For the holiday season, instead of the traditional French pâté de foie gras, I will be serving this plant-based version, which I came up with a few weeks ago (after several trials). With less saturated fat than the traditional pâté made from duck or goose liver, this walnut hemp lentil pâté is completely heart-healthy.
Made with brown lentils, celeriac root, hemp hearts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms and carrot, a few slices will give you a wealth of protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins. Made with natural raw ingredients, you and your guests will not be deceived.
Eating plant-based is not only important for your health but also for the environment. However, when it comes to the production of foie gras, it is unethical, cruel and it violates animal welfare. Consuming it also poses a public health risk. Because of the high level of abuse and neglect of the caged birds, their immune systems weaken, making them more susceptible to diseases such as avian influenza (bird flu) – a virus that can affect humans.
Foie gras has been banned in the UK, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Turkey, and Israel. In the USA, it’s been banned in the state of California and in New York City. It is also illegal to sell and import it in India. It has also been banned in my household. You will never see foie gras on my dinner table.
Below is a step-by-step procedure of the recipe with lots of pictures. Making it is straightforward.
Walnut hemp lentil pâté
- 3/4 cup dry brown lentils (makes 2 cups cooked)
- 1/2 cup hemp hearts
- 2 cups brown cremini mushrooms (160 gr), chopped about the same size as the walnuts
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 1/4 cup shelled and raw sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 2 medium or 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup tightly packed grated celeriac root, outer peel sliced off
- 1 cup tightly packed grated carrot
- 2-3 garlic cloves, grated
- Herbs & spices: 1 teaspoon (tsp) paprika, 1 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp thyme, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Salt & ground pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons (tbsp) golden flax meal *see note
- 3 tbsps tomato paste
- 1 tbsp soya sauce
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsps tomato paste
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
*Note: For the flax or linseed meal: You can grind the seeds yourself with a small grinder or buy them pre-ground in stores. I recommend the golden type of flax (linseeds)—the flavour is milder than the brown.
Oven: 180°C / 350°F
- 1 loaf pan lightly greased or sprayed with olive oil and lined with parchment.
- The parchment paper should extend beyond the sides of the pan.
- A food processor
1. In a small pot on stove top, bring 11/2 cups salted water to the boil (can add a bouillon cube for taste). Add the dry lentils and simmer on medium-low heat with lid half on, stirring occasionally for 20-22 minutes. When lentils are soft, drain and discard the hot water and transfer the cooked lentils into your food processor bowl. Pulse several times in increments of a few seconds —stopping and starting— until lentils are half-mashed. Do not process into a paste.
2. Then transfer lentils into a big bowl and add the hemp hearts. Mix with a spoon to fluff things up. Set aside.
3. Chop the mushrooms about the same size as the walnuts.
4. Transfer the walnuts, sunflower seeds and chopped mushrooms into your food processor bowl and pulse in increments of a few seconds until they are finely chopped with small chunks throughout. It should not turn into paste, so processing is a matter of seconds. Set aside.
5. On stove top, heat up 2 tbsps of olive oil in a large skillet on medium high. Adjust or lower the heat and add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes until soft and imbedded with the oil.
6. Add the grated celeriac and carrot, herbs and spices. DO NOT ADD SALT AT THIS STAGE. Sauté for another 2 minutes.
7. Add the walnut, sunflower seeds and mushroom mixture and mix. DO NOT add salt right now — because your mushrooms will not be good. Sauté/cook uncovered on medium heat for 10 minutes, tossing frequently to ensure even cooking. The mixture needs to cook through and excess water has to evaporate.
8. Transfer the cooked stove-top mixture into the lentil mixture and toss well with a big spoon.
9. Whisk together the spicy sauce ingredients in a small bowl and add it to the lentil-veggie mixture. Mix with a big spoon. Add the flax meal and mix. Add salt and pepper. Mix. Set aside for 10 minutes to thicken.
10. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the 3 glaze ingredients.
11. When the lentil mixture has thickened, mix it again with spoon then with clean hands, gather it in handfuls and squeeze it here and there and everywhere. The mixture should feel moist, textured and bind easily when squeezed.
12. Transfer into a greased loaf pan lined with parchment. Make sure the parchment extends beyond the sides of the pan (as shown below) for lifting the cooked pâté later. Pat down mixture tightly and evenly into the pan.
13. Spread the glaze on the top.
14. Bake on middle rack in pre-heated oven (at 180°C / 350°F) for 1 hour until the sides look charred and crispy.
15. Remove from oven and place on a wired rack to cool completely at room temperature. Then cover with foil and chill in freezer for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for a few hours to set properly or until ready to serve (it has to chill). I like to serve it the next day.
Lift the pâté loaf using the parchment and place it on a serving dish or wooden board.
Slice and serve with cranberry sauce or other condiments. Individual slices can also be heated up in microwave or in the oven loosely covered with foil.
Refrigerate left overs in a sealed container or a loaf pan covered with foil. Tastes great the next day or the day after or after that. Can be made ahead of time and kept stored in freezer until ready to consume. Let thaw at room temperature.
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