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)
This looks very yummy…
Lisa Le says
It is very tasty :D
This actually looks great. I jus went vegan and love to explore food from other parts of the world (as a Scandinavian, you sort of have to….).
Anyway, this is just one of many great recipes that you posted lately. Will try this one as I am quite sick of eating bread and salad for every meal. And yes – I have bookmarked your website now! ;)
Is this freezeable?
Lisa Le says
I haven’t tried it myself, but I’m sure it could be!
Joshua Howard says
I love this recipe! I made it for friends and family and they all loved it (even someone who doesn’t like mushrooms!). Thank you for the post!
The recipe looks delicious. I also have food allergies and recently became allergic to Capcicum, both sweet peppers and chilies. Do you have recommendations for Vietnamese recipes that don’t require capcicum as an ingredient? I can only eat bell peppers, since they are the only pepper bred to exclude capcaicin. Thanks.
Lisa Le says
Hi Jen! That SUCKS that you’re allergic to capsaicin :( Spice is life! But I actually stopped using a lot of sweet peppers/bell peppers a lot anyway because my husband doesn’t like them hahaha! In terms of any of my Viet recipes that use chilis, you can always just omit them completely! Anything with chili flakes or peppers, just leave ’em out. If you really miss the spice, you could add whole peppercorns instead since their spice is from peperine and not capsaicin. Hope that helps!
This looks amazing! Do you know if it freezes well? Vegan Banh Mi is SO GOOD! But we haven’t tried a pate & we definitely missed it! :O)
Lisa Le says
I haven’t really tried to freeze it! But maybe?
I’ll try & let you know! :) also, I added some cilantro & 5-spice powder and it’s like a pho spread! So odd but SO good! lol
Made this today & it’s good, but I taste an overwhelming flavor of sunflower seeds, were they supposed to be raw perhaps? The roasted flavor overwhelms everything else imo. But that’s just me! :)
I used soaked cashews (didn’t have sunflower seeds) and it was pretty good. My mom, who is also vegetarian, really liked it as a spread on toast/crackers! Thanks for the great recipes, Lisa! :)
Lisa Le says
I’m so glad you liked this! I feel like this would be sooooo silky with cashews! I’ve also tried it with walnut (before I realized I was allergic) and that was also very good :)
Hi. How many Cashews did you use instead of sunflower seeds?
Lisa Le says
I think if you used the same volume, it would work just as well :)
Just wow! Been dreaming of a good pâté and this recipe is very good. Love the Bahn Mi recipe – thank you Lisa
As a longtime lover of pâté, this really hit the spot. Process intensive but worth it!! Thank you for helping me make the vegan bahn mi of my dreams :)
Shannon Bryant says
So delish! I just prepped this for NYE tomorrow. I added about 1tbsp of vegan worcestershire and about 1tsp of barbeque sauce. Can’t wait to serve this tomorrow! :)
Had to make it without garlic, because allergies, and it was still super tasty!! Can only imagine how bomb the Og garlic one is!!