What makes a meal?
Are we talking about balanced food groups? Which food groups? How much? Does it have to be healthy? What is healthy for you? Is it the same as healthy for me? Or maybe a meal is when the foods fulfill the rules of a certain kind of diet - paleo, keto, low-carb, rainbow (there is a never-ending list of “diets”).
This seems like a hole that could be dug forever with no end in sight. Therefore, I’m not even going to start with trying to tell you what a meal means for you.
However, I would like to tell you what is a meal option for a dinner in our house - charcuterie.
We eat a lot of fresh foods regularly:
- Fresh meats (beef, chicken, venison, elk, pork, fish, and a few different types if we're lucky)
- Local dairy (we’re blessed to live around some small-scale artisan creameries)
- Fresh vegetables (I’m attempting to eat more seasonally-grown items, so this changes throughout the year).
- If you have similar items on hand, take a few and arrange them on a board.
- Include some bread (flat bread or a sourdough baguette are favorites), or crackers - a small bowl of sticky rice is always fun.
- Most importantly, do not forget to round it out with some vegetables (cooked, roasted, or raw) or a salad of some sort.
- If you have some fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, honey, chocolate, or something else that will go with the foods you chose, add those items.
All this is to say, it’s really easy to throw favorites or what I have on hand onto one of my beautiful charcuterie boards and lay it out for everyone to eat family style. And if I think through the process of adding a variety of A) meats, B) cheeses, C) carbs, D) vegetables, then our board is a complete meal!
We eat charcuterie boards for dinner all the time at our house - year round. It will usually vary a bit from summer to winter and that’s what makes it stay interesting, fun, and a main-stay.
Download Free Charcuterie Board Dinner Outline
Start planning your perfect dinner charcuterie board with our instant PDF outline, which includes a suggested layout for your board and space for your shopping list.
Charcuterie boards are very adaptable. To help out, below are a couple seasonal suggestions or inspirational ideas.
Hearty Winter Board
- Start with the meats, any sliced meats will do. For winter, a thinly sliced roast, bites of bratwurst, or ham seems to feel good on a chilly evening.
- Pair these with a variety of soft and pre-cut hard cheeses, such as sharp cheddar, gouda, mozzarella, or a fresh cheese like ricotta.
- A warmly toasted baguette would do well on the side.
- To complete the meal, add some seasonal roasted vegetables like roasted peppers, sliced winter squash, or bite-size cabbage steaks. Here they used roasted cauliflower and blistered tomatoes.
- Round out the arrangement with dips, mustards, or spreads. Feel free to add some warm olives, maybe some cornichons, or salty nuts.
- For a sweet accompaniment to round out your meal, feel free to add some dried fruits, honey, or some marcona almonds.
- Pair this savory board with a Shiraz, one of the darkest wines on the market. This wine goes fantastic with grilled meats and vegetables, as well as sharp cheeses like cheddar and gouda.
Light & Crisp Summer Board
Add a salad!
I know I’m not the only one who loves a mixed greens salad with fruit and nuts in the summer. It feels fresh and fun.
This is perfect for a light summer meal for two (inspired by Salad and Charcuterie Board for Dinner)
- As usual, we start with the meats: this board uses pepperoni, prosciutto, and salami.
- For the cheese: a couple hard Manchego-style cheeses, a semi-soft “drunken goat” cheese, semi-soft gouda, and soft goat cheese.
- Surrounding these main items are the toasted baguette slices, sweet marcona almonds, and topping the soft goat cheese, is the fig spread.
Pair this with a nice bubbly champagne and it’s the perfect ending to a warm summer day.