With the new year, Lent and spring renewal in the air, most of us are trying to incorporate clean, healthy food choices in our diets (at least some of the time!)
I have been sneaking more vegetables on the plate and some plant-based meals in on my meat loving household. Our Wine Friday’s are typically very low on the veggie front, so I am making up a vegan charcuterie platter to change things up. Hopefully we will find a selection of items that we all love and make part of our weekly tradition.
Where to start? Traditional charcuterie boards are meats, cheeses, breads and condiments, providing different flavour and texture profiles and combinations and making a vegan charcuterie board is no different.
Have you tried Beyond Meat yet? I have had the burgers and they are delish! For charcuterie I will be visiting my local vegan butcher, The Very Good Butcher in Victoria. They butcher beans for vegan meats and offer a charcuterie box that includes bacon, pepperoni, ribz, roast beast, deli fowl and smoking bangers – will my meat lovers know the difference? It’s easy to find your own vegan butcher, just google “Vegan Meat” or “Vegan Butcher”, you will be surprised at how many options pop up, and many will ship to your door.
A key element is spreadable pate or terrines. Hummus is already a favourite in our house, I usually include a spicy variety alongside the traditional hummus. To kick it up a notch, I have found a Walnut Lentil pate that I will be whipping up this weekend, it looks simple and I already have most of the ingredients in my pantry, which is a huge plus as if the recipe has too many unfamiliar or specialty ingredients, I usually give it a miss.
Cheese, oh how I love cheese! Vegan cheeses are nut based and delicious. You can find them easily in your local supermarket or at specialty producers and stores. Most can be sliced when cold and are spreadable at room temperature. You can event melt them to make a dipping sauce. I will be trying a local Dill and Garlic, a Sharp and Sassy and a Good-Eh (gouda) on my crew, as these will be closest to the flavour profiles we regularly enjoy. One exceptional large producer widely carried throughout North America is Miyoko’s Creamery, see if your local store carries their delicious cheeses.
The bread selection is easily expanded from bread and crackers by including potato chips, tortilla chips, veggie tots and French fries (don’t know why I have never thought of that before, YUM!)
Now that your have your base elements make your board come alive with vibrant colourful vegetables, preserves and condiments, fill in little spaces with nuts and dates. Some ideas here are broccoli florets, sliced cucumber, asparagus spears, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and quartered radishes. Add in olives, pickled or fermented vegetables, some grainy mustards and jams.
Now all I have left to do is pick the wine, I am thinking some bubbles, a fuller white and a light bodied red will make for excellent pairings. I hope you are feeling inspired to try some new combinations on your next charcuterie board!