This Mediterranean Charcuterie Board is a combination of traditional meats, cheeses, briny olives, nourishing dip and nuts, crackers, fruits and dolmas. A board so enticing that everyone can enjoy an old favorite and try something new!
Don’t get intimidated by the idea of making a show-stopping charcuterie board. With the tips I share here, you’ll be arranging a board to wow your guests with no cooking required!
Having a combination of great ingredients is key to giving your guests an experience to remember and charcuterie board they’ll be talking about for weeks after the event is over. Include homemade hummus to really up-level it!
The best charcuterie board really comes down to just two things: 1.) the ingredients you choose and 2.) the way you arrange them. It’s so much easier than it looks. Let’s get into it!
Why You’ll Love this Mediterranean Charcuterie Board
CROWD-PLEASER - even the pickiest of eaters is sure to find something they like on this Mediterranean board.
CUSTOMIZABLE - I am sharing suggestions for what to use on a Mediterranean charcuterie board. But you can customize it based on your favorites!
EASY - you don’t even have to cook! All you really need to know is how to choose the right ingredients and how to arrange them on a board.
LEFTOVERS- if you have leftovers, turn them into a delicious sandwich or have your own single serve charcuterie dinner the next day!
Basics of Charcuterie
Before you build your board, you’ll want to know some basics. I won’t bore you with TOO much history because that’s not the goal of this post. However, it’s good to know a couple of things before getting started.
- By definition, charcuterie is a combination of French words and it means preserved meat. Even though many of us think of the accompaniments like cheese, crackers, and olives as “charcuterie”, technically charcuterie is the meat itself, and the other stuff is an accompaniment to that meat. Why I want you to know this isn’t just so you can win at trivia. It’s so that you realize the importance of choosing the right meats for your board! Don’t worry - I’ll share details with you on which meats I recommend below.
- Charcuterie boards are perfect for hosting big or small groups. They are commonly served as an appetizer with wine or cocktails at events.
- In the Mediterranean region, meze is a variety of small dishes served together. Meze is often enjoyed as an appetizer or a light meal. In that sense, this could be served as a Mediterranean Meze Board, Mediterranean Snack Board, or even a Mediterranean Grazing Board. No matter what you call it, it’s perfect for any get together or event you are hosting!
- For the purpose of this post, I’ve included ingredients that are mostly from (you guessed it!) the Mediterranean region.
What is the 3-3-3-3 for Charcuterie Boards?
If you haven’t heard of it, the 3-3-3-3 rule in making a traditional charcuterie board is to choose:
- 3 meats
- 3 cheeses
- 3 starches (crackers or breads)
- 3 accompaniments (olives, nuts, fruits, dips, etc).
If you are serving more people, you could choose more. But the idea is to stick to odd numbers and the same variety of all categories. And of course, you don’t HAVE to follow this rule, but it makes it easier to have a number to aim for so that you don’t buy too much cheese and not enough meat (for example). I personally typically include up to 6 accompaniments!
How much cheese and meat do I need to buy per person for charcuterie?
Have you ever made a charcuterie board and way over-estimated how much you needed? Same! Don’t overspend by buying too much. Just a small portion of a few great ingredients is all you need.
And many stores like Trader Joes, Kroger, Cost-Co, and H-E-B (in the Austin area near me) sell charcuterie packs. For example, 3 charcuterie meats can be bought in one package to save you money.
Tip: When it comes to serving charcuterie, it is suggested to serve about 1-2 oz (or 2-3 slices) of meat and 2-3 oz cheese per person if serving it as an appetizer. If you are eating charcuterie for your meal, you can absolutely increase those portions accordingly!
What board size do I need?
If you are serving charcuterie on a wooden board, you might be wondering how big of a board you need.
- For a charcuterie board that serves 4-6 people, you can use as small as a 12 in x 18 in board.
- If serving 8-10 people, you’ll want at least a 16 in x 24 in board.
- If you don't have a board– don’t fret! Simply use a baking sheet or even butcher paper laid over your countertop or table.
Ingredients for Mediterranean Charcuterie
Here are the ingredients to choose from to make your own Mediterranean Charcuterie board! You can grab everything from a local grocery store or Trader Joe's.
1. Charcuterie Board Meats
Serving suggestion: choose 3 different meats. Buy 1-2 oz or 2-3 slices per person when serving as an appetizer.
Meats included on a charcuterie board are usually cured meats including salumi and salami and other deli meats. If you are wondering what meats to include on a charcuterie board, I included some of the most common options for you below.
- Salami - cured sausage that is fermented or air-dried. Usually made up of ground pork that is seasoned, packed, and cured over time. The flavor will depend on the seasoning added and it varies by region. Genoa Salami is a classic Italian salami from the Genoa region of Italy and a popular choice for charcuterie boards. It is flavored with white wine, peppercorns, vinegar, and garlic.
- Prosciutto - sliced paper thin, this is another of the most popular charcuterie meats and has its origins in Italy dating all the way back to pre-Roman times. It literally translates to “ham” in Italian and prosciutto crudo is cured ham made from high quality pork legs.
- Coppa/Capocalla - salumi from the pork neck or shoulder that is hand rubbed with spices and dry cured. It is sliced thin and very similar to prosciutto in flavor and texture.
- Soppressata - sold in “hot” or “sweet” varieties, it is a type of salami that is made with leaner cuts of meat that are coarsely ground. It has a flavor similar to a pepperoni.
- Other options -dry sausage, Saucisson Sec, Bresaola or Pepperonis. Other deli meats like turkey breast or roast beef work, too! Pepperoni and turkey breast are usually big hits with kids.
2. Charcuterie Board Cheeses
Serving suggestion: choose 3 different cheeses and buy 2-3 oz of cheese per person when serving as an appetizer.
Below are some Mediterranean cheeses to choose from. I also included common cheeses that are great for charcuterie that aren’t Mediterranean. You can go wrong choosing any from this list of selection of cheeses!
Tip: for the perfect board, choose a variety of cheeses including at least one semi-soft or soft and one hard or firm cheese.
- Parmigiano-Reggiano - originated in Italy; sharp, complex and savory flavor.
- Asiago - originated in Italy; slightly more mild, nuttier and creamier than Parmesan, but still sharp and complex flavor.
- Romano - originated in Rome, Italy; bold, nutty, tangy flavor.
- Pecorino - originated in Italy; sharp and salty flavor.
- Mimolette - originated in France; vibrant orange in color, sharp, fruity, and nutty in flavor.
- Comte - originated in France; mild and slightly sweet.
- Manchego - originated in Spain; herringbone rind and sweet flavor.
- Other firm cheese that aren’t Mediterranean but great for cheese board: Gouda (originated in the Netherlands), Gruyere (originated in Switzerland), Cheddar (originated in England, comes in mild, medium and sharp). I love Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar which tastes like aged cheddar with parmesan, Colby (originated in the United States in Wisconsin, mild with a buttery finish).
- Fontina - originated in Italy; rich and creamy flavor.
- Muenster - originated by monks in the Alsace region of France; mild buttery flavor.
- Halloumi - originated in Cyprus; slightly tangy and salty.
- Gorgonzola - originated in Italy; tangy blue cheese flavor.
- Mozzarella - originated in Italy; mild, fresh flavor.
- Other semi-soft cheese that aren’t Mediterranean but great for board: havarti (originated in Denmark, mild to sweet and buttery flavor), butterkäse (originated in Germany, mild and salty, smooth and creamy)
- Burrata - originated in southern Italy; creamy and milky flavor.
- Mascarpone - originated in Italy; slightly sweet, rich and creamy flavor.
- Stracchino - originated in Italy; soft, creamy, milk and slightly acidic flavor.
- Brie - originated in France; mild, buttery, earthy and nutty flavor.
- Goat cheese aka chèvre- originated in France; tart, soft, spreadable.
- Ricotta - originated in Italy; mild and slightly nutty flavor, easily whipped into a dip.
- Feta - originated in Greece; bright and tangy flavor easily whipped into a dip.
3. Charcuterie Board Crackers and Breads
Serving suggestion: choose 3 different types of crackers or toasty bread.
Crackers or breads are great for guests to top with their favorite meats and cheeses so serve a variety! I always try to include one gluten-free option for my friends who avoid gluten.
- Water crackers - this is a classic and you really can’t go wrong by including these.
- Warm pita bread or Pita chips - pita originated in the Middle East and is often served with meze dips and spreads.
- Mini Crocattini crackers - these from La Panzella are perfect. La Panella is a company rooted in Italian values and these crispbread crackers are great for serving with Mediterranean cheeses and meats. They are thin and crunchy and have a hint of rosemary flavor.
- Bruschettini - these from Asturi Classico are great! The are small baked Italian bruschetta made with extra virgin olive oil. They are crunchy and I love them topped with Parmesan-Reggiano or Manchego!
- A sweet cracker - if you’ll be serving brie, add a cracker with some sweetness like Trader Joe’s fig and olive crisps.
- Sourdough crackers - Local to my town of Austin, Texas, I LOVE The Sourdough Project's crackers. If you're visiting Austin or live here, be sure to grab some at the Farmer's Market. You can also get them online and at some local grocery stores.
Here are a couple of gluten-free crackers I enjoy having as a snack or with charcuterie as a dietitian.
- Crunchy Almond Crackers - Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins (gluten-free, made with rice flour and almonds as the first 2 ingredients) or Blue Diamond Almond Thins, Smokehouse Flavor (my FAVORITE! gluten-free, made with rice flour and almonds as the first 2 ingredients). The smokehouse flavor is so good with homemade hummus dip. I've introduced these to many friends who are now in the fan club.
- Softer Almond Crackers - Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers, gluten-free, vegan, made with almonds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds. I recommend either the fine ground Sea Salt or Rosemary & Sea Salt flavor!
- Seed Crackers - my favorite brand of seed crackers is Mary's Gone Crackers (any flavor!). gluten-free, made with 5 different kinds of seed, high fiber.
Spreads and Dips for Charcuterie Board
Serving suggestion: choose 1-2 different types of spreads or dips and 2-6 additional accompaniments for your board.
A good dip is especially great for this Mediterranean inspired board because there are several Middle Eastern dips as options. I’m including some common ones you can choose from below.
- Hummus - make a classic hummus or get store-bought hummus if you don’t have time to make it. But making hummus at home is quick and it’s less expensive than store-bought! For extra color, try using beet hummus.
- Tzatziki - aside from hummus, this is my favorite for dipping vegetables! It’s a creamy cucumber yogurt dip that is relatively low calorie.
- Baba Ganoush (*eggplant dip) - a Mediterranean dip similar to hummus in that it is made with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. But instead of chickpeas used in hummus, it is made with roasted eggplant as the base.
- Tabbouleh - a Middle Eastern grain salad made with a base of fresh herbs including parsley and mint, bulgar wheat and lemon.
- Whipped Feta spread- a delicious spread that is a creamy mix of feta usually combined with greek yogurt, honey, and olive oil.
- Olive tapenade - a blend of green olives, black olives, capers, herbs, and spices with olive oil.
- Pesto - a classic pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, parmesan, extra virgin olive oil, and garlic.
- Red Pepper Spread - another option at Trader Joe's made with red peppers and eggplant.
- Dijon mustard
- Spicy Jams - for example, pepper jam with jalapenos or red peppers
- Fruit spread or jam - fig jam, quince jam (quince is a gentle citrus fruit), citrus marmalade, or pear spread.
Fruits and Vegetables
Serving suggestion: add at least one fresh fruit or dried fruit or one vegetable to your board.
Fresh or dried fruits for a bit of sweetness and to add color to a great board!
- Fresh fruit - Some common fruits seen on a charcuterie board are red or green grapes, sliced apples, pears, or strawberries. You could also add fresh figs or other berries. Just don’t pick fresh fruits that are very watery that will leak onto the other ingredients.
- Dried fruits - dried apricots, figs, cranberries, cherries, or dates.
- Vegetables - add marinated artichoke hearts (usually found in a jar), roasted red bell peppers or fresh vegetables. Cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, or bell peppers are great options. Pickled cauliflower in different colors can also be a fun!
Olives and pickles
No Mediterranean platter would be complete without a variety of olives, so don’t be scared to hit the olive bar somewhere like Whole Foods!
Did you know? - Olives are technically a fruit and they are high in Vitamin E and antioxidants.
- Olives - Briny olives are great for adding some salty complexity. For a Mediterranean board, try Greek kalamata olives or Konservolia olives (natural black olives), Italian green Castelvetrano olives, or spanish Green Manzanilla olives. I love getting olives stuffed with garlic!
- Pickles - Cornichons or dill pickles are popular pickles for charcuterie.
No charcuterie board would be complete without nuts. You can choose raw nuts. Or add a little flare with spiced, candied, or roasted nuts. Nuts add protein, heart healthy fats, and antioxidants.
- Almonds - some of my favorites are Marcona almonds.
- Macademia nuts
- Dolmas are a great addition to a Greek charcuterie board! These are grape leaves stuffed with a meat and rice mixture.
- Honey is another popular addition for a charcuterie board.
Directions for Mediterranean Charcuterie Board
So you’ve got your board out, the ingredients are purchased, and it’s time to arrange your board! Below are the steps for making an easy charcuterie board that is foolproof and stress-free.
Remember to enjoy the process! Charcuterie is an art. So grab a glass of your favorite wine or tea, put on a little Frank Sinatra, and get your creativity flowing. No one will judge you if you snag a bit or two for a little taste-test along the way! 😉
Prep your charcuterie meat, cheese, and accompaniments
Go ahead and prep everything so you know what you’re working with. A good rule of thumb is to serve your soft cheeses whole with a couple slices cut to show people how to serve it, and pre-slice the harder cheeses.
For the hard cheeses, cut wedge shaped cheese blocks into triangles and the blocks of cheeses into squares.
If using grapes, cut them into smaller bunches of 3-5 so people can easily grab them. If using fresh vegetables, slice them into pieces people can grab and dip.
Add the cheeses and small dishes with dips or ingredients that come in liquid.
Add largest items to your board first. This includes cheese wedges or blocks and small dishes or bowls where you will add dip and ingredients that are in liquid like olives and pickles.
Add the meats
The next step is to arrange the different meats around the cheeses. For thinly sliced meats like prosciutto, you can arrange it in ribbons. Round slices of meat like salami can be folded in halves or fourths to make a tulip shape. I’m a big fan of keeping it simple!
Add the larger accompaniments including fruits and vegetables.
Fill in some of the spaces with a small serving of fresh fruit or vegetables.
Add your crackers and breads around the meat and cheese.
Tip: add the crackers and breads next to the meats and cheeses they pair well with.
Fill in the gaps with small items including nuts and dried fruits. Feel free to garnish with fresh herbs!
Charcuterie Tip: Mediterranean cheeses are best served at room temperature so take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before guests arrive.
Substitutions and Variations
If you couldn’t already tell, there are so many substitutions and variations that you can make with charcuterie or other kinds of boards. Some examples include:
- Breakfast charcuterie - want to start the day with charcuterie? Breakfast boards are becoming popular and include common breakfast finger foods like waffles cut into small pieces, different fruits, sausage, and hard boiled eggs.
- Charcuterie cups - are you hosting a party but don’t want people gathered around one area where the charcuterie is? No problem! Make charcuterie cups by adding the same ingredients in single serving cups grouped in kabob-style patterns on toothpicks.
- Dessert Board - a dessert board is a perfect idea for people wanting to try a couple different sweets. Serve dark chocolate, a variety of small cookies, and petite cupcakes or brownies. Add candied nuts and a small dish of chocolate hummus with fruit.
To make a charcuterie board, all you really need is a nice wooden board, some small dishes, and utensils.
Nice wooden boards:
- Smaller, round: Acacia Wood Cutting Board with handle (16 in x 12 in)
- Smaller, rectangle with handle: Acacia wood cutting board (17 in x 12 in)
- Smaller, rectangle without handle: Bamboo Board, (18 in x 12 in)
- Larger, rectangle without handle: Bamboo Board, (24 in x 18 in)
- Larger, rectangle without handle: Acacia Wood Board (24 in x 18 in)
- Cheese knife set with wooden handles, set of 6
- Boska stainless steel cheese knife, set of 4
- Charcuterie board accessory kit
Small dishes perfect for charcuterie:
- Mora Ceramic Ramekins- set of 6
- Sweese 4 Inch Porcelain Bowls - set of 6
- Oven Safe Creme Brulee Ramekin - set of 6
Books for making great charcuterie and boards:
- Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any Occassion by Maeghan Brown
- Platters and Boards, Beautiful Casual Spreads for Every Occassion by Shelley Westerhausen Wocel
- Remember the 3-3-3-3 rule. To make it easy, use the 3-3-3-3 rule of charcuterie. Choose 3 different meats, 3 cheeses, 3 crackers/breads, and 3-6 accompaniments.
- Serve the right amount per person! If serving the board as an appetizer, serve 1-2 oz (2-3 slices) of meat and 2-3 oz of cheese per person.
- Slice the cheese. If you are adding a whole block or wedge of cheese to the board, slice off a couple pieces to get it started.
- Keep it clean! Put the items that are liquid in small bowls (this includes things like olives, pickles, dips, and jams).
- Add color to the board using cheeses that are different color shades, fresh fruits and vegetables, and different colored spreads.
- Some old and some new. Choose some ingredients that people are familiar with and add a couple less common ones for guests to try something new!
- Pair the flavors that you would suggest be eaten together. For example, pair Brie cheese next to honey, fontina cheese next to salami, and gruyere cheese next to prosciutto.
- Budget-friendly tip! Buy your charcuterie meats in a sample pack. You can also use the less expensive cheeses and accompaniments or make your own hummus and other dips to save on money!
If you’re going to serve a Mediterranean Charcuterie Board, it’s helpful to know how to pronounce it in case people ask! So here is the pronounciation for charcuterie: Shar-koo-duh-ree.
Whether a charcuterie board is healthy depends on your health goals and what you include on your board! In general, I don’t recommend eating a lot of processed meats and cheese or crackers. However, in moderation these things can be enjoyed as part of a balanced and healthy diet.
Some of the less healthy ingredients on this board are the cured meats and cheeses. These are typically high in sodium, saturated fats, and cholesterol. If you are watching your heart health, try to steer clear or have small portions of the meats and cheeses. With that said, meats and cheeses are high in other nutrients. Meat contains iron and cheese contains calcium, important for bone health. To me, the key is balance, moderation and knowing your own health goals! This is my opinion as a dietitian, but it is not medical advice. Talk with your own dietitian or provider if you have concerns.
Crackers that are made from seeds, nuts, or seed/nut flours are great gluten-free choices. Nuts and olives are high in healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. Vegetables and fresh fruits are a healthy way to bulk up a great charcuterie board, too! Just be careful with dried fruits as they are usually high in added sugars and pickled vegetables since they are typically high in sodium. Instead of dried fruit with added sugars, opt for dates, which are naturally sweet. Lastly, adding dips like hummus or tzatziki are healthy options.
All this to say, one of the best parts about a charcuterie board is the enjoyment and the ability to customize your own experience to your comfort. If you love filling your body with nourishing foods, there are plenty here to choose from!
In fact, charcuterie for one or two people is perfect for a super easy dinner. It’s basically a grown-up fancy lunchable situation and I’m so here for it!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! I would love to hear from you! If you made this recipe, please leave me a review below or tag me in a photo or story on Instagram....I LOVE knowing there are people out there trying out my recipes! 🙂 IG: @mallorythedietitian
Mediterranean Charcuterie Board, Easy Meze How To
- 1 wooden board (For serving 8-10 people: 16 in x 24 in like this one. For serving 4-6 people: you can use as small as a 12 in x 18 in. And if you won’t have a board– don’t fret! Simply use a baking sheet, a cutting board, or even butcher paper over your countertop or table.)
- cheese knives for serving (I love these stainless steel ones)
- small dishes (for serving dips and ingredients that come in liquid like olives, pickles, or mozzarella cheese. These Mora Ceramic Ramekins are perfect.)
Meat (suggestion to serve 3 different kinds of meat and total of 12-16 oz total for 8 people or ~1-2 oz per person)
- 5 oz Genoa salami (or other salami)
- 5 oz Proscuitto (or coppa/capocalla)
- 5 oz Hot Soppressata (or sweet soppressata)
Cheeses (suggestion to serve 3 different cheeses and a total of 16-24 oz for 8 people or 2-3 oz per person)
- 6 oz Manchego (or other firm or hard cheese)
- 6 oz Brie (or other soft cheese)
- 6 oz Parmesan-Reggiano (or other hard cheese)
Crackers or Breads (suggestion to serve 3 different kinds of crackers or toasted bread)
- Bruschettini or Water Crackers these from Asturi Classico are great!
- Pita Chips or pita bread
- Trader Joe's Fig and Olive Crisps or another sweet cracker
Accompaniments (suggestion to serve 1-2 dips and total of 3-6 accompaniments)
- small dish of hummus homemade hummus recipe
- small dish of olives use combination of green and black
- 5-6 dolmas or artichoke hearts
- ½ cup marcona almonds or other roasted, spiced, or candied nut
- 10-12 dried apricots or other dried fruit
- a few bunches of grapes or other fruit or vegetable
- Prep: Go ahead and prep everything so you know what you’re working with. A good rule of thumb is to serve your soft cheeses whole with a couple slices cut to show people how to serve it, and pre-slice the harder cheeses.For the cheese you will serve sliced, cut the wedge shaped cheese blocks into triangles and the blocks of cheeses into squares.If using grapes, cut them into smaller bunches of 3-5 so people can easily grab them. If using fresh vegetables, slice them into pieces people can grab and dip.
- Add largest items to your board first. This includes the cheeses and small dishes with dips and ingredients in liquid.Tip: Mediterranean cheeses are best served at room temperature so take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before guests arrive.
- Add the meats around the cheeses.The next step will be to arrange the different meats around the cheeses. For thinly sliced meats like prosciutto, you can arrange it in ribbons. Round slices of meat like salami can be folded in halves or fourths to make a tulip shape. I’m a big fan of keeping it simple!
- Add the larger accompaniments including fruits and vegetables.Fill in some of the spaces with a small serving of fresh fruit or vegetables. For this board, grapes are used.
- Add your crackers and breads around the meat and cheese.Tip: add the crackers and breads next to the meats and cheeses they pair well with.
- Fill in the gaps with small items including nuts and dried fruits. For this board the small items include marcona almonds and dried apricots
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