vegan chopped liver spread Jewish food
Photo credit Sonya Sanford

How to Make Vegan Chopped Liver

For thrifty, veggie-loving cooks like me, signing up for a CSA share is the way to go. Sure, it can be a daunting investment up front, but it’s often the best deal for local and fresh produce you’ll find in the city. And there’s always unanticipated surplus along the way.

Some weeks there’s tons of pears, other weeks, it’s parsley (hello, freezer full of parsley pesto!). Last week, I found myself particularly lucky. There were crimini mushrooms that needed a home, and I was up for the task.

For one blissful week, I was in mushroom heaven, and even after mushroom quiche and tarragon mushroom stir-fry, I still had about a pound of mushrooms left. For the next dish, I wanted something festive, and kind of classy. Spreadable, perhaps?

And so, inspired by a rich and flavorful vegan “faux gras” that I sampled at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg, I tried my hand at mushroom, lentil, walnut, and mushroom paté. It was perfect for the dinner party I hosted, and for noshing throughout the week. Some said it was as good as any chicken liver paté or chopped liver they’d ever had.

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Photo credit Sonya Sanford

Vegan Chopped Liver Recipe with Mushrooms and Miso Recipe

During the mid-20th century, “mock liver” became a prominent item on the menus of New York City’s numerous “dairy restaurants,” which served as the meat-free counterparts to traditional delicatessens. Over the years, mock liver has grown in popularity for a variety of reasons: trying to eat less meat for health reasons, or the environment, or just because it’s really tasty.

  • Yield: 810 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • ½ cup dried French lentils
  • ½ yellow onion, sliced
  • 45 cups (16 oz) cremini or button mushrooms (or a mix of your favorites), washed, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp neutral oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp white miso paste + 2 Tbsp boiling water
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 Tbsps Tamari or soy sauce, or more to taste
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • several twists of fresh black pepper
  • fresh parsley, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Cook your lentils ahead of time, by adding ½ cup rinsed lentils to a pot, covered by a few inches of water. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp oil in a cast iron skillet or deep dished frying pan. Add onions and cook until translucent and golden. Add garlic and mushrooms, and another 2 Tbsp of oil. Sauté for 1 minute.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk with a fork 1 Tbsp miso paste with 2 Tbsp water. Add this mixture to the pan. Add herbs, and continue stir frying for 4-5 more minutes, or until mushrooms are well-coated and tender. If you find that the mushrooms need more moisture, add a few dashes of soy sauce or more water. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add walnuts, stirring frequently. Cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant and golden. Remove immediately from the pan and let cool.
  5. Add lentils, toasted nuts, and mushroom mixture (slightly cooled by now) to a food processor or blender. Add soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, and black pepper to taste. Blend until you’ve reached your desired consistency–I prefer it slightly chunky. You might prefer it smoother, like hummus.
  6. You might find that your mixture needs more liquid, in which case add more soy sauce or vinegar. If you have a salt tooth like me, you’ll want to add a pinch or two of salt. Scoop into a serving bowl and garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy with crudité or crackers.

Notes

You can blend the mixture to your preferred consistency; I prefer it chunkier, but some like a smoother texture like hummus. 

 

  • Author: Aly Miller
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Quick
  • Cuisine: Vegan

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