How to choose a Vegan Cheeseboard
Love cheese but following a plant based diet? Look no further because I’ve got the ultimate vegan cheeseboard for you!
The key components for a plant based cheese platter
I am a self-confessed cheese addict: I always have been and always will. When I transitioned from meat eater to vegetarian I became heavily reliant on cheese in place of meat so when I decided that I would finally become vegan I was a little apprehensive about how I’d survive on a diet without it! The good news is that vegan cheese has come on leaps and bounds in the last 12-18 months and I’m here to show you that you can enjoy an epic cheeseboard without a single morsel of dairy touching your lips. Best of all, you get to support some awesome artisan cheese makers in the vegan community! What’s not to love?
Not vegan? Looking for a dairy-indulger’s guide to creating a cheese board? Have no fear. You can find my original post here.
When creating a cheeseboard you want to select a range of different textures and tastes. You can achieve this with crunchy crackers, sweet chutneys and earth veg but you also want to select a range of different cheeses.
Soft and spreadable
There are a number of spreadable, creamy vegan cheeses on the market. I love KindaCo’s Farmhouse Creamy Spread and Goat-ee from Strictly Roots Vegan but my absolute favourite has to be the Lemon and Thyme Ricotta from I am Nut Ok. Of course there’s nothing stopping you from having all three!
I’m trying to make sure I have all bases covered I will also include something more similar to a camembert or brie. My favourite has to be Shamembert from Honestly Tasty which has a really creamy centre and a rind just like the “real deal”. You honestly won’t believe it’s not dairy!
Semi soft / semi hard
Most artisan vegan cheese fall in the semi-soft / semi-hard category. This is due to the way in which they are made and their ingredients. The important thing when making a vegan cheeseboard that is predominantly made up of semi soft and semi hard cheese is to ensure a range of flavours. Here are my favourites:
- Betta Feta from Strictly Roots – this is the most authentic feta currently on the market. It’s salty and crumbly, just like the real deal.
- Veganzola from Honestly Tasty – every cheeseboard needs a blue cheese and Baby Blue is the best you can get. Made with real Penicillium Roqueforti mould it has that distinct, sharp “blue” flavour which spirulina based alternatives just don’t have.
- Farmhouse from KindaCo – this sharp cheese block has a flavour not dissimilar to mature cheddar (though it is softer in texture). It’s a real crowd pleaser and is loved by my cheese eating family.
- White Cheddar and Cranberry from KindaCo – this fruit spiked cheese is super popular and seasonal so make sure you buy it early to ensure you have some for Christmas. The good news is it freezes well.
- Nerominded from I am Nut Ok – this truffle and garlic flavoured cheese looks spectacular. Should you buy a cheese just because it’s instagrammable? Yes when it also tastes this bloody good!
- Minerthreat from I am Nut Ok – another visually stunning cheese, this time a creamy based flavoured with hickory smoke and dusted with charcoal.
There is one cheese you absolutely cannot leave off of your cheeseboard (whether you eat dairy or not) and that’s gouda. I love the firm, almost rubbery texture as well as the sweet and smokey flavour of Smoke House from Strictly Roots. KindaCo also do a Smoked Gouda which is a little more firm from that made by Strictly Roots. Whichever you choose it will make a fantastic addition to your plant base cheese platter!
You can’t have a cheeseboard without crackers – how else will you get the cheese into your mouth?! Again variety is key. I like to have chunks of baguette, oat crackers, seeded flat breads as well as family favourites such as Jacob’s cream crackers.
Whether you favour bread or crackers make sure there’s plenty to go with your cheese and don’t forget that we eat with our eyes so make sure you have a variety of colours and shapes.
If you want your vegan cheese platter to be the best it possibly can be then why not make your own chutney? My Green Tomato Chutney is a wonderful addition all year round. If you’re serving your cheeseboard at Christmas why not add my Spiced Cranberry Chutney?
If you’re using store bought chutney don’t forget to check the ingredients. Classic’s like picalilli are often made with honey so may not be vegan. Young’s Provisions make a fantastic range of traditional chutneys if you’re not sure where to start.
Fruit, Veg and Nuts
When you think of pairing cheese and fruit you probably think of grapes. It’s a classic so I will always include a small bunch of red and green grapes on my cheeseboard. Other fresh fruits I like to include are apple and pear. Dried fruits also work well (think apricot or even mango slices).
For something a little different you could also add pickled fruits like these pickled cherries.
To balance out all that cheese why not add baby carrots, colourful radishes and a stick or two of celery? It’s a welcome break from the richness of the cheese and the sweetness of the fruit and chutney.
For extra crunch I love to add a scattering of nuts. You can choose your favourite but I love walnuts. Their mild, creamy taste goes well with everything and they look pretty too!
How to make your cheeseboard look like a work of art
I start by placing my cheeses (fully wrapped) on to my board. This lets me double check that the board I have chosen is big enough and I can then plan what I will fill the gaps with. Once I’ve decided where the cheese is going to go I will start to stuff crackers underneath. The crackers work as a good “bed” for the cheese to sit on. Try to think about which crackers will go best with which cheese.
Once your cheese and crackers are in place next you can decide whether or not to include jars or bowls of chutneys and any pickled veggies you might be including on to the board itself or whether they are better placed to one side. For a small spread I opt for the latter.
Next it’s time to add the “extras”. If adding fruits or veggies that are usually on a vine or in a bunch (e.g. grapes or cherry tomatoes), try to keep them attached. It’s much easier to place a bunch then it is individual fruits.
What you will end up with is a colourful board layered with different textures! A real feast for the eyes.
I’d love to see your creations. You can tag me on Instagram (@Supperinthesuburbs) or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I can’t wait to see them!