Cheese platters are a popular choice for appetisers for Christmas BBQs and get togethers. As more and more vegan specialty cheese options become available, vegan cheese platters can be a great option, but they can also be very expensive.
I’ve put together some tips and ideas for how you can make a great Vegan Cheese Platter this Christmas, without spending a fortune.
The star ingredient of a cheese platter is, of course, cheese, or vegan cheese in our case. These days, there are quite a few vegan cheese options available. When putting your cheese platter together, I recommend going to a specialty vegan store or health food store and purchasing a good quality vegan camembert or brie. These cheeses tend to be nut based, and have much better flavour for eating raw on biscuits than the coconut oil based ones in the supermarket.
As the specialty cheeses are quite expensive, I suggest that you only purchase one for a board, or even one between two cheese platters. Just be aware that many only last about 5 days after opening, so make sure you’ll be using all of the cheese in time.
Don’t feel you need to go overboard on the cheeses, as people do with dairy cheese platters. One cheese is enough, and then fill your platter with lots of other delicious options.
If specialty cheeses are a bit out of your price range (understandably so!) there are a number of cheeses flavoured cheeses that are coming into supermarkets. The Miyoko’s brand is now available in Woolworths, and they have some nice flavoured cheeses. Another option is to go for a cream cheese. Sheese now have cream cheese with sweet chilli, and Made with Plants have a number of flavoured sesame seed cream cheeses. These can look great on a cheese platter if you turn them out of the container to serve.
It can be really hard to find biscuits to serve with your cheese. So many of the crackers and biscuits available in the supermarket have milk or cheese in the ingredients. I find the best options tend to be plain water crackers, rice crackers, or some of the mini toasts and plain bagel chips. Make sure you read the ingredients at least twice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home with savoury biscuits and discovered they’re not vegan!
If you feel the cheese biscuit selection isn’t exciting, you can also serve some chips with your platter. Plain, original flavoured corn chips, and plain potato chips tend to be vegan. Corn chips work especially well if you decide to include a salsa.
Dips and Salsa
I always include at least one dip or salsa on my cheese platter. They are great for dipping, and add extra flavour.
It can be a bit tricky to find a vegan dip. Hummus tends to be a safe bet, and you can find some really delicious flavoured hummus’ in the supermarket. My favourite is the Obela Caramelised Onion Hummus. I find their hummus flavours to be pretty safe, but watch out for cheese, milk and egg in the ingredients.
There are two vegan dip brands in Australia that I love. One is called “Vegan” and the other is called “Vegan Dips”. I guess they were going for unambiguous rather than creative in their naming schemes… All of their dips are delicious. You can sometimes find them in Woolworths, but definitely in IGAs.
You could also try serving a salsa. I haven’t yet come across a non vegan salsa, but I would still always check the ingredients. You never know when manufacturers are going to decide that cheese is suddenly an essential salsa ingredient!
When I serve dips and salsas, I like to serve them in a separate container to make the platter look nicer.
I love to fill my Vegan Cheese Platter up with lots of veggie sticks. Not only do they add colour and taste great, they also give you something to occupy you if there aren’t going to be many vegan options available.
If I’m going to a BBQ I find that people don’t notice what I’m eating, so much as whether I’m actually eating. If you can load your plate up with veggie sticks then people will pay less attention to your food.
You can fill your platter with carrot sticks, cucumber, celery, capsicium, raw broccoli or even cauliflower.
You can even add any leftover veggie sticks to your plate for mains if you need extra food to fill it up.
Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruit
Nuts and seeds can be a great addition to your Vegan Cheese Platter, especially if you’re not sure how many vegan options you’ll have. You can go for raw, or roasted nuts.
Dried fruits such as sultanas, dried apple, dried apricots and dates all work really well on cheese platters, and pair really well with vegan cheeses for extra flavour.
So, as you can see, there are many vegan options for a cheese platter. I hope this has given you some great ideas for putting together a delicious Platter, without having to spend a fortune on Vegan Cheese.