How to Build a Vegan Cheese Board

For any gathering big or small, a well-appointed cheeseboard has always seemed like the height of sophistication. Arranged just so over a distressed wood plank, discrete piles of sweet and savory morsels sparkle like jewels in a treasure chest, waiting to be plundered. Carefully curated selections manage to dance in step no matter the pairing, as if they were all destined for this stage. How is it possible to create such a winning cheeseboard at home, with little experience, limited budget, or particular tastes?

If you’ve ever enjoyed cheese and crackers together, believe it or not, you’re already an expert. Putting together a selection of snacks for grazing isn’t rocket science. Start small and keep building as the occasion demands, breaking it down into five distinct categories for easy execution.

1 – 3 Types of Vegan Cheese

This is the star of the show here so don’t hold back. Plan on at least 1 – 2 ounces per person as an appetizer or snack. For a small party, it’s perfectly fine to focus on just one superlative cheese, but it’s always nice to offer different options to compare and contrast. Think of them in three categories while shopping or cooking:

Something Sweet

Personally, I wouldn’t go with desserts like cookies or truffles, but a more moderate, natural source of sweetness. The idea is to help balance the savory notes of the cheeses, rather than overpower them. That means relying on nature’s candy with no added sugars:

  • Fresh fruit (grapes, sliced apples or pears, berries)
  • Dried fruit (apricots, dates, figs)
  • Jam or preserves

Something Salty

There’s a lot of potential overlap in this category with the following, so you can pick one or the other for a smaller spread. For concentrated pops of salty contrast, I’d suggest at least one of these:

  • Pickles
  • Marinated artichokes
  • Olives
  • Capers

Something Crunchy

Texture is critical! It’s especially important to have something crispy when you have a soft, spreadable cheese on deck. There should be a vehicle for any schmear, and maybe even a crunchy topper to finish it off:

Something Neutral

There’s a whole lot going on with the rest of the board, so it’s nice to provide some blank space as a palate cleanser. These are also great options for those that really want to put the cheese first, but not just shove a whole plain wedge of it in their mouths. Use these as fillers when you have blank space:

  • Soft bread
  • Carrot or celery sticks
  • Cucumber slices

BONUS: Charcuterie

If this was a genuine charcuterie board, you’d want to go heavy on the sliced plant-based meats. That, however, is a whole separate topic in and of itself. Consider it a wildcard addition if you want some extra protein to make it more of a meal.

Don’t Forget…!

There’s plenty of overlap that exists and you shouldn’t let these simplified lists restrict your creativity! Consider candied nuts for a sweet, salty, and crunchy component, for example, or a spicy pepper jam that’s more hot than sweet.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with paring it down to the bare essentials; all you need is a really great cheese and hearty crackers to start a party on the right foot. Perfect for the holidays or everyday entertaining, a plant-based cheeseboard offers a little bit of something for everyone.

Best Vegan Pumpkin Recipes to Fall in Love with Autumn

Pumpkins have sustained and inspired us for centuries, rising to great acclaim as a social media darling after centuries in the root cellar. They were one of the first domesticated crops, dating back over 9000 years in Mexico. Those earliest ancestors were comparatively tiny, bitter, and tough, with little in common with any of the 45 different varieties that currently exist. It’s a good thing that all parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the leaves, flowers, and stems, securing the pumpkin’s place on homestead farms as it continued to evolve.

Of course, the pumpkin’s greatest claim to fame today has more to do with the associated spices than any of its natural charms. My feelings for the trend have come full circle. I’m no longer dismayed by the disconnect, but encouraged by the possibilities. Now we’re primed to fully embrace all the squash has to offer.

Get ready to fall harder for pumpkin this year. I’ve got the very best vegan recipes right here for you to explore both the sweet and savory sides of pumpkin, ranging from wholesome to indulgent, simple to complex. Canned puree is always available, but pumpkin cravings only peak this season. Don’t waste another autumn without knowing just how incredible pumpkin can taste.

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Too Much Is Never Enough [Zucchini]

“Too much zucchini” is a problem I’ve never had. While it’s true that I’m no gardener, I’m also no stranger to second-hand zucchini from friends and neighbors.

Big, small, serpentine, or spherical; all zucchini are welcomed with open arms. These green squash are even more versatile than cauliflower, if you ask me. They can blend into the background seamlessly, thickening soups and sauces without a hint of their vegetal origins, or steal the show as the main focal point of a dish. I have never once gotten tired of zucchini because zucchini can be anything.

If you’re struggling with an overabundance of summer squash, don’t panic. I’ve got a few fool-proof suggestions that will make easy work of even the largest harvest.

10 Best Zucchini Recipes

If you have too much zucchini on your hands and not enough ideas, these fool-proof recipes will help you make the most of your harvest.

Food for Fathers

Fathers, as a group of people, are not a monolith. Making a blanket statement about such an infinitely diverse and varied population would be incredibly shortsighted, to put it lightly. Fathers should absolutely be celebrated and appreciated, but not in the way that Hallmark cards seem to think.

To treat all fathers the same way is reductive, completely opposite to what we’re trying to convey in the first place. If it comes from a genuine place, Father’s Day is about recognizing the people that raised us for all their unique quirks, habits, and mannerisms. It’s a chance to reminisce about the lessons they taught us early on, our challenges and struggles together; all the things that make them who they are, and in turn, make us who we are.

That kind of depth defies stereotypical gift guides. You can’t put that in a cooler filled with ice or wrap it up in a tool set. I may not be able to speak as a Father myself, but I promise you, they don’t all want beefy burgers or “man caves” or golf sets. Once and for all, almost none of them want neckties.

I’m not going to offer you a recipe roundup of The Best Father’s Day Recipes for the simple reason that I don’t know your father or what they like. Instead, this is a roundup of things I think my father would like. Maybe you’ll find some overlap here for inspiration. Whatever you make, just make sure they know they’re loved. That’s the real point of this holiday.

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Icing on the Birthday Cake

Birthdays were so simple as a kid; you had a party, got cake, played with all your friends, and opened presents. What’s not to love? Fast forward a few years and those same joyous rituals began to feel trite. Maybe you were too “cool” for all the fuss or had more complicated relationships. As time wore on, getting older didn’t seem like a thing to celebrate at all, for the daily slog of adulthood and the aches to come with it. Birthdays transformed from the best day of the year to the absolute worst.

Here I am now, observing the 33rd anniversary of my creation, and I think I’ve entered into the next part of the cycle. Finally breaking through the gloom, I realize how lucky I am to have such a “problem” of getting older. Yes, it’s difficult and so much of it is a pain, literally and figuratively, but it sure beats the alternative. It’s a day that I can use to treat myself to all the things I love, for no particular reason. Why not take the excuse to indulge?

That’s why I’m throwing a little virtual party right here, right now, with all things cake and cake-inspired. If it’s got sprinkles and sweetness, I’m all about it, whether it’s a cookie, a candy, or something else entirely. Here are just a few of my favorite treats that are worthy of any celebration, no matter what stage of birthday appreciation you find yourself in.

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