This Mexican-themed charcuterie board may at first glance look like a "regular" charcuterie board. If you look a little closer, though, the various components have a decidedly Mexican twist. You'll see homemade tajín, spicy avocado hummus, salsa verde, red chile pecans, Mexican dark chocolate, and more. Enjoy it on the patio on a Sunday evening like we do, or for a Super Bowl party or Cinco de Mayo party!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Charcuterie Boards
Charcuterie boards (aka "platter dinners" at Andersen casa) make a somewhat regular appearance at our house. My husband loves to do them for my birthday, and when we just want to spend extended time on the patio without a lot of work in the kitchen beforehand.
They've typically been global or eclectic in flavor profile, with favorites like gyros, hummus, tapenade, local quality meats and cheeses, fresh fruit, cornichons, crackers or baguette, olives, and dark chocolate. I have never put a charcuterie board together with a Mexican flair, and I love a challenge!
It was the tajín that inspired the other components. This simple spice blend of red chile powder, crystallized lime, and salt brings vibrant Mexican flavor to fresh mango, jicama, melon, cucumber and radishes. From there, you can make it as simple or as elaborate as you want. I include 3 of my favorite salsas, all homemade, from recipes on Beyond Mere Sustenance. Substitute your favorite commercial brands if you prefer. Be sure to check out the "how to make" section for ideas.
🧀 A Mexican-Inspired Charcuterie Board
Use this image for inspiration. It's a "template" rather than a "recipe." The components are keyed below the photo. In the how to section below, I will include alternatives and suggestions.
𝟚 Spanish chorizo
𝟛 tomato bruschetta crackers
𝟜 melon with homemade tajín
𝟠 cocoa almonds
𝟡 candied red chile pecans
𝟙𝟘 mango with homemade tajín
𝟙𝟙 jicama with homemade tajín
𝟙𝟚 tomatillo and green chile salsa (salsa verde)
𝟙𝟛 cucumber with homemade tajín
𝟙𝟝 queso cotija
𝟙𝟠 baked tortilla chips
𝟙𝟡 Mexican cheese ball (see FAQ below)
𝟚𝟘 homemade tajín
📋 How to Make a Mexican-Themed Charcuterie Board
In putting together an appealing charcuterie board, I like to cover all the tastes - salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami. With Mexican flavors, I'd have to include a sixth taste - spicy! Remember: This is a template rather than a recipe!
If you plan to include salsas or hummus, you'll need dippers. On photo day, I chose baked tortilla chips (see FAQ below) and bruschetta style crackers with tomato. They work well with all of the salsas and the spicy avocado hummus. To save time, use good restaurant style tortilla chips rather than baking or air frying them.
Toasted baguette is another good option, and don't forget you can dip the crudité (sliced or whole raw veggies) in the salsas as well.
While I chose cucumbers, radishes, and jicama, don't stop there. I love sweet bell pepper strips and sliced zucchini or yellow squash. Of course carrots, celery, tiny tomatoes, and other more commonly used vegetables are fine as well...
The typical Mexican cheeses are obvious choices if you like them - queso fresco, asadero, queso añejo, cotija, panela, Oaxaca, manchego (Spanish but popular in Mexico). On photo day, I was fortunate to find the Tickler chile and peppers cheese and a red chile coated aged cotija, and both were fantastic with the other components. If you have more basic tastes in cheese, pepper jack and sharp cheddar are just fine.
You may have noticed the cheese ball in the upper left of the tray photo? I created that "on the fly," and it was delicious! I'm hoping to have a recipe for you in the not-too-distant future. It was cream cheese, cotija, scallions, bacon, and minced red jalapeño that was then rolled in crushed red chile pecans. Delicioso!
I would offer one suggestion that many of you will love: Queso. It's not a favorite at Andersen casa, but I know my readers love it. You can make queso or buy it. And, yes, I'm partial to queso with Hatch green chiles!
We usually include prosciutto on a cheese and meat tray. I think the flavor of Spanish chorizo is more appropriate with the other Mexican flavors. Serrano ham would be a nice option. Some Latin markets and local farmers markets have really special cured meat products, so keep your eyes out!
I'm always going to opt for homemade salsas and dips if I have the time. If you type "salsa" in my search bar, you will see both unique and traditional salsa options. On photo day, I included the spicy avocado hummus, the tomatillo and green chile salsa verde, and the black bean and corn salsa. I really wanted to include chamoy, but I didn't get it done.
Not all of you have the time or the desire to start from scratch, and thankfully, there is no shortage of excellent commercial salsas available. Go for a combination of textures and flavors if possible - perhaps a pico de gallo, a smooth cooked chile sauce, and a chipotle mango salsa.
This group includes both fruits and treats. I think both are important on a good charcuterie board. Melon is my "go to" fruit for this purpose. It is so delicious with tajín, wrapped in prosciutto, or just served plain. Mango, beloved by Mexicans, is an obvious choice. My dehydrated mango with tajín features the spice/fruit combination. They are amazing with tajín. That does not mean you can't use grapes, apples, oranges, and more typical fruits. Make it your own.
I live in a 92% Mexican region on the border between Texas and Mexico. I can find many things you cannot. I had Taza Mexican vanilla chocolate, and it was a stellar addition. My local market had cocoa coated almonds, and I did some quick candied pecans with red chile. See FAQ below for easy instructions!
This group includes all the "extras" like pickled jalapeños, olives, pickles, and nuts. Don't box yourself in. Add what you like. We love the pickled jalapeños, and I always have to include olives. I'm particularly fond of dry cured olives. No, they're not "Mexican." However, Mexicans do love olives, and you have permission to use your favorite!
Include what you like. Let Mexican flavors inspire you, but not limit you. Cinnamon, chipotle (and other red chiles), fresh produce, yummy salsas, tasty cheeses, and a variety of dippers will make your charcuterie board unique.
I always have somewhat stale tortillas on hand, and this is a great way to use them. I spray tortillas on both sides with non-stick spray, then cut in wedges. Arrange them in a single layer, and sprinkle them with sea salt. Bake them in a 350° oven until golden brown (12-15 minutes).
I combine softened cream cheese (1 package) with about 3 ounces of grated cotija, 1 minced red or green jalapeño, 3 slices of crisp bacon crumbled, 2 chopped scallions. Roll into a ball. Toast ½ cup pecan bits (crush if whole) until fragrant, then mix with about ½ teaspoon red chile powder and ¼ teaspoon salt. Roll cheese ball to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Add ¼ cup sugar (raw, white, turbinado) to a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Melt. Add a handful of pecan halves. Stir to coat. Pour on to wax paper or foil. Sprinkle with red chile powder and sea salt while very hot.
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