Have you ever ordered the charcuterie board at a restaurant for dinner, but still found yourself hungry after splitting it with two or three friends? They're delicious for sure, but rarely meant to be a full-on meal on their own. So when we're putting together a meaty snack board for dinner, we're going for hearty and wholesome in addition to quick and easy. Our board is filled with meats, pickles, and veggies and assembled in about 15 minutes after a quick grocery store pit-stop on the way home from work.
What Is a Snack Board?
Let us introduce you to the snack board, the casual, anything-goes cousin to the sometimes-stuffy cheese board. You might even say it's like a Lunchable, except for adults and families, and more often an option for dinner rather than lunch. In fact, snack boards are what you should make when don't feel like cooking. All the effort goes into the the shopping, prep, and assembly. Here are a few pointers.
- Start off with four to five main items. Serve them on a board, tray, or plate and add more items if more people are going to be in on the munching.
- Since snack boards about are about casual meals on busy nights, rely on pantry staples, store-bought items, or even leftovers when making them.
- Choose foods that are good at room temperature. This is about snacking, so make sure things can last the length of your meal.
- Always include vegetables — even when you snack board is full of meat and cheese.
- Cooking is not required, so if you do make something, keep it simple. This whole fuss-free endeavor should only take 15 minutes to throw together.
Think Like a Snack Board Architect
Making a successful snack board does requires some strategy, but once you understand the concept, it's easy to cobble together the snack board in your mind while you walk from the office to your car.
Our strategy for making a meaty snack board puts the emphasis on what you buy from the grocery store. And since this isn't a charcuterie board, many of the meaty options aren't preserved, smoked, or cured (a good option for family-friendly platters or if you're on a budget). Here's our list of what to buy, what to grab from your pantry, and some suggestions on what to make.
Things from Your Pantry or Fridge
Personally, I have all of the following in my fridge right now, which means I'd only need some buns or a batch of biscuits to churn out this snack-board dinner. Check your stash before you head out shopping.
- Cornichons or any other pickled vegetables
- Fully cooked sausages
- Pepperoni (unsliced)
- Bag of frozen meatballs
- Jar roasted red peppers
- Sliced vegetables, such as peppers, radishes, carrots
- Leftover roast chicken
Things to Pick Up from the Grocery Store
Once you arrive at the grocery store, head right to the deli. On your way out, grab some slider buns from the bakery and a few special extras from the olive bar too.
- Rotisserie chicken
- Sliced salami, prosciutto, or ham
- Breadsticks and buns
- Olives or marinated artichokes from the olive bar
Don't Forget the Veggies
To really makes this wholesome and hearty, you have to include veggies. Between bites of roasted chicken, you want something fresh and crunchy. Veggies make it dinner.
- Sliced cucumbers
- Sliced bell peppers
- Carrots, cut into sticks
- Celery, cut into sticks
- Radishes, quartered
- Any pickled vegetables
- Greek yogurt for dipping
- Sweet potatoes, thinly sliced, roasted, and turned into chips for dipping
Things to Make
One thing that sets snack boards apart from cheese boards is the flexibility to include a cooked component. For this heartier snack board, you can toast bread or sear fully cooked sausage. If this board needs to be particularly hearty, you can include roasted potato wedges or a few hard-boiled eggs.
Building Your Snack Board
Heat any frozen meatballs you may be serving first. While the meatballs cook, slice the chicken, any other sausage you might be serving, and the bread. This snack board does double duty as a slider snack board, so slice any bread, buns, or biscuits you have on hand, and include spreaders for mustard. Place pickles in a small bowl for easier access and be sure to include napkins for serving.