Ever since my sister-in-law pulled together a gorgeous & delicious charcuterie board amidst the chaos of our unpacking of the new(old) house, I've gotten on the charcuterie train! And as we are entering the holiday season, I appreciate that charcuterie boards are the perfect way to spread cheer ... and feed a crowd.
Creativity is encouraged when planning a charcuterie spread, which makes it perfect for adapting to Paleo, keto, or other similar eating plans. These charcuterie board (and jarcuterie) ideas will help you build a spread that’s as healthy as it is drool-worthy.
Keys to a Holiday Charcuterie Board
Before we get into specific foods, here are a few quick ideas that will make any holiday charcuterie spread stand out:
Pick a Gorgeous Platter
A beautiful charcuterie starts from the ground up. Any cutting board, platter, or other food-safe surface will do. A wooden cutting board, marble platter, or slate slab are all great statement pieces. A large, round pizza paddle board is especially perfect for making a holiday-themed, wreath-shaped charcuterie spread.
Aim for Variety
Visual appeal is one of the secret ingredients to an amazing charcuterie board. Include a variety of flavors, colors, and textures in your spread and arrange them with beauty in mind.
Incorporate a colorful theme to really bring your board to life. Try a red-and-green holiday theme by focusing on ingredients like these:
- Green: olives, pickle spears, cucumber slices, guacamole, or sliced green peppers
- Red: pomegranate seeds, sliced red peppers, red radishes, raspberries, or cherry tomatoes
Paleo Charcuterie Board Ideas
Traditionally a meat and cheese platter, charcuterie boards have evolved into one of the trendiest items to have at a holiday party. With a little careful planning, you can adapt a traditional charcuterie board into a Paleo-friendly appetizer spread that will have everyone raving.
Paleo-Friendly Charcuterie Ingredients
We’re going to avoid some of the typical charcuterie ingredients to make our spread Paleo-friendly. Namely, we want to avoid grains, legumes, and dairy. Instead, opt for ingredients like:
- Meats like prosciutto, salami, and liver pate
- Dips like dairy-free pesto, guacamole, and cauliflower hummus
- Savory veggies like olives, pickles, artichokes, and peppers
- Sweet fruits like pomegranate seeds, raspberries, blackberries, cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries (no sugar added), and cherries
- Crunchy fruits and veggies like cucumber slices, snap peas, radishes, celery slices, and baby carrots
- Nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pecans
Keto Charcuterie Board Ideas
A keto charcuterie board has a lot in common with the Paleo spread, but with a different focus: low-carb goodness. With keto, you can add in some grass-fed cheeses and you’ll focus more on nourishing fats and lower-carb fruits and nuts. Here are some keto charcuterie ingredient ideas:
- Meats like pepperoni, salami, prosciutto, and chorizo
- Cheeses like Havarti, gouda, brie, camembert, and herbed chevre
- Keto-friendly dips like spicy mustard, sauerkraut, guacamole, pimento spread, and spinach-artichoke dip
- Savory/crunchy veggies like olives, radishes, pickles, cucumbers, carrots, celery, snap peas, and peppers
- Low-carb fruits like coconut, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries
- Keto-friendly nuts like macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts and pecans
How to Adapt Any Charcuterie Board into a Jarcuterie Spread
Whoever came up with the jarcuterie idea is a genius. A jarcuterie is essentially a charcuterie-in-a-jar. That is, you prearrange all the charcuterie snacks into individual jars for single servings. It’s somewhat self-explanatory, but here are some tips for making your jarcuterie spread a success:
- Think vertical. This helps you fit in a variety of items without stacking all of them on top of each other. Celery sticks, bell pepper slices, sticks of hard cheeses, and carrot sticks all work well. Fold or wrap cured meats so you can arrange them vertically in the jar.
- Smaller items go in the bottom. Layer nuts and small fruits that don’t crush easily.
- Use skewers! Skewers make eating from a jarcuterie arrangement so much easier. Use skewers for olives, berries, cherry tomatoes, pickles, small peppers, cheese cubes, etc.
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