Lentil Mushroom Walnut Pate: Savory Bean-Meat Swaps

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Pate: Savory Bean-Meat Swaps

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Pate: Savory Bean-Meat Swaps

Lentil pink peppercorn pateSwapping out a meat-based ingredient for a plant-based one is a balancing act of texture, taste qualities (like umami) and flavors from aromatic compounds. Particularly with liver—can you think of any plant that tastes or smells like it? Please let me know if you do.

Liver is a cheap ingredient that many cultures embrace and adore but can be an acquired taste due to its strong odors, unique and sometimes metallic flavors and texture challenges. My first whiff of liver was thanks to my childhood friend Mary whose father regularly cooked the beef version as a breakfast “treat” on his favorite cast-iron pan.

I dreaded being asked to try it, but never was asked. I didn’t taste liver until I lived in Paris, where you were expected to appreciate pâté.

Pâté commonly uses chicken liver which has distinct poultry flavors, but this umami-rich lentil version is popular at parties among traditional pâté-lovers and non-meat eaters. Walnuts and mushrooms add texture and savory notes (particularly umami from plant-based glutamate). Cornichons and lemon add brightness, cayenne gives a hint of eat, Madeira offers a soupçon of sweet and pink peppercorns surprise with complex flavors like resin.

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Pâté

Makes nearly 2 ¾ cups

Pate Ingredients

¾ cup dried green lentils (if using cooked about 2 cups)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup walnut pieces (about 5 ounces), toasted
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
few pinches cayenne pepper (less than ⅛ teaspoon)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
12-14 (about 10 ounces) medium-sized cremini mushrooms
¼ teaspoon salt
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon Madeira or marsala
8-10 cornichons, diced fine (about 3 tablespoons)
1 ½ teaspoons pink peppercorns, lightly crushed

Prep Steps

  1. Check lentils for debris, put in pot, add 3 cups water and the salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer for 20-24 minutes or until lentils are tender (more tender than if using in a salad). Drain well in a colander to remove excess water. This can be done a day in advance.
  2. Toast walnuts in a skillet. Add walnuts, lentils, lemon juice, tamari, thyme and cayenne to a blender.
  3. Clean and dry mushrooms and cut into 1/4”-1/2” thick slices. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add mushrooms and sprinkle with the salt. Cook without stirring until browned on one side (about 6-8 minutes), toss them and cook 4-6 more minutes. Add to blender.
  4. Reduce heat to medium, add remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet then the onions and garlic, cook 4-6 minutes. Add madeira and sweat the onions about 6 more minutes or until onions are soft and liquids have evaporated. Add to blender and process pâté until smooth.
  5. Scrape mixture into a mixing bowl. Mix in one teaspoon of peppercorns and 2 tablespoons of cornichons. Use remaining ½ teaspoon of peppercorns and tablespoon of cornichons as garnish. Refrigerate until use, keep for 7 days in the refrigerator or freeze for a couple months.

Pate Serving Options

1. Serve pâté with crostini, baguette slices, toasts, crackers or on slices of cucumber.
2.It also works as a sandwich spread or a filling to stuff cherry tomatoes.

Other Veggie-Meat Swaps

Try this other savory use of walnuts to mimic meaty-umami flavors in my walnut, mushroom ragout.

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Chickpea Corn Cakes: Crave-worthy Carbs

Chickpea Corn Cakes: Crave-worthy Carbs

Chickpea Corn Cakes: Crave-worthy Carbs

chickpea corn cakes top

If you enjoy crunchy, sweet summer corn and savory, nutty chickpea flavors and a fast, easy recipe, continue. However, I feel compelled to defend corn just in case with this comment:

Carby chickpea corn cakes cause carb-avoiders cringe-worthy concerns, or conversely, conscious cravings. Now breathe.

 

Corn often gets dissed as low-nutrient, high-starch food, but this oversimplifies corn’s dietary profile.

chickpea corn cakes

Instead corn’s a good source of fiber, micronutrients and minerals that connect to health benefits.

As for corn cravings, sweet corn is a comfort food that connects us to summer and chowing down on a cob is just plain fun. Corn’s also a good source of umami offering savory, meaty flavors.

 

The Chickpea Ingredient

The chickpea in this recipe is from chickpea flour (besan or gram flour), a nutrient-rich, gluten-free flour. In these egg-free corn cakes, the sticky bean flour is a primary binding agent.

Enjoy corn cakes as an appetizer with a dollop of lemon yogurt sauce, garlic and walnut herb sauce or a salsa or as a dinner with a side salad.

 

Chickpea Corn Cakes

Yield: Makes 18-20

Ingredients

4 ears of corn (about 2 pounds trimmed or about 3 cups of kernels)
1½ cup chickpea flour
⅓ cup sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons ground sumac (a citrus-like flavor, but is optional)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or ½ teaspoon for more hint of heat)
¾ to 1 cup water
1 large shallot, minced (about ⅓ cup)  (or ¼ of a small yellow onion)
4 tablespoons organic canola oil

Prep Steps  

  1. Shuck corn if needed, cut off kernels (hold stalk upright in the center of a tea towel and use a chef knife to strip off kernels). If using canned corn, drain and pat dry the kernels.
  2. In a bowl, stir together chickpea flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt, sumac and cayenne.
  3. Add water, shallot and corn. Mix with a spoon until blended. If not using immediately, refrigerate for 20 minutes or overnight to make forming patties easier.
  4. Form palm-sized patties about 1/2” thick with an even surface for nice browning. In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium-heat burner until it shimmers. Add patties leaving space between them, cook until each side is a dark brown color. Place on paper towels and repeat.
  5. Serve hot or at room temperature—see serving ideas below.

Serving Ideas & Nutrition Bonus:

Serve with dips sauces or topped with tangy Greek yogurt, Garlicky cheese-free pesto or a chunky-tomato ragout.

Nutrition bonus: for 4 corn cakes: Fiber 9 grams (woohoo) and 10 grams protein for only 236 calories

Like Chickpea flour? Also try my Chickpea shrimp fritters

Like the pan? I don’t represent Lodge cast iron, but do recommend them: more info here

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Golden Horseradish Hummus

Golden Horseradish Hummus

Golden Horseradish Hummus

Golden Horseradish Hummus

Hummus needs chickpeas. I’ve met modern interpretations at restaurants and was disappointed when I could find no trace or taste of it.

Chickpeas have a distinct flavor and, culturally, if chickpeas are subbed out for other beans, you have bean dip, not hummus. Hummus “means chickpea in Arabic” so if you want authenticity, stick with the chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans).

Tahini, sesame paste, is also a sign of authenticity in hummus. For “proof”, click to see a short video spoof on commercially made versus homemade hummus–Warning the tune is addictive (earworm alert):

Authentic hummus “It’s all about the paste”

However, getting off my high horse on hummus etiquette, there are fun non-traditional flavors that make traditional hummus playful. In this version, I’ve swapped out garlic for a horseradish hummus. Horseradish is a root vegetable in the mustard family. Its root heritage makes it a piquant spice plus it offers multiple health benefits.

This recipe also includes turmeric which blings out the color with a golden hue as well as adding interesting nutritional qualities. Lastly, this version has about half the oil as most hummus recipes without sacrificing flavor or texture.

Golden Horseradish Hummus

 Golden Horseradish Hummus 

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (about 2 cups drained)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons “prepared horseradish” (see notes below)
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt

Steps:

  1. Drain the chickpeas and rinse. Reserve a few whole garbanzo beans for garnish.
  2. Combine the chickpeas with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a creamy purée. You want a very smooth texture. If the texture is too thick, add a bit more water or olive oil. Tahini comes in varying degrees of textures.
  3. Taste and season further if needed.

To serve, spread in a platter or put in a shallow bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, some chickpeas and serve with warmed flat breads or pita bread cut into quarters or with vegetable crudité.

  Golden Horseradish Hummus

Substitutions: Taste and Nutrition considerations:

  • Horseradish “heat”: as with some other root vegetables, horseradish spicy or piquant notes increase with the amount of processing such as chopping, grinding, grating. A very finely grated horseradish will be spicier than the chopped root. The “heat” is from a volatile oil compound called isothiocyanate.
  • Types of Horseradish: “Prepared” or jarred horseradish” varies significantly in ingredients used, quality and flavor profiles. Refrigerated (fresh horseradish) has a shorter shelf life than the non-refrigerated options.
  • Ingredients: Shelf-stable options can include a variety of additional ingredients with some brands include eggs, artificial flavoring, preservatives such as sodium benzoate and extra oils. Also check the ingredient list for sugar or corn syrups (preservative roles) which can add an odd flavor to hummus.
  • Options: These extra ingredients aren’t offering any health benefits and alter the natural flavor and texture of horseradish. For a better quality product, consider the refrigerated versions which are most likely simply grated horseradish, salt and vinegar. The vinegar helps stabilize the volatile oils (released from grating the root) so that the “heat” doesn’t continue to evolve.

More horseradish info at Food & Nutrition Magazine Savor Horseradish

  • Instead of a dip, use as a sandwich condiment spread
  • Use as in a layered veggie salad dish alternating the hummus with cucumbers, shredded carrots, peppers etc.
  • Use as a “mash” type of substitute to serve with other foods e.g. roasted vegetables or chicken.
  • Storage: Whether using prepared or homemade horseradish store in the refrigerator for 4-6 months or in the freezer for longer. I’ve kept fresh roots in the vegetable tray for up to 6 weeks.

Thank you, horseradish, for being neither a radish nor a horse.

What you are is a liar food.

Jimmy Fallon

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas with Sumac

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

This chickpea appetizer or snack creates bean lovers. The balanced spicy, citrusy and salty sensations with a crunchy bean exterior are crave-able features. The health benefits of the beans and spices are a bonus. Quick and easy to make, these can be made ahead of time or served hot and crunchy from the pan.

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 tsp sumac (see spice notes for options)
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder or chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil

Steps:

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F (218C) and arrange a rack in the middle position.
  2. Rinse chickpeas in a colander and let drain while preparing the spice mix.
  3. Add the dry spices to a bowl that is larger than needed to hold the chickpeas.
  4. Use a paper towel and gently pat the chickpeas to dry them further. The drier the chickpeas, the more crisp they will be.
  5. Add the chickpeas to the bowl. Shake them sauté style a few times until coated.
  6. Add the oil to the chickpeas and gently stir the chickpeas.
  7. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and add chickpeas in an even layer.
  8. Once or twice during the baking, gently shake the baking sheet for more even cooking. Chickpeas with high internal moisture content will pop like hot popcorn, so be careful to not get zinged by a hot bean.
  9. Chickpeas will become crisp between 18-24 minutes. Place two layers of paper toweling on a large plate and when chickpeas are done, pour them onto the paper towel to cool down, then move to a dry bowl or plate to stay crisp. Some brands of chickpeas get very crisp and stay crisp and others lose the texture in a few hours.

Nutrition Highlights:

  • Because of the fiber content, chickpeas are a high-satiety food–keeps you fuller for longer. One 15-ounce can provides about 25 grams of fiber.
  • High amounts of insoluble fiber that helps to create a health flora in your gut.
  • Fiber also helps control blood sugar changes and insulin secretion.

Fried Option: This adds calories but is an option for even crispier chickpeas

  1. Rinse chickpeas in a colander and let drain while preparing the spice mix.
  2. Add the dry spices to a bowl that is larger than needed to hold the chickpeas.
  3. Use a paper towel and gently pat the chickpeas to dry them further. The drier the chickpeas, the more crisp they will be.
  4. Add the chickpeas and give them a sauté style shake a few times until the chickpeas are coated.
  5. Heat a 10-12” skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat and add the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, carefully add the chickpeas.

Spice Notes: The gorgeous purple-red spice mountain in the photo are dried and ground sumac berries. These add a tart-lemony element to dishes where lemon might be too strong or the moisture from lemon juice isn’t desired as in the case with these chickpeas. Sumac powder has increases your versatility in the kitchen, but if you don’t have it, go for a different spice profile and add some cumin or cumin plus coriander.

Ancho chile powder (the rusto-brown spice mountain in the photo) adds a hint of a fruity element where chili powder (a blend of herbs and chiles) not present in chili powder blends.

 

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas with Sumac

Gimme your Garbanzos or Chuck me the Chickpeas—either way they’re the same bean!

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Black-eyed pea and Hominy Texas Caviar

Black-eyed pea and Hominy Texas Caviar

Black-eyed pea and Hominy Texas Caviar

Black-eyed Pea and Hominy Texas Caviar

This recipe highlights how canned beans can make you popular and happier. For happy, you can quickly toss together this dish as an appetizer, side dish or picnic nibble. It’s a popular party pleaser that also offers flavorful fiber and isn’t calorie dense—just nutrient dense. The recipe was inspired by a self-described “good ol’ boy from Texas” who made his version a popular office pot-luck contribution.

Black-eyed Peas and Hominy Texas Caviar

 

Ingredients:   

1 can (4-ounce) diced roasted green chilies, diced 1 can (15-ounce) Black-eyed peas 1 can (15-ounce) Golden Hominy (white can work also) 1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 ½ cup) 3 garlic cloves, minced ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt as needed (depends on the salt level of the canned ingredients)

Steps: 

  1. Open cans, drain hominy and peas and add to a mixing bowl.
  2. Dice the red pepper and mince the garlic and add to the hominy mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing elements (garlic, vinegar, olive oil and salt). If you plan to store the bean caviar for 1-2 days before serving you can make a classic vinaigrette by adding all the ingredients except the olive oil and whisk it in slowly to make an emulsion that will hold.
  4. Add the dressing to the hominy mixture and gently mix together
  5. Adjust salt seasoning to taste if needed.
  • 4g of fiber—a flavorful addition to the goal of 25-30 grams of fiber per day
  • Can use green peppers also, red offers a nice color contrast to the chilies
  • Golden hominy tends to have fewer calories, fat and sodium than white hominy
  • Serve as a party topping for crackers (try whole wheat, Wasa rye or Bran crisp crackers).
  • For a side dish, can add crumbled feta or parmesan for additional flavor contrasts
  • Can make 1-2 days in advance, but 2 days causes the beans to soften more and have shed their “skin”

“There are those who adore the black-eyed pea and those who deem it better suited to the provisioning of livestock”

Courtney Bond

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

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