I have loved creating snack boards / cheese plates / charcuterie boards / grazing platters — whatever you like to call them— for as long as I can remember. For me, someone who absolutely adores creating something beautiful with food; utilizing multiple shapes, colors, and textures— snack boards are the ultimate canvas. A snack board is a cornucopia of delicious foods, with limitless possibilities when it comes to flavor and color combinations. My personal favorite part of small gatherings during the holidays (and really any time) is creating and eating a glorious board of snacks. It’s a simple way to make a family holiday at home feel even more special.
Below you will find all my favorite tips + tricks for creating a vibrant and beautiful snack board, plus two delicious dip recipes—- sponsored by Back to Nature, to celebrate the arrival of their Hemp Seed Crackers (made with fruits and nuts) at Whole Foods stores nationwide. They are the perfect cracker for all your dipping + snack board needs during the Holiday season. Here’s a little coupon for you to give them a try— get a dollar off here.
TIPS + TRICKS
This may be the most important (besides flavor obviously.) When sourcing ingredients for a board I make sure I’m gathering many different hues. Now, I’m not saying you need to make a board with every color of the rainbow— but adding a few colors in the form of fruits and vegetables amidst the less colorful things like bread, cheese, and crackers goes a long way. Some of my favorite ways to add color to a board, especially during the holiday season: red pomegranates, orange persimmon slices, pears and apples with their hint of color on the skin, colorful radish slices, satsuma oranges (especially when they have their beautiful leaves), bright green castelvetrano olives, berries, grapes, kumquats, radicchio, and endive.
You want to have a variety of texture combinations as you graze. This means having hard and soft cheeses, fluffy pieces of bread and a sturdy cracker with a nice crunch to it, crisp hydrating vegetables, velvety dips, and sweet juicy fruits.
Try to break up the shapes you use throughout the board– this means if you have two round pieces of cheese, either place them on either side of the board or cut one piece in half to create a half moon shape. If you’re using cucumber and radish, try slicing the radishes into rounds and opting for a long spear shape for the cucumber to mix things up. You get the idea 🙂
Ah, flavor— let’s not forget flavor. Snack boards are my favorite because they are proof you CAN have it all. Make sure you get it all in there— salty, sweet, spicy, earthy, sour—- creamy, sharp, refreshing, juicy, fatty, nutty— wow, I’m hungry.
Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, what does one put on a snack board. Well, it can be anything you’d like, but here are a few things I recommend:
cheese, whether vegan or regular, a variety of cheese is a must
dips– find my recipes for whipped beet ‘labneh’ + the easiest dairy free spinach artichoke dip you’ve ever made
vegetables— gotta have a healthy crunch here and there
fruits— beautiful and delicious with some cheese on a cracker
jam and/or honey
nuts and seeds
Okay, I think I’ve exhausted my tips + tricks— I really hope you’ve found this helpful and I hope to see the beautiful boards you all create this season! Below, you will find the dip recipes. Enjoy!
BEET ‘LABNEH’ W/ OLIVE OIL + FLAKEY SEA SALT (DAIRY-FREE)
2 cups of dairy-free yogurt (I like to use a thick unsweetened almond milk yogurt for this)
1-2 tablespoons beet juice
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon salt
drizzle of olive oil
smoked paprika or chili flakes
flakey sea salt
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and beet juice. Start with less beet juice and add more until you reach your desired shade of pink (less=more pastel, more=bold hot pink.)
Once the yogurt is fully combined, pour into a cheese cloth lined bowl or a fine mesh bag (over a bowl) and let sit in the fridge overnight to strain as much liquid as possible, leaving you with a thick labneh-like dairy free yogurt dip.
Serve in a bowl topped with olive oil and flakey sea salt. I also like to add some dried mint, smoked paprika or chili flakes.
SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
(DAIRY-FREE + VEGAN)
4 big handfuls of baby spinach (measurements don’t have to be exact)
2 cans or jars of artichoke hearts, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/3 cup dairy-free cream cheese
2 tablespoons thick dairy-free yogurt (as needed)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup peperoncini (optional)
Chop spinach and artichokes and add to a pan. Heat up until spinach is wilted. Add in cream cheese and spices and stir up until creamy. If it needs to be creamier, add in 2 tablespoons of yogurt or more cream cheese. Top with shredded vegan cheese (optional) and bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.