This is an easy spread to put together and it’s both vegan and vegetarian. Usually brown lentils are used but when I made this the other day I only had yellow and orange ones – both Indian pantry staples – so that is what I used. If you don’t have any shallot then use a small onion and a garlic clove. Use whatever mushrooms you have on hand or a combination. The tastes will change slightly with different ingredients but the basic pate or spread will be much the same. I like to serve it on pumpernickel bread or crackers with some pickled red onion on top.
LENTIL, WALNUT & MUSHROOM PATE
(makes about 1 cup)
1 medium shallot, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to coat
5-6 mushrooms, rinsed – caps and stems, cremini or other, chopped
½ cup lentils, yellow, orange or brown
½ cup walnuts, toasted
pinch dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
1- Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan and add the shallot to sauté until well cooked.
2- Add the mushrooms to the shallot, adding more oil, if necessary, add the thyme. Stir occasionally. Sauté until soft and cooked through. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
3- Meanwhile, rinse the lentils in a strainer. Boil about 1-1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and add the lentils to cook though about 15-18 minutes. Taste to test doneness. When soft, drain and add to a food processor.
4- Toast the walnuts in a frying pan, tossing frequently. Remove and set aside. Let them cool. Optionally, if you want to remove some of the skins (they can be bitter) rub them between your hands.
5- Add the rest of the ingredients to the lentils in the food processor: the walnuts, mushrooms and shallot. Process, scraping down the sides, add salt and pepper (to your taste), the Dijon. Drizzle in the olive oil to moisten. When everything is smoothly combined, remove to a jar. Drizzle olive oil on top then seal the jar. Keep refrigerated. Bring to room temperature to serve.