix of proteins on your board, but plan to have at least ½ ounce of protein for each person. 

Dairy: For one person, you can have 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese on your plate. For families or groups plan to have 1 ½ ounces of cheese for each person. 

Grains: For one person, you can have 1 cup of whole grain crackers, about 5 whole wheat crackers, 2 rye crisp breads, or 7 square or round crackers. For families or groups plan to have 1 cup per person. 


Tune in next week for: 

Personalized Pizzas


Emma Fellabaum
March 27, 2024
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