Cheese Board Alternatives

Cheese boards are a staple at many gatherings and parties. A beautifully arranged display of cheeses, cured meats, crackers, fruits, nuts, and other accompaniments is always a crowd-pleaser.

However, some hosts may be seeking alternatives to the tried-and-true cheese board.

Cheese Board Alternatives

Whether you want to accommodate dietary restrictions, avoid too much dairy and meat, or simply try something new, there are many creative options for amazing grazing platters beyond the classic cheese board.

The Vegan Board

One of the most popular cheese board alternatives is the vegan board. This is a great option if you have vegan or dairy-free guests.

A vegan platter focuses on plant-based foods but mimics the look and feel of a cheese board. Simply swap out the dairy cheese for vegan cheese made from nuts, soy, or other ingredients. Some great vegan cheese brands to try are Miyoko's, Violife, and Treeline.

Hummus makes a fantastic substitute for soft spreadable cheese. Offer hummus in a variety flavors like roasted red pepper, pesto, or lemon-dill.

Crackers, breads, and crudites are vegan-friendly options that mirror what you'd find on a classic cheese platter. Vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, radishes, and red bell peppers are perfect for dipping in hummus.

Nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and fresh fruits like grapes and berries also make excellent vegan additions. Olives, pickles, and chutneys provide tangy flavors similar to traditional charcuterie accents.

If you want to emulate sliced cured meats, try plant-based deli slices, sausages, or bacon from brands like Tofurky and Yves. Or use marinated artichoke hearts, mushrooms, or eggplant for hearty, meaty textures.

With the right components, your vegan platter can rival any cheese board in terms of beauty, taste, and abundance!

Key Takeaway: Vegan boards utilize plant-based cheeses, hummus, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and other meatless ingredients to create a dairy-free grazing option.

The Mediterranean Mezze Platter

Transport your guests to the Mediterranean coast with a dazzling mezze platter. Mezze is an assortment of small dishes, dips, and snacks popular in countries like Greece, Lebanon, and Turkey.

A mezze board typically includes:

  • Hummus - Chickpea hummus is a mezze essential. Consider making your own from scratch. Addunique flavors like roasted red pepper, lemon-dill, or harissa spice.
  • Stuffed grape leaves - These tidy little packages, known as dolmas or dolmathes, are a mezze staple. Use grape or cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, herbs and spices.
  • Baba ghanoush - This smoky eggplant dip pairs perfectly with pita chips or fresh veggies.
  • Labneh - Thick, strained yogurt cheese with the consistency of cream cheese. Delicious with olive oil and za'atar spice.
  • Feta cheese - Of course, you can't forget the crumbly, salty feta!
  • Flatbreads like pita, lavash or naan are great for scooping up dips. Include a mix of plain and flavored breads.
  • Olives - A mezze platter must have plump mixed olives, from Kalamata to Castelvetrano.
  • Roasted vegetables - Eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and carrots develop deep flavor when roasted.
  • Pickled vegetables like cauliflower and cucumbers provide tart contrast.
  • Nuts and dried fruits - Pistachios, walnuts, dates, and apricots balance the savory components.

With this tasty combination ofMiddle Eastern dips, snacks, breads,and produce, your mezze grazing board offers a world of flavors beyond cheese and charcuterie!

Key Takeaway: A mezze platter contains Middle Eastern specialties like hummus, stuffed grape leaves, feta, flatbreads, olives, and roasted veggies for a Mediterranean-inspired app.

The Snack Board

Sometimes you want an easy, fun platter without lots of fancy cheeses or small plates. Enter the snack board!

A snack board is casual and approachable, focused on crowd-pleasing munchies both sweet and savory. Build your board around favorite packaged snacks and candy rather than gourmet ingredients.

Some fun ideas for a snack board include:

  • Chips and popcorn - Load up on favorites like potato chips, tortilla chips, pretzels, puffed snacks, and popcorn. Offer a couple different flavors.
  • Candy bars - Mini sizes or fun varieties like Reese's, Snickers bars, and M&Ms make sweet additions.
  • Cookies - Choose popular cookies like Chips Ahoy, Oreos, shortbread, or peanut butter for irresistible nibbles .
  • Crackers - Cheese crackers, graham crackers, and varieties like Ritz or Wheat Thins are welcome.
  • Dips - Don't forget crowd-pleasing dips like salsa, guacamole, queso, and spinach-artichoke to go with your chips!
  • Trail mixes - Homemade or prepackaged trail mix provides protein from nuts plus chocolate and dried fruit.
  • Fresh fruits - Grapes, berries, orange slices, or apple wedges give refreshing balance.

With an array of packaged nibbles both sweet and salty, the snack board is a fun change of pace from gourmet platters. Your guests can graze freely on their favorite treat.

Key Takeaway: Snack boards contain an assortment of packaged foods like chips, cookies, candies, dips, trail mixes, and fresh fruits for easy snacking.

The Breakfast Board

Why wait until morning to enjoy breakfast flavors? A breakfast-inspired board makes a delicious brunch or late-night platter.

Some tasty components to include on your breakfast board:

  • Mini muffins - Blueberry, banana nut, or pumpkin spice muffins are morning favorites.
  • Scones - Bake a batch of fruit, chocolate chip, or cranberry scones to crumble onto the board.
  • Cinnamon rolls - Homemade or store-bought mini cinnamon rolls are a sweet addition.
  • Breakfast breads - Quick or yeast breads like banana, zucchini,or pumpkin make excellent slices.
  • Waffles or pancakes - Make bite-size silver dollar pancakes or waffle sticks to add.
  • French toast - Bread sliced French toast into fingers or cubes.
  • Fruits - Berries, melon cubes, grapefruit segments, and orange slices bring freshness.
  • Yogurt or chia pudding in small jars or ramekins offer protein.
  • Nuts like pecans, walnuts, and almonds complement the fruits.
  • Bacon - Cook up maple bacon or other gourmet bacon flavors.
  • Sausage - Mini smoked sausages, breakfast links, or chicken apple sausage provide meaty bites.

Drizzle boards with syrups like maple, honey, and fruit syrup as a finishing touch. The breakfast board makes an eye-catching brunch spread or late-night comfort food option!

Key Takeaway: Breakfast boards feature an array of morning favorites like pastries, breads, yogurt, bacon, sausage, and fresh fruit for anytime enjoyment.

The Baked Brie Board

Warm baked brie serves as the ooey, gooey centerpiece of this indulgent platter. The creaminess of baked brie pairs perfectly with fruits, nuts, and breads.

Start with an entire round of brie cheese. Choose a soft-ripened variety with an edible rind, like a French brie or Italian taleggio. Place the cheese in an oven-safe dish and bake until just melted.

Surround the warm brie with:

  • Breads for spreading like baguette slices, crackers, and flatbreads.
  • Fresh fruits like figs, grapes, apples, and berries that complement the richness.
  • Dried fruits such as apricots, cranberries, cherries, and mango add sweetness.
  • Chopped nuts like walnuts, pecans, and pistachios.
  • Honey or fruit preserves for drizzling over the cheese.
  • Cornichons, pickled onions, or cranberry sauce to cut the richness.
  • Herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage for seasoning.

Encourage guests to dip bread chunks into the melted brie and top with fruit, nuts, and drizzles. The warm, oozing cheese is an elegant centerpiece sure to impress.

Key Takeaway: Baked brie cheese boards feature a whole wheel of creamy melted cheese alongside breads, fruits, nuts, and herbs for dipping and topping.


What are some good vegan substitutes for cheese?

Some of the most popular brands for vegan cheese include Miyoko's, Violife, Treeline, Daiya, and Kite Hill. Nut-based cheeses provide creamy texture and flavor.

What is a good replacement for cured meats on a vegan board?

Marinated artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and eggplant provide hearty, meaty textures. Store-bought vegan deli slices, sausages, and bacon mimic traditional charcuterie as well.

Can you make a dessert board instead of a savory platter?

Absolutely! Dessert boards with chocolate-dipped fruit, cookies, candy, cake pops, chocolates, and other sweets make fun alternatives.

What kind of bread works well on grazing boards?

Baguettes, flatbreads, crackers, slices of quick breads, and pita or naan are excellent for serving with dips and spreads. Choose an assortment of flavors and textures.

Should cheese boards include meat and vegetarian options?

Offering a mix gives guests choices. You can cluster meat and cheese together on one side, keeping a vegetarian section separate on the other side of the board.

Do you need fancy cheeses for an impressive board?

Not at all! Simple crowd-pleasers like cheddar, brie, mozzarella, feta, and havarti make excellent cheese boards. Mix classic picks with one or two special artisan cheeses.


Cheese boards may be traditional party fare, but don't feel limited. With a little creativity, you can produce stunning grazing platters that provide variety and accommodate all preferences.

From vegan and Mediterranean-inspired to breakfast pastries andwarm baked brie, the possibilities are endless. Whip up something unique that reflects your own tastes and style.

Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀
Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀

I'm a total cheese fanatic! When I'm not busy studying to be a cheesemaker, you can find me scouring local farmers markets and specialty shops for new and exciting cheeses to try. Brie is my all-time fave, but I also love exploring aged goudas, funky blues, and rich creamy camemberts. Looking forward to sharing lots of melty, gooey cheese pics and reviews!