Top | The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations

Lentil Pâté

(recipe, Kim O'Donnel)

primary-image, l


This little number is inspired by chicken-liver terrine, a French brasserie and Jewish delicatessen classic. Replicating the same technique and flavor notes from a passed-down recipe, I swap out the livers for legumes. I won't say you can trick your chicken liver-loving pals, but you will astonish them.


  1. 1 cup dried brown or green lentils
  2. 3 cups water
  3. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  4. ½ to ¾ tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  5. 4 Tbsp. butter
  6. 1 cup peeled and thinly sliced shallots (about 4 bulbs)
  7. ¼ cup bourbon or cognac (booze-free option: apple cider)
  8. 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (from at least 2 sprigs)
  9. ½ tsp. grated nutmeg
  10. Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place the lentils, water, and garlic in a medium saucepan. (The water should be about 2 inches above the lentils; add more as needed.) Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook at a simmer until tender to the bite, 30 to 35 minutes. Season with ½ teaspoon of the salt.
  2. While the lentils cook, melt the butter in a 9- or 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, stir to coat with the butter, and cook until thick, jam-like, and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Lower the heat if the shallots begin to char. Increase the heat and add the booze (or apple cider), allowing it to evaporate, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the rosemary, nutmeg, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of the salt, then turn off the heat.
  3. Drain the lentils and transfer to a baking sheet to cool in a single layer for 10 minutes. Make sure you bring along the cooked garlic.
  4. Transfer the shallot mixture to the bowl of a food processor or stand blender and blend, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the lentils and garlic, and blend until you have a creamy mixture with as few lumps as possible.
  5. Season with the black pepper to taste (and add more salt if needed) and scoop into a 4-inch ramekin or four-edged dish. (The spread looks more pâtélike in a shaped dish than freestyle in a cereal bowl.)
  6. Place in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes; the pâté deepens in flavor when slightly chilled.
  7. Serve with toast points or baguette slices, or with carrot, celery, or jicama sticks, or endive leaves.