Cutting calories as well as cost—come on, is this just an Alex Jones-fashioned conspiracy?
I’m happy to report these notions are absolutely possible…minus the Internet’s help.
Pinterest is good for many things, including healthified versions of countless eats and treats. Though when it comes to the finer things in life, we must sometimes sound the cynical sirens. Can it really be that “easy”, Pinterest? Sure, “5-ingredient ~whatever~”, but how does it actually taste? Just a few of the questions we may find ourselves asking whilst browsing the endless grid, but hey, it’s hard not to! Especially when some online recipes arguably stand as the modern form of classically deceitful, “as seen on TV” magic (edit: still lamenting my Marvin’s “Magic” Drawing Board was a whole $19.95’s worth of heart-wrenching, kindergarten-era disappointment).
So when diving the searchable depths of how to build a “better” meat and cheese board, Pinterest prides that #vegancharcuterie is the go-to way. But in the words of Elle Woods, we know anyone believing that may just be “seriously disturbed.”
Enter Trader Joe’s—the mecca of fun food finds at often frugal prices, so it’s less than surprising to find it a hostess’ best friend as well. Housing a plethora of specialty cheese, meat and wine on top of the infamous cookie butter and other fields of frozen treasures, where else but the sacred Joe gives you a promising chance at becoming your own gourmet triple threat.
For the tricker health hacks regarding your anything-but-vegan approach, the Joe has a number of choices across the board (no pun intended). For block cheese offerings, you can find part-skim mozzarella, light brie and some reduced-fat cheddars. If we’re getting extra sacrilegious, one can venture to the fridge’s farthest side for even more pre-sliced, lightened varieties. But whatever you do, remember to choose a good mix of types: soft, semi-soft, firm and maybe even some aged.
While the absent need to bust out your cookware is one of the best parts of serving the charcuterie road less traveled, this healthier take may require a tad bit more prep work than normal. But trust me, it’s nothing short of #worthit.
Dominating the platter with stacks of roasted veggies like carrots, mushrooms, zucchini and red bell pepper lessens the carb overload, but don’t shy away from including whole grain crackers and toasted crostinis on the side as well. Adding a few savory dips and spreads like hummus, mustard and tomato pâté are also flavor-packed picks that beat sugary honey and assorted jams any day. Of course we can’t completely ignore the element of sweet, so go with fabulously fresh fruits instead.
To finish off the tray we turn to our brines beloved, where olives and pickled anything add a seriously salty flair (if you’re into that sort of thing). You can even throw some toasted nuts or roasted garbanzo beans into the mix for added crunch and super food power.
And just like that, our beautiful board is complete! Sans any guilt on the wallet, waist, nor going wayside of utter deliciousness.
I also love vegan things…just not when it comes to swanky meat and cheese boards.