There is a terrific vegetarian pâté – Bonavita – that I like to buy if we’re going on a trip. It’s especially nice for snacks on a plane flight, because it doesn’t smell strong and it keeps for a couple of hours after you open it. When my son was small, he loved it so much that he could eat a whole can by himself at a sitting. But at almost $6 for a 4.4 ounce can, it’s expensive.
I made it my goal to find a homemade pâté that we like just as much. At first I tried recipes that had the same ingredients as the commercial pâté, but then I came across this one on the internet, originally from Louis Lanza’s Totally Dairy Free Cooking. It turned out to be the best one of the bunch. The recipe welcomes substitutions; I usually use the inexpensive brown lentils, but French du puy lentils work, as do the red ones (just cook those less). The lemon juice was originally ume plum paste, so use that or ume vinegar if you have some, but lemon juice is fine, too. The only ingredient you don’t want to substitute for is the fresh basil. The pâté also freezes well and is a great addition to a holiday menu.I am entering this in House Favorites: Vegan, and My Legume Love Affair, hosted this month by Suma at Veggie Platter. I am also linking it up with the Hearth ‘n’ Soul blog hop.
Walnut Lentil Pâté
1 cup lentils
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 shallot, diced, 2 or 3 tablespoons
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup loosely-packed fresh basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons miso
3 tablespoons olive oil
Bring lentils, water and bay leaf to a low boil in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the water.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Toss mushroom slices and diced shallot with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet for 15 minutes.
Spread walnuts on another baking pan and toast for 5 minutes.
In a food processor, combine lentils, mushroom mixture, walnuts, basil, lemon juice, miso and olive oil. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add some of the lentil cooking water if the mixture becomes too thick. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.