Let me be honest. I have spent years avoiding making Thanksgiving dinner. Pandemic or not, my boyfriend and me often eat this Thanksgiving Grazing Board instead of a full meal. It’s festive and easy, and all my favorite foods are on one tray. And it goes well with wine and a relaxing day. It’s so much simpler than eating a whole meal.
A Thanksgiving grazing board can be a great choice, whether you want to skip the main meal or keep your guests busy while preparing the big meal.
WHAT IS ON A GRAZING BOARD
When building a grazing platter, I prefer to include items from the following categories: meat, cheeses, fruits, loaves of bread, dips or spreads and nuts. This allows you to have a great mix of sweet, salty and crunchy, creamy and acidic, and a variety of flavors that can be mixed into countless delicious dishes. My heaven is what I thought I had just described.
Garnishes are always nice, especially if you want your food to look beautiful. Food that looks beautiful is always more enjoyable.
CHOICES FOR THANKSGIVING GRAZING BOARDS
Each of the categories that I have listed will be listed. I’ll also list alternate ideas that keep in the Thanksgiving/fall theme so that you can build your board.
Meat: I used salami Medallions and sliced roasted turkey. You can also try peppered salami or prosciutto with honey ham, genoa saltami, and soppressata.
Cheese: I added brie and aged cheddar to my Thanksgiving Grazing Board. It is important to include a variety of textures and flavors. These are other cheese options. Try not to pick two from the same category.
- Creamy: Chevre, Camembert, Burrata
- Parmesan, Manchego and Pecorino are hard to find.
- Slicing cheeses: Cheddar, Provolone, Havarti, Swiss
- Blue: Roquefort and Stilton, Blue
Fruit: I used grapes, pears and dried apricots to fill the gaps. You could also try figs, apples, and pomegranates that are fall-inspired.
Bread: I used a variety (from various packages) of crackers to create different shapes and textures. Because there was not enough space for large pieces of bread, I also cut up a baguette to serve as a side dish. For your grazing board, you can use any cracker or sliced bread.
Dips & Spreads: I used whole-berry Cranberry Sauce, honey, and Dijon Mustard. You can also make fall-inspired spreads with whole grain mustard, spicy honey, pumpkin butter, and apple butter.
I used some pecan halves from my pantry to fill in the gaps. But candied walnuts, nuts or pecans would be nice festive touches.
Pickled Vegetables Although I didn’t have enough room, pickled vegetables offer a nice contrast to the other items, so I always try to include at most one. I prefer sweet mini gherkins for the Thanksgiving Grazing Board’s flavor profile, but a classic oil is always a good choice.
I used a few mini pumpkins, and rosemary stems as my garnish because I had them both. Fake or fresh sunflowers, leaves or fake pinecones are another fun option.
How to SAVE MONEY ON GRAZING BOARDS
It is easy to spend too much on meats, cheeses and specialty ingredients. Here are my tips to help you keep your expenses in check.
- Limit yourself to just one or two items per category. Your board will run out of space faster than you think.
- You might already have shelf-stable items in your pantry and fridge: nuts, honey, mustard, jam, jelly, etc.
- Instead of buying multiple boxes of single crackers, buy a variety pack. Crackers are often strangely costly, IMHO.
- Look for a discount section in your local grocer’s grocery store. When they reach their sell-by dates, many deli departments will offer discounts on pre-sliced meats, cheeses, and specialty cheeses. Ask if you don’t see the discount section. This method can help you save significant money. However, it is important to make sure that the items are purchased no more than 1-2 business days before your plan to serve your grazing board.
- Use a baking sheet as your “board” (link to my shop). It’s unlikely anyone will see the beauty in all those cheeses. Haha! Put a piece of parchment paper on top of your baking sheets if they are starting to look a bit worse.
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF A THANKSGIVING GRAZING BOARD?
The board cost me $27.54, and I have leftovers of almost all the ingredients. This board and all the leftovers were what I ate for the entire week. Below is a breakdown of what I bought and what I had in my pantry:
- Salami $3.99
- Turkey cuts $2.99
- Brie $2.99
- Smoked cheddar $3.49
- Aged gouda, $3.69
- Grapes $3.53
- Pears $1.59
- Cranberry sauce $0.89
- Crackers $2.89
- Baguette $1.49