This vegetarian food board is not a classic charcuterie board because it has no meats! By today’s standards, charcuterie has come to mean a wooden (or other) board loaded with many different types of food. Charcuterie boards can be very simple or very elaborate. Some are works of art (making pictures with food), and some are color-coordinated like this green-themed board.
This board, made with several green foods, was created for St. Patrick’s Day. I included sweet and savory foods and added accents of purple (grapes and macarons) to match the green and purple pistachios. The deviled eggs were a last-minute addition, so I also included yellow macrons and golden-fried zucchini sticks. But even though this board has accent colors, it is still basically a green board.
Maintaining Your Board
Some foods will stain your board, and the stains can be permanent. However, there are some things you can do to keep your board looking new.
- Apply food-grade mineral oil to keep the wood from drying out. However, it will not prevent food from staining the wood.
- Apply food-safe wood wax to add a layer of protection against food stains because it coats the board. It also helps keep small cracks sealed against liquids.
- Line the board with parchment paper before placing any food on it. It is the best way to lock out food stains. It also makes cleanup easy.
All-Natural Green or Not
If you do not like dyes in your food, use a lot of raw vegetables, seeds, and nuts on your food boards. There are also several powdered products (such as matcha green tree powder) that you can use to naturally dye foods. The color you get from powdered products is usually more subtle than food dyes, and sometimes they can alter the taste of the food a little. Two sources I use to buy colored powders are Nuts.com and Raw Nice.
This food board has both naturally-colored foods and some with food-dye colors. The Rice Krispies Treats, cut with a shamrock cookie cutter, are made green with food coloring. The macarons and mint Oreos have artificial food coloring. However, the rest of the board was all-natural green foods.
This food board had heavier hors d’oeuvres, including zucchini sticks with jalapeno dip. When creating a food board, decide if its purpose is to provide a meal or just a few appetizers beforehand.
- If it is the meal, provide heavy foods and snack foods. Most people want a few hearty foods to eat with snacky food.
- If the purpose is to give people snacks before you serve a meal, don’t include heavy foods, or else they might not be hungry by mealtime.
Decorate Your Food
Be creative and dress up or decorate your food in your theme before placing it on the food board. The deviled eggs on this board had shamrock decorations made with cilantro leaves and stems.
I made baked shamrock crackers from green spinach wraps using a shamrock cookie cutter and used the same cookie cutter to cut out green crispy rice treats.
Know Your Guests
The baked spinach balls on this board were gluten-free. I served them in clear individual containers to prevent other foods from touching them. Check with your guests beforehand to see if they have any food sensitivities or allergies. Consider placing gluten-free items on a separate food board or serving all gluten-free foods.
Be Mindful of Food Spoilage
I served a grape salad made from green and red grapes. I only served a few small cups at a time so they didn’t sit out too long since they contained dairy products. I gave the same consideration to the eggs and dip since both had a mayonnaise base. You can leave items such as crackers, cookies, peanuts, and nuts out longer. Always be mindful of how long you leave out foods that need refrigeration. It is better to serve a smaller amount and then replenish during the party so foods don’t sit out too long. Two hours is the length of time refrigerated food can safely stay out before becoming overgrown with bacteria.
Tips for Organizing a Board
- Buy as many things as you can. It is hard to make a lot of homemade items because there are many details involved in putting together a food board. If you don’t have helpers, consider buying pre-cut fruits and vegetables.
- Prepare any homemade items that are freezable a couple of weeks ahead of time.
- Have one or two dips.
- Have extra food on hand to replenish the board.
- If serving gluten-free items, make sure they do not touch foods with gluten.
- Don’t put wet items next to crackers, or they might become soggy.
- Dip foods (like cut apples) in lemon juice before placing them on the board to prevent them from turning brown.
- Have lots of skewers, toothpicks, and small tongs ready to use, so people don’t have to touch the food when picking it up.