For a long time, charcuterie and cheese boards were all the rage at parties. While cheese boards are self-explanatory (and plant-based eaters can make one with relative ease, too — just dice up a couple of your favorite vegan cheeses with some crackers, and arrange them artfully on a serving platter), charcuterie boards are essentially the same concept, only they’re comprised of an array of cured meats.
For the plant-based party host, both of the two above options are possible to make vegan, but they almost come off as — dare we say — basic. Looking to jazz up your hosting skills and provide a dynamic, and interesting new platter? We suggest you try a pickle board.
If your mind just went straight to speared dill slices on a tray, don’t worry — we have something a little more refined and satisfying in mind. Allow us to help you construct the perfect pickle board for your next party.
Vary Your Flavor
Sweet, sour, spicy, tangy, and salty — pickles come in all sorts of flavor varieties, and to keep your pickle board interesting, try to make sure you hit all of the above marks.
First, you’re going to want your standard pickle to anchor your board. Go ahead — use a trusty cucumber for this one. You could serve these Quick Bread and Butter Pickles or these Super-Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles.
Next, try to hit that spicy kick. These Indian Radish Pickles use red chili spice to bring the heat, while Homemade Pickled Jalapeños are a reliable way to amp up any recipe. And don’t forget these pretty Spicy Pickled Radishes! Their intense flavor will stand out in any dish and after you try homemade, no store-bought pickle will be able to compare.
You could also always turn to kimchi for spice. Here’s our guide on How to Make Your Own Kimchi.
The Icelandic Pickled Beets, pictured above, have a sweet and bold beet flavor, only slightly changed by a handful of pickling spices. These Pickled Red Onions have the ability to instantly transform a number of dishes. Throw them into creamy potato salads, tacos, or veggie burgers for a tangy burst of flavor. They also make a perfectly sweet companion for avocados.
Cucumbers aren’t the only vegetables that transform into pickles after bathing in brine (check out this feature on Foods You Can Pickle and How – It’s Easy!).
Root vegetables, such as sunchokes, beets, radishes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips are all interesting fall and winter veggies to try pickling. Check out this recipe for Achaari Aloo Gobi: Indian Pickled Potato and Cauliflower to see how to use something like a pickled potato in a savory, satisfying weekend meal.
If you’re interested in trying something new, experiment with pickling fruit and fruit rind, like orange peel, lemon peel, mangoes, or watermelon rind (yes, really). Pears and peaches are also excellent fruits to pickle, and Japan eats pickled plums (umeboshi) on the regular! The recipe for Toasted Quinoa Delicata Squash Bowls With Pickled Apples and Almond Butter Sauce, pictured above, even calls for pickled apples.
String beans, okra, tomatoes, carrots, and more could also be complimentary additions to your pickle platter.
Just as a cheese board isn’t solely made with cheese, think of the different bite-sized accompaniments you can serve with your pickles. Here’s the rule of thumb: they shouldn’t overpower the pickles themselves.
We think Easy Pumpkin Spice Roasted Nuts could provide a nice added crunch and sweet-warm essence; plus, we think it’s interesting to pair sticky and sweet with savory and crisp. If you’re not feeling the pumpkin spice vibes, these Oven Roasted Chickpeas are the perfect snack to have on hand.
You could also choose to really commit whole-heartedly to the pickle theme, and use pickles in condiments, spreads, dips, and more. This recipe for Millet Croquettes With a Pickled Plum Dressing uses pickles plums as a sauce, these Dill Pickle French Fries totally turn the idea of a pickle on its head, and this super creamy Jalapeño Pickle Dip is effortless, affordable, has multiple textures, crisp dill flavor, and of course that added bit of heat with the jalapeños!
For more inspiration, check out this feature on Preserving The Season: What Foods You Should Pickle and How to Do It by downloading the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
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