I have a new favorite word as of late and you may have seen me use it around my corners of the internet – that word is healthyish, and I wanted to explain why I like it so much, then give you a healthyish game plan for making a bomb snack board for your friends this weekend.
As most of you have probably gathered by now I’m mildly obsessed with Bon Appetit magazine. They have the most beautifully designed pages and food styling, they tell interesting stories and most importantly, they publish the most creative and delicious recipes, all with this fun and unique sense of humor wrapped around everything. The BA Foodcast is also in my top three favorites (which says something because I’m subscribed to at least 10-15). If you haven’t listened to it, I would highly recommend it for learning about new cooking techniques and the fun interviews with foodies from all sorts of backgrounds.
Earlier this year, BA launched a subset of their brand called Healthyish. The editor-in-chief once described it as, "We’re thinking about food in new ways, we’re being more conscious about what we eat, but we’re also not losing sleep over it." Um, hello perfect word to describe my approach to eating.
All that being said, I wanted to give a little tutorial on how I make my all-time favorite healthyish appetizer (or sometimes dinner) – the snack board. Make this to impress your friends when they come over, for an appetizer at a dinner party, or for a lazy dinner when all you can really fathom is arranging a bunch of random things on a tray.
Be sure to check out my free resource at the end of the post - a printable shopping list and how-to guide so you don't have to remember all of this or take notes as you go (although I wont' judge if you do).
Here’s what you need:
1. Veggie(s) + Dip
Carrots or celery sticks work great for some added crunch/texture but I also like radishes. You can see in the photo above I used the tri-color carrots because I think they are just beautiful. Hummus is the easiest and probably the most traditional dip choice, but there are also some really great Greek yogurt based dips and dressings available now, like this one from Sabra. Bean dip or guacamole are other fun options.
2. Smoked salmon is a must
It can be a little bit pricey, but usually at least one brand is on sale and a small piece goes a long way so most people won’t want to load up on this stuff. I think it's fun to serve because most people don't eat it all the time, so it's a nice treat and just plain delicious. It also pairs great with a creamy cheese.
3. One or two cheeses
Go for one sharp/hard cheese and one soft/creamy option like brie to please multiple taste preferences. The cheese pictured above is a merlot soaked bellavitano and it's one of my all-time favorites. If you don't have a great cheese selection where you live, you can probably still find an extra sharp cheddar and this works well too!
Add one grainy/seedy option and one light and airy cracker or pretzel. I like Carr's water crackers because the flavor is so neutral and they are good for "cleansing the palate" if you will. I can't believe I just used that phrase. For the other option, try the Blue Diamond Artisan brand or even a basic Triscuit for something heartier to add variety.
I love grapes because it’s easy to grab a few without making a mess and the sweetness usually pairs well with the other flavors. They add a great pop of color too. Some other options might be sliced granny smith apples or pears when in season. Just avoid anything too juicy/messy because this is finger food after all.
6. Something briny (like kalamata olives)
If you like 'em stuffed with blue cheese or something similar, you go. If you don't like olives, try pickled vegetables. Again, make this as easy as possible to grab and provide some sort of toothpicks/cocktail skewers to go along with these.
7. Optional: another meat or protein like proscuitto or salami
I only buy one of these if there's a good sale or if I sample something that is just too good to pass up (happens to me quite often actually). Go for something extra flavorful like dry salami or capocollo and serve a smaller amount as a compliment to the other items.
Ready to venture into the world of snack board making? Be sure to grab the shopping list and how-to guide below so you can stop at the store on your way home today. It's even organized by section of the grocery store (you're welcome).
If you give this a try, be sure to share photos with me so I can see all of your epic creations! On Instagram use #SpiceUpYourCookingGame and tag me (@LeanneRayRDN).
Snack Board Shopping List + How-to Guide
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