Photo Sep 04, 7 31 34 PM

Building A Charcuterie Board


One of my favorite foodie things is building a charcuterie board, gluten-free, of course! It’s something I have a lot of fun with and so I try to do it as often as possible.

Tonight was one of those nights.

I woke up from my afternoon nap (yes, I nap most afternoons for 20-30 mins) and immediately my mind went to charcuterie. Maybe because I wanted to make dinner but I wasn’t really that hungry and I was kind of in a picking mood. My favorite dinners are always when I have a little bit of this and that. My cousin, Melissa, and I call them “makeshift meals” but basically it just means you throw together whatever you have in your fridge.

Or, in this case, it meant going to the store to pick up a whole bunch of ingredients.

I see food as art, and so I like to cook and have fun with plating and creating platters. So tonight was the perfect chance to give it another go–it’s Labor Day, I was in a snacking mood and I’m celebrating that my seventh-annual pre-NaNoWriMo story planning workshop just officially opened to new students this morning.

That calls for a glass of wine and a yummy charcuterie board.

What To Buy

I’m gluten-free, but my husband isn’t, so when I’m buying stuff to put the board together, I always make sure to get regular crackers along with my gluten-free ones. And then all the rest of the ingredients are gluten-free (hey–if I’m buying I want to be enjoying too!)

I found a cool chart on Pinterest that shows you what to buy for a charcuterie board:

So with that in mind, tonight, this is what I purchased:

Ingredients as follows:

  • Container of mixed berries
  • Cucumbers, pre-sliced (they were all out of whole cucumber)
  • Garlic hummus
  • Raw pecans (which I roasted in the oven)
  • Proscutto
  • Chorizo
  • Smoked deli turkey
  • Drunken goat cheese
  • Raw jack cheese
  • Goat cheese brie
  • Havarti
  • Dried apple chips
  • Olives
  • Apricot jam (no sugar added)
  • Two kinds of gluten-free crackers
  • Gluten-filled crackers for my hubs
  • Carrot sticks (from home; not pictured)

You definitely don’t have to buy this many ingredients. I’ve done mini-charcuterie platters for me and my hubs to snack on at night with two kinds of cheeses, some nuts and sliced fruit. Simple is sometimes better.

But tonight I went a little crazy. Note to self: don’t go to Whole Foods on an empty stomach.

Putting It Together

I’m still learning how to put charcuterie boards together. I fell in love with them after seeing pics on Instagram from CleanFoodCrush (she makes the BEST charcuterie boards, as does FindYourBalance) and I wanted to learn how to put my own together.

So, like I do with any interest or passion, I dove right in and got dirty.

Here’s a couple of the first charcuterie boards I’ve created:

This was my first attempt at creating one…for our annual Halloween party. Not bad, but definitely should’ve made it more full. It’s sparse and there’s too much cutting board showing for my taste. I really love the rustic charcuterie board look.

This was my second attempt, for Christmas with my family. This time I’d done some research on how to make them look fuller and found suggestions like, create height by stacking the cheeses and use grapes to fill space and create height. This was the result of me implementing that suggestion. Again, not bad, but lacking color variation–I like a brighter spread than this.

So tonight, it was time to try my third attempt at creating a charcuterie board that was full and colorful, just like CleanFoodCrush’s are.

I went to Whole Foods and grabbed my ingredients (see above). And then I went home and got to work setting it all up.

Here’s what resulted:

I’m actually pretty damn proud of this one! It’s full and colorful and, best of all, it was delicious.

The idea with a charcuterie board is that you’re mixing in different tastes and textures. This way you make it a fun eating experience. I like to use little bowls to hold some of the items and then just place them on the platter or cutting board and fill in everything else around it.

Remove everything from it’s package, chop veggies (if necessary) and then arrange it so that it’s got height and fullness. For example, I took the turkey out of the package and then I pulled out one piece of a time and I folded it on the platter. Then I piled the next piece folded on top of that and so on. This gives you height and fills more space.

The cool thing about this is you can do whatever you want. This is just one of many ways to arrange all of the ingredients I bought.

A mixture of crackers is a must for a combined gluten-free and gluten-eater household. I also mixed up the flavors a bit with the gluten-free crackers and got both plain and Italian herb.

I’m super multi-passionate (in case you couldn’t already tell, LOL!) and I LOVE to find lots of different outlets for my creativity. Food is one of my main creative outlets, and charcuterie boards are a personal favorite of mine.

Alright, so now you know what a charcuterie nerd I am. If you are too you can follow my Food Stuff board on Pinterest for more charcuterie pics and other gluten-free food-related stuff. (I feel like that episode of Chopped where the judges were cooking for charity and Marc Murphy makes a frittata and then gets so pumped up talking about it that he made you want a frittata right then and there.)

Have you ever made a charcuterie board? What tips can you share with the rest of us? Leave ’em in the comments.

P.S. Is it time for YOU to do everything you dream of? Here’s how to pull it all off…

    • MaryAnn Smith

    You are a girl after my own heart. And please don’t be offended at my calling you a ‘girl.’ I am old enough to be your mom and everyone’s a girl or boy to me who’s 20 or more years younger than me.

    I’ve been following you for a few years now and commented before that you are my younger self or the child I never knew I birthed. I’m told that I am a jack-of-all trades and master of none. Who knew I could be called something as cool as “multi-passionate”? But, that’s me. And I hate exercise as much as you because, yup, it’s boring as shit.

    That’s probably why I love charcuterie boards, too: I can make them a million times and each one ends up being different! BTW, prosecco wine is the bomb with the spicy meats and lush, tangy cheeses. These boards were my favorite meals in France this past June, even better there because I drank true champagne.

    Best of luck in your new ventures, Jennifer! I’ll be watching. 🙂

      • Jennifer Blanchard

      @MaryAnn Oooh… I’m gonna have to give prosecco a try with my next charcuterie! I love trying new things and always have such a blast building a new board. P.S. No offense taken on the girl thing. Last week I bought lottery tickets and the cashier asked me how old I was and for some reason I said “24” even though I haven’t been 24 in a decade!! LOL … Apparently I feel much younger than I actually am 😉

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Jennifer Blanchard

I'm the founder of Dream Life Or Bust, and I'm also a multi-passionate author, screenwriter, developmental book editor, biz mentor, creative entrepreneur, retreat facilitator, success mindset junkie, and gluten-free foodie who believes you can be, do and have anything you set your mind to and take action on. That's what Dream Life Or Bust is all about... living your version of Plan A and doing and being EVERYTHING you dream of. Because the truth is, you don't have to choose just one thing. Ever.