It’s time for me to come clean about something. For years and years and years, I’ve avoided cooking a Thanksgiving dinner.
Whether it’s because of a pandemic or not, my boyfriend and I often eat something similar to this Thanksgiving Grazing Board rather than a full Thanksgiving dinner.
I absolutely love this grazing board, because it’s festive, easy, and it’s all my favorite foods on one tray. Oh, and it’s so much easier than a full meal because it’s all that you need to do to enjoy it.
You can either skip the big meal all together, or if you’re thinking about keeping the hungry mouths busy while cooking the big meal, you can opt to serve a Thanksgiving grazing board instead.
To conclude, there is no better way to keep the hungry mouths busy than to serve them a Thanksgiving grazing board.
Try to make a batch and share with Apronese your results after reading the following article.
Grazing Boards: What Do They Contain?
In order to build a grazing board, I like to include items from the following categories: meat, cheese, fruit, bread, dips or spreads, nuts, and pickled vegetables.
As a result, you will have an amazing combination of sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy, acidic, and maybe even spicy flavors that can all be combined and matched to produce endless combinations of delicious bites to try out. It might seem that I just described heaven.
Besides that, garnishes are always a nice touch, if you want your food to look fancy. And food that looks pretty is always more enjoyable for me, even if it isn’t the best tasting.
Options for Thanksgiving Grazing Boards
There are a lot of categories that can be used on your pinterest board, and I will list what I used for every category as well as some alternate ideas that will stay in the Thanksgiving/fall theme to make it easy for you to create your own board.
Meat: My version uses salami medallions and turkey slices roasted in the oven with lots of spices. Other ideas include peppered salamis, prosciutto, honey hams, genoa salamis, and sopressatas.
Cheese: There are some other cheese options to consider (try not to choose two from any of the categories) when you are making your Thanksgiving Grazing Board. Here are some other cheese options to consider (try not to choose two from any of the categories):
- Creamy: Chevre, Camembert, Burrata
- Hard: Parmesan, Manchego, Pecorino, aged cheddar or gouda
- Slicing cheeses: Cheddar, Provolone, Havarti, Swiss
- Blue: Roquefort, Stilton, Blue
Fruit: I made my own grazing board by including red grapes, pears, dried apricots, dried cranberries, and a few dried apricots to fill in nooks and crannies on my board. Other fall-inspired fruit could include: apples, pomegranates, figs, or satsumas on my board.
Bread: Using a variety of crackers (from a variety pack), I was able to make sure that the board had a variety of shapes and textures. I also sliced up a baguette and served that on the side, as there wasn’t much room on the board for bulkier bread. It is possible to use virtually any type of cracker or sliced bread as your grazing board.
Dips and Spreads: This vegan Thanksgiving appetizer also includes whole-berry cranberry sauce, honey, and Dijon mustard. Other fall-inspired spreads include fig jam, pumpkin or apple butter, whole grain mustard, or spicy honey infused with ginger and honey.
Nuts: Using a few pecan halves that I kept in my pantry of leftovers, I filled in the gaps on the board, but candied walnut halves, almond halves, or pecan halves would also be a nice touch to make the board look festive.
Pickled Vegetables: There wasn’t enough space on the tray for me to include any pickled vegetables, but they really offer an interesting flavor contrast to the other items. I usually try to include one, even if it is only one pickled vegetable. It would be my preference to include a classic olive on this Thanksgiving Grazing Board as part of the flavor profile of this Grazing Board, but I would also prefer to have sweet mini gherkins.
Garnishes: I decided to garnish the dish with some mini pumpkins and rosemary sprigs, since both of these ingredients were already on hand at the time, but another option would be to get some fake sunflowers, fake leaves, or fake pinecones.
The Best Way to Save Money on Grazing Boards
There is no denying that it is easy to get carried away when buying meats, cheeses, and other specialty ingredients, so following are a few tips for keeping your costs under control when purchasing them:
- Don’t try to fill your board with more than one or two things from each category. You’ll run out of space faster than you think!
- You might already have some shelf-stable items in your fridge or pantry such as nuts, dried fruit, mustard, jam, honey, and other things that can be used in a pinch.
- There are always strangely expensive crackers when you buy multiple boxes rather than a variety pack. Crackers are always one of those odd, hard-to-understand foods.
- It is advisable that you check out your grocer’s deli section in the event that you notice a discount bin. Many deli departments will put pre-sliced meats and cheese, or even speciality cheeses on sale when they get close to the sell-by date. You can save a lot of money with this method if you purchase the discounted items no more than 1-2 days before you plan on serving your grazing board. Just be sure to ask for a discount if you don’t see one there.
- Then, you are going to either have to use a baking sheet as your “board”, or as a serving plate due to the fact that no one will be able to see it through all of those beautiful cheeses. Haha! If your baking sheets are looking a little worse for wear, place a strip of parchment paper over them first.
Grazing Boards for Thanksgiving – How Much Do They Cost?
There were a lot of leftover ingredients from this board that I could refill as it got eaten down (a total of almost two boards worth of ingredients) when I bought it for $27.54, but I had leftovers of most of the ingredients left over as it got eaten down.
Here is a breakdown of what I purchased and what I already had on hand during the week. I literally “grazed” on these and the leftovers.
- Salami $3.99
- Turkey slices $2.99
- Brie $2.99
- Smoked cheddar $3.49
- Aged gouda $3.69
- Grapes $3.53
- Pears $1.59
- Cranberry sauce $0.89
- Crackers $2.89
- Baguette $1.49
I have the following ingredients on hand (I didn’t measure them so I am unable to calculate estimate costs):
- Dried Cranberries
- Dried Apricots
- Fresh rosemary
Thanksgiving Grazing Board: How To Make It – Step by Step Photos and Styling Tips
It is always my practice to begin with the larger items on my board as well as any dips and spreads.
The little bowls or dishes of spreads I use to spread around the other food seem to make excellent central pieces around which to wrap other foods.
As you can see, I have prepared cranberry sauce, mustard and honey, two mini-pumpkins, and two small bowls of mustard and honey.
I also wanted to avoid making the board too symmetrical, so I just scattered these pieces about the board to keep the board from looking too symmetrical.
As a next step, I added the grapes and pears, as these are larger items, which will prove difficult to place once more ingredients have been added.
In the end, I left half of the pears whole for visual appeal. I bought two pears, so I had an extra to slice as I was eating the board. More pear can be sliced as the board gets consumed.
A variety of cheeses are a great way to showcase your cheese collection, and you should display them in a variety of ways in addition to having a variety and variety of flavors.
Hard aged cheeses look beautiful when crumbled together. There is a great difference between slicing cheeses, such as cheddar cheese, which can be served as slices or cubes, and softer cheeses, which can be served whole or in larger pieces that can be easily split or scooped as needed.
In addition, you should present the meat in different ways to really maximize the visual texture of the board.
Once again, presenting the meat in a variety of ways will really enhance the visual texture. There isn’t much you can do with these little salami medallions, so I just piled them on the board to make the board look “abundant.”
I also rolled the turkey slices into cigars for the board. Using thin slices of salami or cured meat, you can create a ruffled appearance by folding them in half, then again in half again.
Next I proceeded to spread out crackers on a plate and snake them around everything else that I have on the plate.
After filling in the blanks, the board should look very full, only a few very small spots remain. In order to fill these remaining spaces, I used small items like nuts and dried fruit.
Finally, I used some rosemary sprigs to garnish the board, and it looks abundant. There is a lot of color, texture, and flavor to this board, while still keeping a distinct fall theme.
Is There Anything Else I Might Need?
In case you do decide to prepare a Thanksgiving Grazing Board this year, don’t forget to include some plates, napkins, and toothpicks in your supplies. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your appetite, as well.
Well done the recipe for you, try it out and let Apronese know you did well and share your recipe in the comments.