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Epic Vegetarian Charcuterie Board (and How to Build it)

Enjoy this super stylish delicious vegetarian charcuterie board as a group appetizer, satisfying impressive yet no-cook main, or as part of a party or potluck spread.

Top down view of a vegetable and cheese charcuterie board with two glasses of wine

This gorgeous vegetarian version feeds six as a main course (perfect for light heat-free summer dining) or 10-12 as an appetizer. We’ve also set out guided amounts for smaller groups, along with detailed instructions on how to build your charcuterie board to any vegetarian or meat-eaters delight!

Charcuterie boards can be quite expensive, even vegetarian ones, so remember that it’s perfectly fine to use regular supermarket ingredients and also raid your fridge, cupboards and fruit bowl for elements you can add (check out the foods to use on your board section) before you go buy groceries.

For speed and ease, I usually just buy everything prepared but I’ll also link out to awesome relevant recipes you can make at home. Though this is a vegetarian charcuterie board, it can also easily be made vegan by swapping out the cheeses for vegan cheeses – this vegan goat cheese would be a great addition. You’d also need to double-check that any fake meats used are vegan (veggie mortadella sometimes contains egg, for example).

What is a charcuterie board?

A charcuterie board is usually a serving board with an artfully arranged selection of meat, cheese, fruits, crackers, breads, and nuts. Charcuterie is actually a French word for certain (usually cured) meat products, such as bacon and sausages. A vegetarian charcuterie board is similar but can contain vegetarian fake meats instead of meat, or omit the meat part altogether (although technically it is actually a cheese board then).

Charcuterie boards also commonly paired with wine. Here in Spain, it’s summertime so we are pairing ours with white wines like a well chilled cava, Albariño, or Verdejo. A Sauvignon Blanc or Pinor Noir would also go well.

If you prefer red wine, full-bodied ones such as a nice Rioja, Merlot, or Cabarnet Sauvignon are your best bet.

Foods to use on your vegetarian board

For vegetarian boards I would suggest the following items, in order of size and importance:

Top down view of the corner of a charcuterie board with hummus and crackers and cheeses

Cheeses: You can use any cheeses you want. A good rule of thumb is to first of all make sure you use between three to six different cheeses (for very large boards you can definitely use more), and secondly try and use cheeses which are quite different to each other. For example, two hard cheeses with different flavor profiles (I used manchego and cheddar here, Italian hard cheeses, Gouda, Edam etc. are all good choices as well), two medium cheeses and two soft cheeses, again with as different flavor profiles as possible.

I actually used both Camembert and brie on this board, which I wouldn’t normally recommend as they are very similar, but I baked and dressed the Camembert so it ended up tasting quite different. I simply popped the Camembert round into one half of its wooden box, scraped off the top rind and cut a crosshatch pattern into it, topped it with two tablespoons white wine, half a tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of olive oil, black pepper, chili flakes, and dried thyme, and baked it in my air fryer for eight minutes on the highest heat.

Dips/spreads: You can use any you want, just make sure they either go with the cheeses you are serving, or you have breadsticks or carrots to scoop them up with, as well as either crackers or bread to spread them on. Here are some of my suggestions, although you’re not limited to this selection:

Crackers/breads/breadsticks: Again, use what you want here – unlike other sections here you could get away with just picking one type and sticking with it but I like using at least three different types to give your board more texture. For crackers think thin wholewheat crackers, seeded crackers, salted crackers, small crackers, large crackers etc.

For bread use a nice crusty baguette sliced thin and another bread or two that are visually very different, such as a thinly sliced rye bread, this gorgeous tomato bread, etc. Breadsticks aren’t really that different – you can use some long grissini to add height to your board but I prefer the more bite-sized mini grissini, and some twisted or thick or herbed breadsticks.

Pickles/olives: here, variety is the name of the game, use at least three and preferably five types depending on what size board you are making. For olives, consider whether you’d like to use stoned or with stones – I like adding stoned olives to be eaten with cheese, especially Spanish cheeses, and with stones as more of a tasty palate cleanser.

Good pickles to use include something hot (pickled peperoncino, Basque peppers, or jalapeños), gherkins, onions, mini eggplants, white asparagus, peppers, etc. and for a beautiful Fall vegetarian charcuterie board, maybe some quick pickled pumpkin?

Front view of a wooden board covered in cheeses and olives and fruit and crackers

Jams/chutneys/mustards: Use at least three. I recommend, tomato jam, red pepper jam, onion jam, blackberry jam, apple jam, onion chutney, tomato chutney, mango chutney, and wholegrain mustard, for example.

Fake meats: This part really depends on where you live and what you have available for purchase. If adding, use two kinds and stick to thinner sliceable cuts rather than ones you have to cook, such as mortadella, chorizo, salami etc.

Fruits and vegetables: These can serve four purposes.

  1. To refresh the palate between cheeses and dips
  2. To dip into sauces and dips
  3. To pair with cheeses
  4. To be eaten last as a light dessert

For vegetables, you can add raw ones cut into batons if you have dips. Good vegetables for this purpose include carrots, celery, cucumber and peppers. Some sliced thin rings of onion can also be very welcome and pair well with cheddar, nut it’s not necessary, particularly if you have pickled pearl onions already on the board.

For fruits, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado (tossed with lemon juice to prevent browning), berries, citrus fruits divided into segments, grapes, sliced apples and pears are what I recommend.

Nuts: Add at least two types, one that can be eaten alone (e.g. pistachios, salted almonds, toasted cashews etc.) and a plainer nut for pairing with cheese (I always recommend walnuts).

Fresh herbs: This is completely optional but a very pretty and purely decorative touch, take a few fronds of fresh herbs and add them to your board here and there, tucked between and on top of food items, to really elevate the look of it. Dill, rosemary and thyme are great here.

How to put this board together

corner of a charcuterie board on a dark grey background

In this section we’ll look at how I put my vegetarian charcuterie boards together, so you can replicate the look at home. If you don’t like any of the ingredients you can leave them out or substitute them, in particular with fruit and vegetables it’s great to use what’s in season.

For smaller boards with fewer servings, you won’t need as many different items, you can check the servings guide section below this one to see what you should use. Each heading is numbered with the photos it corresponds to (there is no photo 0 though – I’m sure you all know what a board looks like!).

0 – The base

You can use just about anything for the base of your vegetarian charcuterie board. Chopping boards, serving platters, trays, stiff place mats, pizza paddles, tiles, just about anything will do. Line any non-food safe items with baking paper before adding the food.

If you’d like a larger board and don’t have any big items to hand you can use, you can either put smaller items together to form a larger base (such as two place mats side by side), or just use the table itself and place sheets of baking parchment underneath the food.

For a large charcuterie board such as this one, I used a large wooden chopping board (15 inches by 18.5), the type that has a lip that hangs over your counter, and used a box-lid underneath to make it level.

To help everyone serve themselves, I also like to give everyone cocktail forks or cocktail sticks for picking up cubed cheese and other things like fruit and olives. For soft or crumbly cheeses, you’ll need one knife per cheese – if you don’t have cheese knives then regular knives will do.

1 – Large cheeses and bowls

First, you’ll want to start out by adding any large cheeses and/or large bowls. These will “anchor” your board and make it easier to plan the rest of it by adding support to stack crackers and other foodstuffs around. I always slice hard cheeses and leave very soft or creamy cheeses whole, that way I only need cheese knives for the soft or crumbly cheeses.

I use bowls for dips, spreads, and “wet” ingredients such as marinated olives. I pick five of the largest items from the cheeses and bowls, place one in the middle of the board and the other four at the corners. I place them so the base is at the edge but the flaring part of the bowls is out over the edge of the board as I don’t like seeing the straight lines of the board in the end results.

At first, it can feel a bit too ordered when you’re doing this, but don’t worry, later the rest of the board will make it look like it has just the right amount of chaos. If you are using a circular board you can do the same, place one bowl or large cheese in the middle, and anchor the other four at equidistant points on the edges. For this board, I added baked camembert as the centerpiece and left one of the lids to stand in for it and “reserve” its space while I was building the board.

Later we’ll talk about the different ingredients you can choose for your board but for reference, clockwise from the upper left corner, I used marinated olives, red pepper hummus, tzatziki, hummus, and a whole camembert in the middle as my “large cheeses and bowls”.

2 – Medium cheeses and bowls

Next, add in sliced and/or smaller cheeses and some medium-sized bowls if you don’t have enough cheeses. I place four on the edges, one on each edge between the anchoring corner bowls. This time I stagger them a little so they are not in the middle of any side but closer to one bowl than another, as I don’t want them to look too perfect.

You can see that at the bottom of my board I moved the herbed goat cheese towards the center a little as it was very similar in color to the white creamy tzatziki in the bottom right corner. Your board doesn’t have to be perfect so don’t be afraid to swap things around a little or change the placement if you think things that are too similar are next to each other.

For reference, clockwise from the top edge I used brie, manchego, herbed goat cheese and Bresse blue cheese.

https://www.thefieryvegetarian.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/how-to-build-a-vegetarian-charcuterie-board.jpg

3- Small bowls

Now add in any small bowls or jars you have. You can add some in the middle of spaces on the edge, or anchor them to large objects (including your middle object, my camembert lid stand-in in this case). Don’t anchor more than one small bowl or jar to the same object, and try to not anchor something with the same color as the object it’s being anchored to

Clockwise from the top edge I added red pepper jam, mini grissini sticks, wholegrain mustard, onion jam, pickled pearl onions, and tomato jam in the middle next to the camembert.

4 – Cubed cheeses

Now add in any cubed cheeses you have. You can arrange them in semi-circles around one of your edge items, you can see from the image that I just added one cubed cheese to the board and anchored it around the pearl onions between the blue cheese and olives so everything was a little different in color.

I just added a nice aged cheddar here.

5 – Crackers, breadsticks and breads

Now add in crackers, breadsticks, and bread. You can actually just get away with using one type, such as only crackers, but I’ve used a selection here and I fill up gaps on the edges with them because they are larger and will later stop smaller items such as olives or nuts from falling off. I space them out on the four different edges so they are not all grouped together.

Clockwise from the top edge I added raisin toasts, wholegrain crackers, sliced pita breads, mini canape toasts, and more wholegrain crackers.

numbered collage of four images, from 5 to 8 showing finishing up the assembly of a charcuterie board

6 – Pickles and olives

Now I add in a selection of pickles and olives. You can see we are beginning to encroach on the center of the board now and I try and divide the different types of pickles and olives between the different sides and not have the same colors next to each other. Fill in any edge space that you can still see and then portion out the rest of the pickles and the olives around the board.

Here I added (clockwise from the top edge of the board) lemon-stuff green olives, gordal or “queen” olives (the big ones), pickled Basque chili peppers, Aragón black olives, and large pickled gherkins.

7- Fake meats

If you’ve chosen to add some fake meats to your board, and they’re thin, fold them into quarters and find a space for them on the board. I used two types of vegetarian mortadella here, the top one with olives and the one closer to the bottom with different vegetables in it. If you’re using a thicker fake meat such as vegan chorizo, just slice into coins and fan out in small sections.

8 – Fruit and vegetables

Keep filling in space towards the center of the board and start to close off some sides and fill them completely in with fruit and vegetables, keeping in mind how many nuts you are adding. Clockwise from the top, here I used dried apricots, red grapes, dried figs, dates, white grapes, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion rings, and more dates and apricots.

9 – Nuts

Add in your nuts in the remaining spaces and done! Here I added pistachios, walnuts and almonds. As you can see from the main photos I also added a few fronds of fresh herbs later (dill) which is totally optional but gives a very pretty finishing touch. I also removed the placeholder for my baked camembert and swapped in the hot melty real one!

A charcuterie board with cheese and crackers and fruit on a black background
(After adding the nuts before adding the herbs)

Servings guide

The first thing to remember when preparing your vegetarian charcuterie board is that the amount needed is pretty relative and in the end not that important. Let me explain – generally, about two-three ounces per person of dips and cheeses is enough for an appetizer, or roughly six ounces per person for a main dish.

But this also really depends on how many other items you are going to add to your board, and what you are adding – a board that has bread and olives added to it will be more filling then a board which has breadsticks and raspberries, for example. Of course it also depends on your guests and their appetite as well.

In general, it’s best to err on the side of too much food, as many of the items used on a vegetarian charcuterie board will last quite a while in your cupboard (think pickles and crackles and breadsticks) or can be kept fridge-safe for a week (cheeses and dips) – and if you have leftovers well then hello easy dinners!

So, having taking into consideration everything I’ve said about it all being relative, here are some tentative guidelines for prepping your boards for different-sized groups as an appetizer. You can of course increase the types, decrease them or change the weight as you desire (I didn’t follow strict guidelines for my board, I changed it as I saw how it looked).

To prep for the main dish instead, double the amounts given but stick with the same group size, e.g. the recipe at the bottom of this post is for the main spread for six people (although it can also double as an appetizer for ten). The most important ones for weight are the cheeses and dips/spreads. For crackers and bread etc. roughly a handful per person, and all else in the amounts you desire.

GroupSizeCheesesDips/SpreadsCrackers etc.Pickles/olivesJams/saucesFake meatsFruit & vegNuts
13 types 2 ounces1 type 1 ounce2 types2 types2 types2 types2 types2 types
3 types 5 ounces2 types 2 ounces 2 types3 types2 types2 types3 types2 types
33 – 4 types 6 ounces2 types 3 ounces3 types4 types2 types2 types3 types3 types
44 – 5 types 8 ounces2-3 types 4 ounces3 types4 types3 types2 types4 – 5 types3 types
65 – 6 types 11 ounces3 types 5 ounces4 types4 types3 types2 types5 -6 types3 types
85 – 6 types 15 ounces3 types 5 ounces4 types5 types3 types3 types5 – 6 types3 types
106 types 18 ounces3-4 types 7 ounces4 types5 types4 types3 types6-7 types4 types
126 types 22 ounces3-4 types 8 ounces4 types5 types4 types3 – 4 types6 – 8 types4 types

Other vegetarian boards you might like

The vegetarian charcuterie board featured in this post is pretty complete and can be tweaked for seasonality by using seasonal fruit and vegetables, but it’s always great to take a look at other kinds of boards, or branch out into some of the amazing dessert boards I’ve seen. Here are some other vegetarian boards I recommend you take a look at for inspiration:

As I’m sure you’ve seen, charcuterie boards can be tweaked to suit any occasion!


Did you make this vegetarian charcuterie board? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating in the recipe box, review, or comment below.

Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian) or connect with me on Facebook, I love seeing all your creations!

Yield: 6 mains or 10 appetizer servings

Epic Vegetarian Charcuterie Board

Top down view of a vegetable and cheese charcuterie board with two glasses of wine

This delicious epic vegetarian charcuterie board is perfect for entertaining, a no-cook summer dinner, or as a light appetizer. Note that the ingredients appear in the order of addition to the board. Add, subtract or substitute ingredients according to what you prefer and what you have to hand. Amounts are meant as an approximate guide.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Step one

  • 6oz Camembert
  • 3 dips/spreads (I used hummus, red pepper hummus, tzatziki)
  • Marinated olives

Step two

  • Four types of cheese, 4 oz each(I used brie, Manchego, herbed goat cheese, Bresse blue cheese)

Step three

  • 3 types of jam (I used mini pots of red pepper jam, onion jam, tomato jam)
  • Breadsticks or mini breadsticks, 1 cups (I used mini grissini)
  • Wholegrain mustard
  • Pickled pearl onions

Step four

  • 2 oz Cheddar cheese

Step five

  • 4 types of crackers or bread, around 5 cups ( I used mini raisin toasts, wholegrain crackers, pita chips, mini melba toasts)

Step six

  • 5 types of pickles, a handful each ( I used gherkins, stuffed olives, gordal/queen olives, spicy pickled Basque peppers, black olives)

Step seven (optional)

  • Two types of vegetarian mortadella, chorizo or salami, 6-8 slices each

Step eight

  • five types of fruit and/or veg, dried or fresh, a small handful each (I used cherry tomatoes, red and white grapes, dried apricots, dates)

Step nine

  • 3 types of nuts, 3 tablespoons each (I used pistachios, walnuts and almonds)
  • Optional: fresh herbs to pretty up your board (I used dill)

Instructions

  1. Set the Camembert in the center of your board (I used a large 15 by 18.5-inch board). Optionally you can bake your Camembert and use one of the lids as a placeholder while building your board. Set the dips and marinated olives, each in a bowl, on each of the four corners. For a circular board, just pick four equidistant points on the edge of the board.
  2. Add the four kinds of cheese, one cheese between each of the corner bowls but not exactly in the middle staggered to one side randomly.
  3. Add the jam, onions, and wholegrain mustard to small bowls or use mini jam jars, use a glass, ramekin, or suitably high container for the breadsticks. Place the small bowls and breadsticks on the board, one small bowl or the breadsticks to one of the larger objects already there.
  4. Cube the cheddar cheese and pile it in a semicircle around a small bowl on the edge of the board.
  5. Add your different crackers/bread, filling in the spaces around the edges of the board.
  6. Add the pickles, spaced apart, inside the edge of the board as you start to fill in the middle of the board.
  7. If using, fold the mortadella in four and place the two types at different points on the board. for vegetarian salami or chorizo, thinly slive and fan around objects on the board.
  8. Add the fruit or veg, leaving three spaces not close together for the nuts.
  9. Add the nuts into the spaces you left.
  10. Optionally, add a few pieces of fresh herbs to decorate.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 534Total Fat 34gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 64mgSodium 1245mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 5gSugar 21gProtein 20g

Did you make this recipe?

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Gavin Sutherland

Tuesday 8th of June 2021

What a great article - aside from all the delicious food options I LOVE the step by step instructions to putting it together and also the quantity/portion guide. This will seriously help me in prepping my next charcuterie board

Deirdre Gilna

Tuesday 8th of June 2021

Thanks Gavin! I hope you enjoy your board!

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