Morning loves!! I like to keep you guys updated on my plant based journey, which isn’t ALWAYS easy when you come from a Ukranian family who LOVES their meat, cheese, and butter!!! And, I have to admit that, yes, there are some days that I cheat but I’m happy to say that our household still remains about 90% plant based! Some of the things that I miss are creamy sharp cheese, salamis, and charcuteries!! The problem with being plant-based for me is the fact that I don’t really love things like chickpeas and quinoa … if you haven’t guessed it yet … I’m not your typical vegetarian! I’m always trying to find ways to emulate meat and cheese and people always ask me why I don’t just eat the “real thing” and that’s a fair question, so let me fill you in on why.
For me, it’s all about the environmental reasons. It’s no lie that agriculture is hard on our environment and just simply, if I don’t have to eat an animal, why would I? Personally, I would prefer to eat a plant! It’s been really hard for me to explain my journey to people as I have lots of friends that are farmers and dairy farmers but when it comes down to it, it’s just a decision that I made that I’m trying to “master” day by day. And I won’t lie some things can be difficult to replace … take meat and cheese, for example, it’s literally taken me THREE YEARS of trial and error to FINALLY find some that I LOVE!
Anyway … the reason behind this blog post is to share some tips with you on how YOU can master the Vegan Charcuterie board!! So let’s go ahead and kick it off with the most important part of it all … CHEESE!!!
What’s the key to finding good vegan cheese?? The more local you can buy, the better!! Seriously! I’ve found some of the best vegan cheese at local Farmer’s Markets and local health food stores!! Typically they will have no name nut cheeses and coconut cheeses that are going to be (to me) THE BEST. However, in my years of cheese sampling … LOL … I’ve also found a few brands that I’ve madly fallen in love with! They are …
Miyoko’s Creamery: Excuse my language but they F*CKING KILLED IT!!! Seriously!! Their ingredient list is insane!! Such as Organic Coconut Oil, Water, Organic Cashews, Sea Salt … you get the drift! My FAVOURITE cheese of theirs is the Fresh Loire Valley in a Fig Leaf!
Pulse Kitchen: This is a local place from Penticton and they specialize in making vegan and gluten-free food from beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils!
Plus … if you’re adventurous enough, you can even make your own nut cheese … I think it might sound a little crazy but trust me, it’s so easy!! There are so many recipes and tutorials out there that are so simple to follow along with!! Such as this Garlic and Herb Vegan Cheese by Minimalist Baker and this Cashew Macadamia Nut Cheese by Erin Ireland.
Next up, is the vegan meat!! A lot of people find that the vegan meat on a vegan charcuterie board isn’t necessary but I kind of miss the idea of it and I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a HARD time finding brands that have good vegan meats, especially for charcuterie boards!! But guess what?? I found some!!!! Owww owww!!
The Very Good Butchers: This amazing duo is located on Vancouver Island and they make all of their vegan meat out of 100% Organic and Vegan ingredients and use local produce whenever possible!
Yam Chops: This is a growing franchise which I’m SO FREAKIN excited about because rumor has it they just MIGHT be heading to Kelowna!!
Again, if you are in any small to large city, all you have to do is google “Vegan Meat” or “Vegan Butcher” and I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how many options pop up … and a lot of them even ship!!
Okay, now that we’ve got the hardest parts covered, you now want to fill your board with lots of extras, the key to an amazing charcuterie board is LOTS of layers! I am a sauce/dip/spread fiend so the more options that are in front of me, the better! I love including different types of mustards, dips, and tapenades on my boards! You certainly can’t forget the baguette and crackers either … you need something to put all of those delicious spreads on!!
Then really fill it out with lots of fruits (dried and fresh), nuts, figs, olives, pickled and fresh veggies … anything your little charcuterie heart desires!!! And LAST BUT NOT LEAST … you most certainly cannot indulge in an amazing vegan charcuterie board without some damn good wine!!