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Vegan Mushroom Pate with Lentils and Cashews
I have to admit that when I started working on this recipe, I wasn't expecting much. Vegan alternatives to traditional meat dishes don't usually get me excited. Happy to say that I was wrong, and this mushroom-lentil spread is really tasty. It makes a good party food on water crackers and it goes really nicely with slices of raw sweet pepper. The key to the pate's flavour is the way the mushrooms interact with the thyme. The key to its texture is a good food processor. You want the lentil-cashew mixture that forms the base to be completely smooth. That way, the little mushroom pieces that get distributed throughout provide little flavour bombs and a nicely contrasting texture.
3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours
2 Tbl olive oil, plus more for greasing baking dishes
230 g (1/2 pound) mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp ground thyme
1 cup dry red lentils
1/2 white or yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced with a little salt
3/4 cup water
1 Tbl tamari sauce
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
water crackers and raw vegetables for serving
Saute the mushrooms in olive oil over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until dark and soft.
While the mushrooms are frying, place the lentils in a small pot with 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
When mushrooms are done, mix in thyme and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease several ramekins or small ovensafe dishes with olive oil. This recipe makes enough to fill three large (4" diameter) ramekins.
Drain the cashews and place them in a food processor along with the onion and garlic. Process into tiny pieces.
Mix the water and tamari sauce in a measuring cup. With the processor running, slowly pour in half the water mixture a little bit at a time, and process until very smooth.
Add the lentils, process those into the mixture, then slowly add the rest of the water with the processor still runing. The result should be very smooth and uniform.
Add the salt and nutritional yeast and process to blend.
Add the mushrooms and pulse. The mushroom pieces should be finely chopped but still visible.
Distribute the mixture between the oiled ramekins.
Place ramekins on a cookie sheet in the oven and bake for about 1 hour, until a dark crust forms at the top.
Allow to cool. Serve with water crackers and raw veggies.
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Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2016