Rich, savory chopped liver is a traditional Ashkenazic dish that brings back fond food memories for many Jewish families. In French cuisine it is called liver pâté. Here’s a meatless version that is rich and delicious without the artery-clogging saturated fat calories!

The word pâté means paste in French. In French cookery, pâté refers to a mixture of cooked ground meat and fat with added vegetables, herbs, spices, and either wine or brandy, which is then minced into a spreadable paste. It’s typically served as an hors d’oeuvre with sliced baguette or crackers.

This meatless pâté recipe substitutes walnuts and mushrooms for the meat protein and olive oil for the animal fat. It is elegant and flavorful for the discerning connoisseur of all things delicious and healthy!

Mushrooms are:

  • hearty in taste and texture
  • technically a fungi (as opposed to a plant)
  • a source of protein, B vitamins (riboflavin and niacin), selenium, potassium, vitamin D (especially when exposed to light)
  • a source of chitin, an indigestible carbohydrate also found in shrimp and crab shells but not found in plants
  • low in calories and sodium with zero fat and cholesterol

Walnuts are:

  • high in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health and may reduce inflammation in the body
  • loaded with protein, fiber and antioxidants
  • a source of vitamin E, manganese and copper

A recent study concludes that no matter how long you cook mushrooms, they can’t be overcooked. So don’t worry if you’re not a perfectly timed cook.

This recipe is simple, delicious and nutritious; and makes a great appetizer, condiment or sandwich spread.

Layne’s Mushroom Walnut Pâté

Choose organic ingredients when available:

  • 3/4-pound (about 3 1/2 cups) shitake, crimini and/or portabella mushrooms, cut in quarters
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea or rock salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut water
  • 1/3-cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss mushrooms with shallot, fresh thyme and olive oil. Season with (optional) salt and pepper. Transfer to a rimmed roasting pan (or baking sheet) and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

Using a high-speed blender, Vitamixer or food processor, transfer the mushrooms to the bowl of the blender and add remaining ingredients. Pulse until smooth or finely chopped (whichever you prefer). Adjust seasoning if needed. Serve with thinly sliced toasted whole grain baguette or pita chips and sliced turnips or jicama. Serve at room temperature. Serves 6.

Nutrition facts per serving of pâté only (74 grams), without added salt: 103 calories, 8.9 grams fat, 4.5 grams carbohydrates, 5 milligrams sodium, 3.2 grams protein, 1.5 grams dietary fiber.

For dietary secrets of the super-healthy and recipes for every meal of the day, pick up a copy of my award-winning book Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy. Bon Appétit!