Make mealtimes, special occasions, and holidays extra memorable with these 50 delicious, inspiring, family-friendly, and easy-to-recreate snack boards, writes Maegan Brown.
Build-your-own taco board
Now this is taco night, done right! What better way to bring people together than with a big board covered in colorful fillings for each person to fix their own tacos? With flour tortillas, hard shells, beef, chicken, shrimp, and an amazing selection of vegetables and fillings, there is truly something for everyone. And you can't have a taco bar without margaritas, so that's excuse enough to make this board. Taco 'bout fun and yum!
450g beef mince
1 pack taco seasoning, 28g
450g boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
1 pack chicken taco seasoning, 28g
30ml cooking oil of choice, divided
450g mini prawns, peeled and deveined
1 pack prawn taco seasoning, 28g
1/2 red capsicum, thinly sliced and sautéed
1/2 orange capsicum, thinly sliced and sautéed
1/2 yellow capsicum, thinly sliced and sautéed
10 street taco-size flour tortillas
40g shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese
40g crumbled cotija or queso fresco cheese
5g chopped fresh coriander
240g pico de gallo
140g canned Mexican corn blend, drained
50g chopped red onion
80g sour cream
12 small taco shells
5 butter lettuce cups
90g chopped purple cabbage
1 large jalapeo, thinly sliced
1 large lime, cut into wedges
360g refried beans
1. To make the minced beef, brown the meat in a large pan over medium-high heat. Drain the fat, stir in the taco seasoning, and follow any additional instructions on the package.
2. To make the chicken tenders, toss the chicken in the chicken taco seasoning. Heat 15ml of the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for three to five minutes per side, or until completely cooked through and no longer pink. Chop up the cooked chicken.
3. To make the prawns, toss the prawns in the taco seasoning. Heat the remaining 15 ml oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the prawns to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for three to four minutes, or just until the prawns turn pink.
4. Keep the cooked beef, chicken, shrimp, and capsicum warm in a low oven until ready to serve.
5. Wrap the flour tortillas in foil and place in the oven to warm while you assemble the board.
6. Place four medium serving bowls on the board for the refried beans, beef, chicken, and shrimp. You will fill these bowls with the warm foods just before serving the board.
7. Put the guacamole, shredded cheese, cotija crumbles, chopped coriander, pico de gallo, Mexican corn, chopped red onion, salsa, and sour cream in serving bowls and place the bowls across the board.
8. Fan the taco shells down the middle of the board.
9. Place the lettuce cups, chopped cabbage, sliced jalapeo, and lime wedges in open spaces on the board.
10. Heat the refried beans and spoon them into one of the empty serving bowls already on the board or heat them directly in the serving bowl if it's microwave or oven safe.
11. Place the warm sautéed capsicum on the board, then fill the remaining empty serving bowls on the board with the beef, chicken, and prawns.
12. Arrange the warm flour tortillas around the top of the board near the refried beans.
Serves 8-10 people.
Use a 51 x 38cm board.
Build-your-own parfait board
This board couldn't be easier to build and is quite possibly one of the most requested by my kids. Even my oldest, who claims he doesn't like yogurt or fruit, will eat several bowls of healthy parfait creations when I serve this board. He just gets into the action with everyone else, and it's amazing how much he loves it. And that example is exactly why we eat this way! Whether for an easy family breakfast on a Sunday morning or part of a brunch party with friends, this parfait board is sure to please even the pickiest of palates.
360g plain Greek yogurt
360g strawberry Greek yogurt
360g blueberry Greek yogurt
80ml honey with honeycomb
25g pomegranate seeds
40g Grape-Nuts cereal
27g slivered almonds
25g cacao nibs
25g multiseed ancient grains blend
60g peanut butter or almond butter
8 strawberries, with some sliced and some cut in half
1 banana, peeled and sliced
150g fruit and nut granola
150g granola clusters
150g chocolate almond granola
20g toasted coconut chips
60g chopped dried fruit
1. Place the yogurts in large 480ml Mason jars on three different areas of the board.
2. Put the honey with honeycomb in a serving bowl and place the bowl on the board.
3. Put the pomegranate seeds, Grape-Nuts, slivered almonds, cacao nibs, ancient grains blend, and peanut butter in small serving bowls and place the bowls across the board.
4. Add the berries and sliced banana to the board, followed by the granolas. Fill in any gaps with the toasted coconut chips and chopped dried fruit.
Use a 46 x 28cm board.
Charcuterie and cheese board
Nothing elevates a gathering more than a beautifully presented charcuterie and cheese board. It's pretty much a given that if you walk into our house for a dinner party, you will be greeted by a big board covered in a delicious assortment of meats, cheeses, and nibbles that are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. It's our favorite way to entertain and is a guaranteed way to impress our guests without a lot of stress. It allows us the opportunity to greet our guests and get the party started right away. This board can be made as an appetizer or the main event. Quantities truly depend on what course the board is being served for and how many you're serving. One thing I always make sure to do is encourage our guests to dig right in so they're not intimidated by it. I love how guests can create all sorts of combinations to keep the experience unique and entertaining. The only rule is to enjoy!
30g fig jam
30g strawberry preserves
30g apricot preserves
22g whole-grain seeded mustard
5cm portion of honeycomb with honey
35g mixed olives
230g aged white cheddar
230g aged Gouda
140g triple crème cheese
140g blue Stilton cheese
12 slices coppa
10 slices prosciutto
10 slices piccante salami
10 slices Bavarian salami
4 slices mortadella
1 large bunch red grapes
1 large bunch green grapes
10 whole-grain crackers
15 seeded crackers
15 fruit and nut crackers or crisps
10 salted crackers
40g Marcona almonds
40g candied pecans
40g sesame honey cashews
65g dried apricots
30g dried cherries
5 dried orange slices
1/2 pear, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow apple, thinly sliced
1/2 red apple, thinly sliced
3 fresh figs, cut in half
1. Put the fig jam, strawberry preserves, apricot preserves, mustard, honeycomb with honey, and mixed olives into small serving bowls and place the bowls across the board. Arrange the cheeses on the board.
2. Arrange the meats on the board, followed by the red and green grape bunches.
3. Fan the crackers around a few of the serving bowls, around a cheese wedge, and in little stacks across the board.
4. Fill in the gaps with the nuts, dried fruits, cornichons, pear slices, apple slices, and figs. It's perfectly fine for items to touch each other and overlap.
Serves 6-8 people.
Use a 76 x 38cm board.
Fruit and dips board
This breathtaking board of beautiful fresh fruits with a variety of dips to accompany them makes for a stunning addition to any brunch, shower, or summer soirée. It's so gorgeous to look at and even better to graze on. This board proves that offering healthy options when entertaining doesn't have to be boring.
1 whole pineapple
125g raspberries, divided
225g blueberries, divided
225g blackberries, divided
360g chocolate pudding
180ml caramel dip
360g plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
180g mixed berry whipped cream cheese
150g chunky granola
300g red grapes, in bunches
300g green grapes, in bunches
2 medium oranges, sliced into wedges
12 small watermelon wedges, with rinds
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
2 kiwi, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium starfruit, sliced
15 whole strawberries
1 red apple, thinly sliced
150g fresh whole cherries, with stems
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1. Vertically slice the pineapple in half, keeping the stem on one half. Hollow out the half with the stem to be used as a bowl. Reserve the pineapple flesh. Place the pineapple bowl in the center of the board.
2. Cut the reserved pineapple flesh into chunks. Mix the pineapple chunks with 40g of the raspberries, 30g of the blueberries, and 40g of the blackberries. Put the pineapple and berry fruit mixture into the hollowed-out pineapple bowl.
3. Put the chocolate pudding, caramel dip, yogurt, cream cheese, and granola in small serving bowls and place the bowls across the board.
4. Arrange the grape bunches on the board, followed by the orange slices, watermelon wedges, and sliced mango.
5. Fan the kiwi slices around the yogurt bowl, the starfruit around the cream cheese bowl, the strawberries around the chocolate pudding bowl, and the apple slices around the caramel dip bowl.
6. Place the cherries near the top of the pineapple stem and the banana slices next to the cherries.
7. Fill in the gaps on the board with the remaining 85g raspberries, 195g blueberries, and 185g blackberries.
Serves 12+ people.
Use a 51cm round board.
Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any Occasion, by Maegan Brown. Murdoch books, $24.99.