If you’ve had pâté before, the animal kind, and enjoyed it – then you will most likely be a fan of this vegan version. As you may know if you eat lentils, they almost mimic meat in that they are protein rich and super filling. While the flavors in this create a pâté that is unique, it is remarkably reminiscent of it’s animal-based counterparts.
If you’re skeptical, I don’t blame you. There are a bunch of less common, perhaps even intimidating, ingredients in this recipe. Finding Umeboshi paste (plum paste) took a trip to the local Asian Supermarket where I could not find it, a trip to my local health food store where it was too expensive for my wallet and finally a trip to Whole Foods where I splurged on it because I had a gift certificate. The Mirin (sweet cooking sauce) and Miso I picked up at the Asian Supermarket for quite a bit less than the regular supermarket/health food store. The French lentils I picked up in the bulk bins at Whole Foods and they were even cheaper at my local health food store. So all in all, it’s not a cheap dish but you’ll only be using a bit of the more expensive ingredients so you can make it many times (and I suspect after one taste you will want to) over.
If it’s the actual idea that this is pâté that makes you reluctant, perhaps you are vegan, don’t let that deter you. It doesn’t taste “meaty” by any means, it is reminiscent of pâté in that it has great depth of flavors.
Vegan Lentil Pâté
from Bojon Gourmet
- 3/4 c dried green lentils (sometimes called “French lentils”)
- 3 c water
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 T olive oil, divided
- 1 med yellow onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 T Mirin
- 1 1/4 c walnuts (I used a combination of walnuts, pecans and cashews – what I had on hand), toasted in oven at 350 for 10 minutes and cooled
- 1 T fresh thyme, chopped
- 3 T miso (I used the yellow/brown variety)
- 1 1/2 T Umeboshi paste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil for drizzling
Add water, lentils and bay leaf to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil then cover partially and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes until lentils are tender but not mushy. Stir occasionally to ensure lentils don’t stick to bottom of pan. When lentils are done, drain and allow to cool completely. I suggest putting them in the refrigerator, spread on a plate, to speed up the process.
While lentils are cooking, add 2 T olive oil to another pan heated over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until onions are golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the Mirin and remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely, I put mine in the refrigerator to speed this up.
Add the toasted and cooled nuts to the food processor and process until they have become the consistency of nut butter. Add the lentils and onion-garlic mixture and process until smooth. Add in the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
Drizzle with olive oil and additional fresh herbs for serving. I served mine with a baguette cut into thin slices.