Charcuterie Boards a No-Fuss Dinner For Those Busy Weeknights

Easy, quick, and no cooking needed!

By Erin Michael, publisher of Macaroni KID Plymouth, Mass. September 3, 2021

While I love to cook and try out new recipes, when the school year hits, I am all about a few easy dinners in our rotation to make life a little bit easier. One of my favorite weeknight dinners is "create your own charcuterie board night." 

This no-cook dinner is quick, easy, and has something for everybody — plus it will satisfy even your pickiest of eaters! 

We always make sure our charcuterie boards have a protein, carb, color, and something sweet! Want to give it a try? Here's how to make a charcuterie board at home that the whole family will love:

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If my kids don't have protein with their meals, they don't stop asking for snacks until the next meal rolls around. I always have them add their protein first — so I know that it will be a filling meal for them. For the meats, try to use a variety of thickness and cuts to keep it interesting. Personally, I love salami sliced thin, but prefer pepperoni a bit thicker. 

Here are some protein ideas:

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I think we can all agree that the best part of a charcuterie board is the carbs that come with it. Making your own at home is no exception! In my opinion, I find that choosing a cracker without a ton of flavor works best, so that you can taste all of the different flavors on the plate. These are our favorite carb sources:

  • Crackers
  • Round pita chips 
  • Homemade crostini
  • Crusty bread

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I always make sure our boards have some "color," as colorful foods tend to be more nutritious. Some of our favorite ways to add color on our boards are:

  • Carrot chips
  • Gherkin pickles
  • Grapes
  • Apple slices 
  • Pear slices 
  • Dried fruits like apricots, dates, and raisins 
  • Olives
  • Berries
  • Sliced tomatoes and cucumbers with salt and pepper 
  • Pickled green beans 

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Something sweet:

Is there anything better than a salty and sweet combo? I love adding a little something sweet to my plate just for that flavor combination! 

  • Jams
  • Red pepper jelly
  • Honey or honeycomb — if you haven't tried it, honeycomb is an amazing addition to a charcuterie plate. Like honey, it is best to buy local, but it can be hard to find.  
  • Dark chocolate (sounds weird, but a piece of dark chocolate drizzled with an amazing olive oil on a slice of cheese, sprinkled with some flaky salt is a flavor extravaganza — seriously, just try it. 

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I always like to add something extra to a board to make it feel a little more special. Here are some ideas for charcuterie extras:

  • Dip it. This could also be a sneaky way of getting in more veggies or protein too.
  • Add some kid favorites. If you have a picky eater, it can help to add a couple of kid favorites to the board too. Heat up some chicken fingers or add grilled cheese — whatever will give your child something familiar to eat, while exploring some new tastes as well.
  • Pick a theme. if you're celebrating a holiday, birthday, or are just feeling festive, try to come up with a theme for your boards.
  • Use cookie cutters. Cut up cheese, meats, and even some fruits into fun shapes using cookie cutters.
  • Separate foods. If your kids don't like their foods to touch, use cupcake liners to separate the foods.

Erin Michael is the publisher of Macaroni KID Plymouth, Mass.