Father’s Day dinner ideas often focus on the grill. Looking for something cooler for the warm summer months, Katherine and I created Dairy-Free Father’s Day Vesper Boards. This German variation on bread or cheese boards is usually served without cheese! Vesper boards were originally served as between-meal snacks, but they are hearty enough to serve as a main course.
Dairy-Free Vesper Boards are a Delicious Alternative to Cheese Boards
I first learned about vesper boards from Claire Lower at Skillet. They’ve also been featured on Treehugger as a dinner option and Goop as “the new cheese plate.”
A vesper board isn’t that different from a bread board or a cheese board. They simply focus more on foods other than cheeses. Vesper boards are the perfect way to feature a variety of fancy dairy-free foods–or the perfect way to use up odds and ends from the kitchen. Vesper boards can easily be made vegan or vegetarian depending on what you put on them. Children who want to help with dad’s special dinner can help choose the foods at the store and help assemble everyone’s individual vesper board.
For a fun Father’s Day gift, give Dad a gift basket full of his favorite dairy-free appetizers along with a set of vesper boards. Or, if Dad would enjoy a project to work on with the kids, Catherine Newman has directions for making your own pine boards. Give him the supplies and directions along with the basket of dairy-free foods to serve on it.
Vesper boards can include whatever sounds good to you and your family. The bamboo Pampered Chef board pictured here has grapes, baguette slices, hard-boiled egg slices, hummus, marinated artichoke hearts, and almonds. And I’ve included several food options in the recipe below. Keep in mind that you can choose whatever you want from the list, or add other options, to suit your family’s dietary needs.
Special Diet Notes: Vesper Boards
By ingredients, this concept is dairy-free / non-dairy, but you can make it egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegan, and/or vegetarian if you wish!
- Dairy-free baguette slices
- Dairy-free whole grain crackers
- Pickled vegetables
- Fancy olives (like kalamatas)
- Marinated mushrooms
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Dairy-free stuffed grape leaves (aka dolmas)
- Toasted seeds
- Fresh seasonal fruit, such as grapes, stone fruits, berries, apples, or pears
- Dried fruits
- Fancy jelly (sweet or spicy, like pepper jelly)
- Hard-boiled, pickled, or soy sauce eggs
- Dairy-free charcuterie
- Sardines or other small tinned fish
- Choose a variety of ingredients from the list above.
- Add any other foods you can think of.
- Place small servings of each item on individual vesper boards.
- Use small dishes on the boards to hold some of the foods, if desired.
- Serve with small utensils for spreading and eating.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.