How to Make the Best Vegetarian Charcuterie Board You’ve Ever Had

How to Make the Best Vegetarian Charcuterie Board You’ve Ever Had
Photo: Nina Firsova, Shutterstock

Charcuterie boards are fantastic in a million ways, whether it’s taking one on a camping trip, assembling one for your kids’ lunch, hosting a party, a last-minute dinner when you’re too tired to cook, or even giving one as a Valentine’s Day gift. The classics are classics for a reason, and charcuterie boards are no exception: the blend of cheese, pickles, fruits, vegetables, nuts, crackers, and meats offer a well-balanced set of flavours.

If you need vegetarian one, though, putting together a charcuterie board can be a bit of a challenge. Without the meats, it’s just a cheese plate, which is still nice, but sometimes you want a protein option with a heft and flavour that cheese alone can’t fully satisfy. So if you’re making a vegetarian charcuterie board, what are your options?

Pre-made vegetarian charcuterie options are expanding

One of the nice things about charcuterie boards is they are easy to assemble, as you can get many of the ingredients pre-made. In terms of vegetarian options, there are a lot more available today than there were in the past, which means that if you are crunched for time, there will still be enough for you to choose from.

The exact selection will vary depending on where you live, but there are a number of plant-based deli meats, sausages, and miscellaneous plant-based meat options that will fit nicely on your charcuterie board.

Some examples include Sweet Earth’s Harmless Ham, Tofurky’s deli slices, Frieda’s Soyrizo, or Field Roast’s celebration roasts. Finding the one that you like can be a bit of trial and error, but the good news is that the options are growing by the day.

How to make your own plant-based meat options

If you have a little more time and want a homemade option, it’s also possible to prepare your own plant-based meat options for a charcuterie board. Your best bet will probably be to make it from tofu, as it’s easy to cook, absorbs flavours well, and is readily available.

“Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box with tofu, [as it] can be baked, fried, sautéed, and blended, making way for endless recipes,” said Marissa Mullen, a food stylist and spokesperson for House Foods America, who specialises in assembling charcuterie plates. Mullen, who can be found on Instagram at @ThatCheesePlate, has put together just about every imaginable combination of charcuterie that is out there, with vegetarian boards being no exception.

“Tofu is such a wonderful product to cook with, [as] its natural flavour is mild and it’s made in a variety of textures,” Mullen said. “This creates an approachable slate to build upon with different spices and cooking techniques.”

When it comes to making vegetarian options for her charcuterie board, Mullen has a number of tofu recipes that are her go-to option, including a smoky tofu bacon, tofu chorizo, and breaded basil tofu bites, which she shared with Lifehacker.

Tofu Chorizo

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of firm tofu, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon of adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. In a bowl, combine crumbled tofu, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, adobo sauce and spices

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until shimmering

3. Add seasoned tofu crumbles and sauté for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned and crispy

Tofu Bacon

Ingredients:

  • ½ package of extra firm tofu
  • ½ cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Slice tofu into thin strips, about ⅛ inches

2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, soy sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, liquid smoke and salt and pepper

3. Place the tofu in a shallow baking dish and cover with liquid. Marinated in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours (can go as long as 24 hours)

4. Heat the oven to 175°C and spray a non-stick baking tray with a light layer of oil

5. Evenly space the tofu strips on the tray and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until browned and crispy

Breaded Basil Tofu Bites

Ingredients:

  • ½ package of extra firm tofu
  • ½ cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • ½ cup of unsweetened oat or almond milk

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 218°C

2. Slice the tofu into even 1-inch cubes

3. In a shallow dish, combine the panko, basil, onion powder, salt and pepper

4. In a small bowl, add the milk

5. Dunk each cube of tofu into the milk, followed by the panko mixture, covering all sides

6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes until brown and crispy, flipping the tofu every 15 minutes

The next time you’re in the mood for charcuterie, it’s good to know that there are additional plant-based options available. After all, the joy of charcuterie is all about the options.

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