Forget cheese and crackers. Snack boards are the Instagram sensation for holiday bashes, football parties, even kids’ playdates. Learn how to make one that will impress your guests!
It’ll make creating the board feel less overwhelming. Catherine McCord, founder of Weelicious.com, recently put together a swoon-worthy red, green, and white board for the holidays while Alison Wu of Wuhaus.com designed a rainbow board. You could model your board after the color scheme of your bash—for instance, a board for a baby shower might be mostly pinkish or a Super Bowl party could focus on the team’s colors. Or be spontaneous, limiting the board to whatever looked the yummiest at the farmers' market that day or even whatever you have in the fridge that needs to be used up.
(Slash your cholesterol, burn stubborn belly fat, solve your insomnia, and more—naturally!—with Rodale's Eat For Extraordinary Health & Healing!)
Think out of the box: Some of the prettiest boards on Instagram include homemade fruit leather, cracker sticks, red pepper jelly, veggie puffs, edible flowers, broken-up dark chocolate bars, beef jerky, or beet chips. Aim for a combination of sweet and salty flavors. In addition to party platter favorites (carrots, Brie, salami), plan on including at least two unexpected items. Choose at least 10 items overall for your first time—some of the elaborate boards contain more than 25.
Watch how to make your own 2-ingredient fruit leather:
Spin through your kitchen cabinets for the largest wooden cutting board or pizza/baking stone you have. Use that for your first snack board; or if you think it’s too small, put a few boards together. Also pull out a few fun small bowls. (These are the 7 most sustainable wooden bowls you can buy.) Their purpose: for dips or to contain tiny items, like sunflower seeds, pickles, olives, mini mozzarella balls, or dried fruit.
You could roast some of your veggies for the platter, or everything could be raw—it’s totally up to you. Make a batch of dip, or use a healthy store-bought hummus or guac. McCord sometimes adds kid-friendly “sushi” spirals; flattening whole-wheat bread with a rolling pin and then spreading on cream cheese and olive tapenade. She rolls it up and slices into sushi-size pieces. Everything that’s on your platter should be bite-size, easy to eat, and fun-looking—so peel your oranges and break into wedges, pit and score your avocado, use a melon baller for your cantaloupe, make bell pepper rings, and even consider creating fruit or veggie kebobs.
Find a spot for the largest items you have, whether it’s a mango, avocado, pizza-shaped slices of watermelon, or a hunk of Brie. Then decide where to put the bowls, scattering them around your board.
As you’re figuring out what to add next, focus on placing darker foods (dates, for example) against lighter foods (say, yellow squash) for the most visual appeal. Also try to keep together items that might be eaten together. For instance, put the soft-spreadable cheese next to the fan-out crackers. And go big, covering the entire board!