5 Things to Pair with Cheese for Your Afternoon Snack

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

You know the feeling well: It’s the middle of the afternoon on a work day, or that time just before you start to make dinner, and you need a little boost. If you’re like me, you’re reaching straight for some cheese. With the right balance of protein and fat, a few slices are just what I need to tide me over. And of course, the only thing better than cheese on its own is when it’s paired with something else.

Cheese and crackers are a pair that will never get old, but sometimes it’s nice to change things up. Instead, match your favorite cheese with something fresher, sweeter, or saltier.

1. Fresh and Dried Fruit

Fruit and cheese is the kind of ideal pairing that lends itself to such a huge amount of options. The sweetness of fruit, whether it’s fresh or dried, is such a nice balance with rich and creamy cheese.

Try These Combos!

  • Sliced peaches and Gruyère
  • Dried dates and blue cheese
  • Sliced apples and sharp cheddar
  • Berries and brie

2. Meats

Meat and cheese are a protein-filled combo that always hits the spot. This goes for sliced deli and cured meats, as well as the leftover piece of chicken or steak that’s sitting in the fridge.

Try These Combos!

  • Proscuitto and Parmesan
  • Deli ham and aged Gruyère
  • Pepperoni and fontina
  • Chicken breast and smoked Gouda
  • Steak and Manchego

3. Olives

Briny olives are a nice match for creamy cheese. Eat them side by side, or load them on a skewer for a snack kabob.

Try These Combos!

  • Kalamata olives and cubed feta
  • Black olives and pepper jack
  • Green olives and provolone

4. Granola

At first glance, granola and cheese seem like an unlikely match. But granola actually has a lot of qualities, like its crunchy texture and sweet, nutty flavor, that really make it work. Give it a chance and you’ll see just how amazing it is.

Try These Combos!

  • Swirl your favorite granola into a little mascarpone
  • Top a round of soft goat cheese with granola
  • Pair granola with nutty Gouda or Manchego

5. Veggies

For a fresh pick-me-up, stack a semi-soft or firm cheese between sliced veggies, or spread a layer of creamy cheese over top.

Try These Combos!

  • Sliced cucumbers and Swiss
  • Radishes and Havarti
  • Tomatoes and ricotta with a sprinkle of salt
  • Endive and gorgonzola