MushroomLentil Pâté

by Chef Randy

When I hear the word pâté, I picture a slice of toasted baguette with a modicum of creamy pâté spread on top. Until recently, I hadn’t considered making my own because I thought it had to be made with liver and that it took a lot of prep time.

By using mushrooms, lentils, and fresh garden-grown herbs I came up with a wonderful vegan substitute for traditional pâté. It has a savory flavor difficult to find anywhere and is versatile. I even use it as a filling in my vegetarian banh mi sandwich.

The good news is that it is easy to make and its ingredients are readily found at your local grocery. The really good news is that it is not baked and can be enjoyed after a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Make it in the morning and enjoy it as an appetizer with your favorite dinner. Serve with crackers, hearty fresh-baked bread, or crostini. I also like to offer this with a side of small dill pickles.

12 cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 small sweet onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 cups cooked brown lentils
1 cup toasted pecans (chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon tamari
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary (minced)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (minced)
2 tablespoons fresh sage
3 teaspoons brandy
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and wipe mushroom clean. Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent – about 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they’re soft and cooked through – about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Using a food processor, combine the cooked lentils, nuts, lemon juice, tamari, rosemary, thyme, sage, brandy, brown sugar, vegetable bouillon, and cayenne. Add the mushroom mixture and process until completely smooth. Add pepper to taste.

Scrape pâté into a serving bowl and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm. The spread will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator (but I doubt it will last that long).

Note: One cup of dried lentils will make a little over 2 cups of cooked lentils. I generally use green lentils in my recipes because they tend to retain a firm texture even after cooking. For this recipe, I use brown lentils because I want them to be creamy when blended.

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