Vegan pâté is a Vietnamese staple!
Typically used in banh mi, I grew up eating this smeared all over bread as a snack
(or a meal if you’re a lazy adult like me lol)
I am the queen of unfinished projects; I think that’s why my blog was so successful for me when I started it. Blog posts and recipes are pretty short term projects that don’t typically require a long term plan for completion. However, ambitious recipes that are slightly intimidating because they’re traditional Vietnamese recipes or they’re kind of complex make me feel like I need to go the extra mile to perfect them. This vegan pâté was something I had been working on over the summer but I was concerned it wasn’t smooth enough or creamy enough to be the right consistency.
I had put off the project for a while, worried about the amount of pâté I would have to eat if I didn’t quite nail the recipe. I wanted to create something creamy, light, almost fluffy like the pâté I grew up eating. With some research on what typical animal-based pâté was, and honestly it was just ground up bits of animals (mostly liver). Not the most pleasant, and I was confident that I could veganize it into something much more palateable. I’ve tried a few vegan version in the past that use different nuts and spice profiles, but the thing that bothered me the most was how dead and gray it would look.
The pâté I grew up eating was fluffy and pinky brown, or if I was eating it from a traditional banh mi place, it would be more of a greyish brown (with a layer of fat or butter on top). It’s not the most appealing food, but it’s a comfort food of bringing pâté, a baguette, and a couple of crunchy vegetables with me to a park or the beach to enjoy with my family as a snack or picnic. Maybe that’s not the typical method of enjoying pâté, but that’s what I resonate with the most.
The first iterations I tried involved pumpkin seeds and/or sunflower seeds, but I found it too grainy or chunky when blended in just my food processor alone. The flavour profile itself was tasty enough, but I wanted that creamy, luscious texture, and I knew that more fat definitely needed to be incorporated, but I didn’t want it to just be fat that smoothed it out.
Much like how people soak cashews to soften them for desserts, I figured I’d try that with sunflower seeds! It worked like a charm. Creamy and luscious, especially with a high speed blender to completely pulverize every bit! Add about 2 tablespoons of vegan butter to give it that creamy fluffy texture, then tomato paste and paprika to add a touch of sweetness and colour, then you have the pâté of my dreams! I added a touch of white pepper to add a tiny bit of heat, but it’s not spicy. It’s just a lingering warmth that you don’t realize is there until you wonder why you want to keep eating more.
I made this recipe in time for my lemongrass tofu banh mi recipe demo at London VegFest this weekend (hope to see some of you there!) and I am so happy with the results! I won’t be demoing this recipe at the vegfest, but I’ll be showing you how I make the lemongrass mixture for the tofu, and then assembling the delicious banh mi! It feels really good and somewhat validating to be diving back into Vietnamese recipes, so I hope you have been liking it. Life has been a little up and down lately, mostly up, but you know me, ever so sensitive to the ebb and flow.
If you try this recipe for Vietnamese vegan pâté, be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook! I always enjoy seeing your versions of my recipes and sometimes you come up with pretty interesting twists or improvements, it’s pretty cool :)
Recipe inspired by the Kale Sandwich Show
- 1 cup roasted sunflower seeds
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup (85 g) shallots (~5 shallots), minced
- 4 cloves (8 g) garlic, minced
- 2 cups (~300 g) cremini mushrooms, washed and finely sliced
- 1 tbsp (10 g) tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- First soak the sunflower seeds for about 15 minutes in boiling water. Let them sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In a pan, cook the minced shallots with vegetable oil until translucent. Add minced garlic, and stir and cook until fragrant.
- Add mushrooms and cook until browned (a lot of moisture will be cooked out). Add tomato paste and paprika and stir to coat. Cook for another minute or so and remove from heat.
- In a food processor or a high speed blender (it'd be smoother in the blender), add the drained sunflower seeds, mushroom/onion mixture, white pepper, soy sauce, salt, and vegan butter and blend until everything is smooth. Scrape down the sides until everything is well blended.
- Serve on banh mi, with baguette, crackers, or whatever you fancy :) (It keeps for about 3-4 days in the fridge)