Friday, October 18, 2013

Mushroom Walnut Pâté

mushroom walnut pate from scratch

In an effort to make better, cheaper, lunches, my friend and coworker Anna and I teamed together to feed ourselves at work with minimal effort and funding. We pooled together ingredients for sandwiches, keeping it as simple and easy as we could, while also not skimping on deliciousness (because it's us, and we do not skimp on goodness, ever).

Our lunches usually involved a combination of cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers layered on a slice of toast, sometimes topped with a pile of fresh greens. If we were feeling indulgent, we'd add a fried egg on top, but what made our sandwiches truly amazing were what went underneath, either a smearing of fresh pesto or mushroom walnut pate, two very different but no less tasty condiments that elevated what was otherwise an everyday open-faced sandwich to a sublime lunch experience.

It was in fact Anna who made the discovery of the mushroom walnut pate. One day she brought in this innocuous little mason jar with a hand-written label, purchased from Thomas Lavers Cannery in Kensington Market. The pesto also hailed from this little cannery as well, but my feelings about pesto have already been articulated here.

This post is for the mushroom walnut pate that those lunches introduced me to. It was creamy, rich, and earthy, and spread atop toast beneath a few slices of sharp cheese, tomato, and cucumber, it managed to make my lunch memorable and enjoyable, rather than a rushed experience of shovelling food into my mouth as I stared at a computer screen. And so of course I had to set out to make it for myself, in what turned out to be a vast - vast - quantity. (Not that I'm complaining.)

It's almost surprisingly easy to make, with no odd or outlandish ingredients. Really, it's a tribute to your pantry and the ability of food to be both awesome and non-fussy (my favourite kind). I highly recommend it on your next grilled brie and roasted red pepper sandwich, or just with crackers and veggies if you, like me, arrive home tired and can only think of eating crackers and cheese for dinner, because you're an adult now, damn it, and you can eat whatever the hell you want. But at least this way, you can say you're eating classy crackers and cheese. Even if you're wearing your pajamas and lying on the couch with Netflix on. It still counts.

mushroom mushroom vegan pate

Mushroom Walnut Pâté
Earthy, rich, and creamy, this vegan pâté is simple and delicious, and you can use wherever you see fit, either with your morning egg and toast or as a dip with crackers when you have hungry friends over.

4 cups chopped brown crimini mushrooms
1 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup walnuts
1 small yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp oil or butter
1/2 tsp thyme
salt & pepper to taste

mushrooms in a row toasted walnuts
mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic all delicious things
mushroom pate, ready to blend homemade mushroom walnut pate

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread walnuts out on a baking sheet and toast in the preheated oven for 8 - 10 minutes, watching closely to ensure they don't burn. Once toasted, set aside.

2. Clean the mushrooms, slice the bottoms off the stems, then roughly chop. Peel and dice the carrots, then set aside. Chop the onion and mince the garlic.

3. Heat oil or butter in a large frying pan or pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, carrots, onion, and garlic. Sprinkle in the thyme and saute until the mushrooms turn dark and begin to release their liquid, about 10 minutes.

4. Transfer cooked vegetables to a food processor along with the toasted walnuts and process on high until smooth and creamy. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add more thyme as well, if you so desire. Transfer to an airtight, resealable container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Enjoy on toast, flatbread, sandwiches, or as vegetable dip.

easy mushroom pate


  1. This is suuuuuch a great idea. I'm skeptical of my wimpy blender's ability to really smooth out the ingredients, but the ingredients are so simple, I wouldn't feel bad making a mess of it and just eating the results over rice or on toast.

    1. Thanks so much! You can try blending everything in very small batches, if your blender isn't the most reliable. This kind of recipe works best with a food processor, though, so if you manage to get your hands on one, definitely use it. Hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it! :)