How to Make a Dairy-Free Charcuterie Board

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Charcuterie boards, snack boards, and party platters are a huge trend lately. They really make a statement because they have such a variety of colours, flavours, and textures. You can customize them any way you like in order to suit your preferences, the season, or dietary restrictions. In this post, I’ll give you my best tips for making an impressive dairy free charcuterie board, along with recipes for dairy free cashew cheese spreads to put on your board.

You’ll need a large wooden board or a serving platter, a few small bowls, toothpicks or tiny forks for olives, and small knives for spreading cashew cheese. You’ll also need a few key components:

  1. Cheese. In this case we are using homemade cashew cheese, but you can use any kind you like. Many health food stores carry artisan plant-based cheeses in a variety of flavours. Vegan cheese isn’t like it used to be! Try to pick at least two different cheeses for a little variety. If you aren’t making your own vegan cheese, you can try to pick one that is sharper like a “cheddar” and one that is milder and creamy.
  2. Crackers, sliced baguette, pita chips, or pretzels. Pick whichever you like best to be your vehicle for cheese and for a crunchy snack. It’s ideal to have at least one kind that is able to have cashew cheese easily spread onto it like crackers and baguette slices. Nearly all grocery stores have a nice selection of gluten free versions, so feel free to make this board even more allergen-friendly by picking those.
  3. Fruit. It’s nice to have fresh fruit on the board for some natural sweetness to contrast the salty items. This is where you can customize your board to suit the season. In spring and summer, you can use blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, watermelon, peaches, nectarines, plums, etc. In fall and winter, use apples, pears, and dried fruit like dates, apricots, and mango.
  4. Sliced vegetables. Include sliced vegetables for a nice crisp yet hydrating option. This also boosts the nutrient content on your board of course! Sliced carrots, peppers, and cucumbers are all great options.
  5. Olives and/or pickles. Add a savoury and briney element with olives or pickles. You can use any kind. Ideally, you’ll want pitted olives to avoid needing a place for discarding pits.
  6. Roasted nuts. You can roast the nuts yourself or buy them already roasted. You can also make them extra delicious by coating them with maple syrup, salt, spices, and some olive oil before roasting. Most store-bought roasted nuts are cooked in highly processed oils so check out the ingredients lists when you’re shopping.
  7. Chocolate. I love to include a few squares of dark chocolate on my boards. You could also do chocolate covered almonds, chocolate covered pretzels, or any other chocolatey treat you can think of.
  8. Meat (optional). You can keep this board vegan by omitting the meat if you prefer. The word charcuterie means cooked meats, and most charcuterie boards will feature more than one kind, including salami, prosciutto, pâté, or sausage. For my boards, I usually just include some sliced salami. Look for meats that don’t contain nitrites or nitrates, and choose grass-fed organic meat whenever possible.


Cashew Cheese Recipes

Onion Cashew Cheese

1 cup of raw cashews, soaked in hot water for at least an hour then drained
½ cup of water
1 ½ teaspoons of organic tamari
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
Salt to taste, about ½ teaspoon
⅛ teaspoon of finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of dried chopped onion


Blend everything except the dried chopped onion in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the dried chopped onion and blend for 5 seconds. Chill before serving.

Chive Cashew Cheese

1 cup of raw cashews, soaked in hot water for at least an hour then drained
Juice of ½ a lemon
½ cup of water
¼ teaspoon of honey
Salt to taste, about ¾ teaspoon
¼ cup of chopped fresh chives


Blend everything except the chives in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the chives and blend for 5 seconds. Chill before serving.

Contributed by Melanie Maxwell, R.H.N.