Vegan Lentil Pate

I will admit, I held out on you last week.

Lentil Pate Banh Mi // The Pancake Princess

There is a part two to the great vegetarian banh mi story and its name is vegan pate. We’ll skip past the part where I talk about despite this being made out of lentils it totally tastes like pate because, well, the truth is that I’ve never had pate. Never had the desire to eat meat ground into a paste, probably never will. So yes, we’re skipping that part.

Lentil Pate Banh Mi // The Pancake Princess

Lentil Pate Banh Mi // The Pancake Princess

Lentil Pate Banh Mi // The Pancake Princess

But it’s just kind of fun to call this pate because authentic Vietnamese banh mi call for pate and so now we can eat authentic-ish vegan banh mi!

A lot of vegan pate recipes call for some kind of nut toasted + ground to add richness and body where meat would otherwise fill the void. Well, I made this at 9 p.m. one night after several other recipes and I was sweaty and not about to grind up my own walnut butter AND sauté aromatics AND boil lentils separately AND puree everything altogether. So I just added a smidgen of almond butter to my trusty Blendtec along with a hodge-podge of lentils and herbs and hoped for the best.

Lentil Pate Banh Mi // The Pancake Princess

Lentil Pate Banh Mi // The Pancake Princess

To be honest, a lot of the recipes I wing don’t turn out. But this one was like jump-up-and-down, have-to-share good. Because this is SO easy to throw together. Yes, the ingredients read like a list of the most unlikely combinations—miso and tarragon? Champagne wine vinegar and almond butter? BUT they do in fact combine* to make the most complexly flavored lentil mush I’ve ever eaten (oh yum). The flavors are just…

…well, you will never want to stop eating lentils. Especially slathered on a toasted pretzel roll topped with pickled vegetables, chewy tofu, crunchy peppers and fresh herbs. We are talking vegetarian sandwich NIRVANA, people.

*But really, if you try this, make sure you have all the ingredients because you do NOT want to miss out on this flavor bomb. (I got the tarragon, bay leaf and thyme from the bulk spice section of my grocery store for about .10 cents). 

Lentil Pate

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

This lentil-based spread features an addictive balance of flavors--sweetness from the tarragon, unami from the miso paste and acid from the vinegar. Many vegetarian pates call for ground nuts to add richness and body, but I skipped straight to adding almond butter for easy blending. Let it sit overnight for a more developed flavor. I used it as a sandwich spread, but I could also see this as a very thick dip.

Ingredients

  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • ½ tablespoon champagne wine vinegar (alternatively: white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
  • dash of pepper

Instructions

Heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for about 6 minutes, or until soft. Add the lentils, bay leaf, water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and let cook for 20-25 minutes.

Once lentils are soft (i.e. you can smush them with a spoon), remove pot from heat. Remove the bay leaf and add lentil mixture to a blender (let cool if necessary—I do not recommend blending very hot substances under any circumstances).

Add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Mixture should be very thick, but blendable. Add a tablespoon or two of water or olive oil if you’re having trouble blending it.

For tips on assembling a full vegetarian banh mi, check out this post.

Notes

With inspiration from here and here.

http://www.thepancakeprincess.com/2014/03/20/vegan-lentil-pate/

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39 thoughts on “Vegan Lentil Pate

  1. LadyGodiva

    Tried this today – made half the batch exactly to your recipe, and half with Marmite and nooch in place of the Miso… I think I prefer your recipe, as the miso works beautifully (though your recommended white would be better than the dark miso which is the only decent stuff I can get atm!), but both are really lovely. I think I needed to steam off more of the water, as mine wasn’t as firm as I was expecting (from the recipe and your lovely pics), but it was fine: this is a great recipe, a lovely way to eat lentils, and disturbingly like how I remember (from my childhood) meat pate tasting like, lol! Thank you for the great share: I’m going to make it all the time – MUCH nicer and better for me than shop-bought vegan pates, and I can experiment with herbs and stuff in it too :o)

    Reply
  2. Agata

    This is the most amazing and the easiest vegan pate ever!!!I
    When I did it first time I followed the recipe and it was heaven!
    However, just made it again and added good handful of mushrooms and half of red chilli (fried them with onions and garlic), added dark miso instead of a light one and added some ground sunflower seeds… It’s still warm but it’s almost gone :-) The beast thing ever! And even the meat eaters couldn’t resist it! :-)
    Thank you so much for this recipe!

    And I have made pickled vegetables. It was supposed to be the same as for your vegetarian banh mi, but they don’t sell daikon in supermarkets here so I have replaced it with beetroot and added some grated ginger to the vinegar mixture… It really is amazing! 😉

    Reply
  3. Shelley

    This recipe is a triumph! I did make some modifications, though. Since my daughter has a tree nut allergy, I swapped out the almond butter for coconut butter and ground pumpkin seeds. As I didn’t have white miso paste, I used brown miso paste instead and I also substituted 1/2 of a cup of the water for red wine to try and emulate the wine-flavoured pates I used to love before going vegan. Finally, I threw in a good tablespoon of powdered garlic before blending everything together at the end as I am a bit of a garlic but. The result is amazing, and I’m sure will be even better once it fully cools (we couldn’t wait and ate half out of the blender). Fantastic way to boost your iron intake also! Thank you SO much for this!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Shelley, thanks so much for reporting back with your modifications!! Sounds delicious, and so glad you enjoyed! I might have to go make another batch now; you’ve awoken the cravings… :)

      Reply
  4. Victoria

    Hi!! I just wanted to tell you the changes I had to make in case some other people find out they are short in the ingredients as I was! I swaped the miso for some marmite as I didn’t have miso! I also skipped the tarragon and increased the thyme instead! I don’t know how yours is, but mine turned out amazing! Thanks sommuch!!! :)

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Thanks so much for reporting back, Victoria! Those changes sound perfect since I think marmite is also a great source of complex salty flavor :) So glad you liked it!

      Reply
  5. Julia@Vikalinka

    I am kinda dumbfounded that I never visited your site before because I love absolutely everything I see here. As far as pate goes, I am a regular pate eater, the fatty kind, not so good for me but I can’t help it. They also sell asparagus pate and mushroom pate where I live which is a bit better I guess. Your version sounds so lovely! I can’t wait to try. Honestly, I will.

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Aww thanks so much Julia! 😀 Asparagus and mushroom pate…I’m intrigued. I wish I knew what actual pate tastes like so I could legitimately compare this to it! Alas…I do not. Thanks so much for your sweet comments–I’m so glad I got to discover your blog because it’s GORGEOUS!!!

      Reply
  6. steph

    Okay, I know pate sounds gross, but it’s actually quite delicious! But….this lentil pate looks awesome too! Maybe you’ll be the one to convert me to the veggie side (gasp!)

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Thanks Amy! :) I’m so curious about your story–what are you doing in Japan? I just peeked at your about page and it says you’re living and working there…do you work in fashion?? How long are you there for? It sounds so awesome!

      Reply
  7. Valerie

    Splendid – everything, all ’round! Isn’t prolific the way polar opposite ingredients can fuse together to create something glowingly lovely. (I think food offers sustenance to both body and mind.)

    Gorge photos!!

    I’m not too keen on pâté; you’re not missing anything. :)

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Yes!! SO eloquently said. Thank you so much Valerie! :) And so glad to know I’m not missing out…it looks fairly luxurious, but the ingredients never really called to me :3

      Reply
  8. Katie (The Muffin Myth)

    Daaaaang girl, this looks good! I have a pretty bonkers spice collection, but oddly enough tarragon isn’t a part of it. I’ll definitely have to change that! So obviously I had to look up the Swedish word for tarragon, and how rad is this: it’s dragon.

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oh man that is AWESOME. I only had tarragon in a teensy little spice bag from when I tried some eggplant dish ages ago, but now it’s definitely an herb I want to cook with more–that name! :)

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oh good. I wish I could say it tastes better too butttt…I have no idea hahaha. And you have no idea how happy I was that this worked too!!

      Reply
  9. Nora (A Clean Bake)

    Not only am I going to make the heck out of this, I am also going to pass this on to my dad, who is a vegetarian and would love this! I have been to not one but two duck farms (aka pate factories) and I cannot bring myself to eat the stuff after seeing the little ducks happily waddling around. The ducks thank you!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Woo!!! Yay for your dad; I don’t meet many dad vegetarians :) OH MY GOSH PATE FACTORIES?!? AHHHH. That visual makes me so glad I don’t eat ducks. Or meat. Haha. I hope you and your dad enjoy!!

      Reply
  10. Choc Chip Uru

    You have me in your grips my friend, I am so jealous when everyone around me is eating pate and I am sitting there with my hummus!
    Lovely ingredients, thank you so much!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    Reply
  11. laurasmess

    Your description of this spiced lentil mush sounds absolutely heavenly. I am actually sitting here salivating as I stare at those very convincing pate photos (it actually does look like meat pate, except for the absence of meat jelly or a butter layer on the top!). Oh my gosh. Want. I am definitely going to try this for the full vego banh mi experience… I like the meat version so I can imagine that I’ll go giddy knowing that the vego one is actually good for me too! Yay yay yay, thanks awesome woman! You are the BEST at gloriously snacky, delicious vegan/vego food! xx

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oh yay!!!! I’m so glad to hear from someone who would know that this DOES sort of resemble pate. But meat jelly? Butter layer? You’re speaking foreign words to me…must go google. Are those things that are traditionally served with/on/included in pate? Also, how do you usually eat pate? Is it just served as a spread normally? I am so out of touch with the meat world! Thanks for your lovely comment, as always :)

      Reply
      1. laurasmess

        Haha… okay, let’s start from scratch. Non-vegan pate is made from liver, seasoned with lots of butter, stock and herbs. It’s normally topped with meat jelly (called ‘aspic’, basically strained stock that is set with gelatine) for a professional touch or with a layer of clarified butter (see this post from the Kitchn http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-chicken-liver-pate-with-sage-apple-and-thyme-179840) to keep the pate fresh for double the time. Both versions are wonderful, I particularly enjoy the one sealed with butter when eaten with just-toasted bread (as the butter melts wonderfully and really goes well with the creamy pate). As for eating pate, yep… I just eat it on its own with bread. I am not sure how the banh mi roll started incorporating pate but I’ve eaten quite a few Asian-inspired sliders and rolls with pate in them. I don’t think it was traditionally used in this way… I haven’t heard of a British or French sandwich incorporating pate but there might be one :)

        Reply
        1. erika Post author

          Ah, that was so educational! You’re the best, Laura. I could have of course googled that, but thanks for saving my lazy butt from doing that–so much more fun to hear the explanation from a friend :) You almost make pate sound appetizing! 😉

          Reply

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