Vegan pâté with balsamic jelly

Vegan pâté with balsamic jelly

vegan pate balsamic jelly

As I’m a devout mushroom lover, it would be remiss of me not to publish a recipe for a mushroom pâté ahead of Christmas. You are welcome! This vegan pâté takes very little effort and tastes absolutely divine. It’s perfect spread on crackers, oatcakes or a slice of sourdough bread.

Even Duncan, who isn’t as crazy about mushrooms as me (he likes them but does not get nearly as excited about them as I do) and was not keen on the concept of a vegan pâté with mushrooms when I first put it on my recipe list for Christmas, could not get enough of this pâté. His exact words were ‘it’s outstanding’ or maybe he was just famished after kayaking in cold Welsh river on a cold winter day…

The ingredients are fairly straightforward and widely available and the process quite simple too. As mushrooms contribute most flavour, I used two types – dried porcini mushrooms and their aromatic stock and bog standard button mushrooms (although I got their brown rather than white variety). Caramelised aromatics, a healthy glug of fortified wine and herbs (I used rosemary) are all fantastic backing singers. Soy sauce and red miso paste amplify umami-rich flavour even more and cashews or chestnuts yield creaminess and body to this beautiful starter.

This umami rich vegan pâté is topped with a thin layer of balsamic jelly, which does not only makes it look pretty, it protects the pâté from drying out and offers nice textural and flavour contrast too.

In terms of setting this pâté, you have two different options. If you are after an indulgent, ‘it’s Christmas, I don’t care’ texture, go for melted vegan butter option. It’s hassle free and produces a delicious result. If, however, you are a bit more health conscious no matter what time of the year, use vegan gelatine – aka agar agar powder – to set this pâté without the need for extra fat. And if you wanted to make it oil-free altogether, you could even go a step further and sauteé the aromatics and mushrooms in vegetable stock instead of olive oil.

MORE ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS

vegan pate mushrooms ingredients

PORCINI: dried porcini are a real flavour bomb so using them in a mushroom pâté is no brainer. If you decide to use them, make sure to clean them very well as their dried flesh is notorious for trapping grit. I clean them with a brush first, then after I soak them in boiling water, I clean them once more under a cold tap – once they are rehydrated it’s easier to dislodge grit particles with your fingers. I also pour the stock through a sieve lined with two paper kitchen towels to ensure it’s totally grit free. If cannot get hold of them, simply double the amount of fresh mushrooms and use a mushroom stock cube instead.

MUSHROOM: You can use any fresh mushrooms you enjoy, but as I wanted this recipe to be as accessible as possible, I went for brown mushrooms known as chestnut in the UK (and cremini in the US).

ROSEMARY: I used some fresh rosemary to flavour my pâté, but fresh thyme would be my second choice. You could, of course, use dried herbs too, but go easy on them – I would start with a good pinch – as they tend to be (provided they are not stale) more pungent than fresh.

MARASLA WINE: a good glug of sweet fortified wine is a nice addition to a festive pâté. I used marsala wine, but port or sherry would also work just as well. Failing that white wine and a pinch sugar will also do. If you don’t consume any alcohol, however, simply used extra porcini stock in place of alcohol.

CASHEWS: cashews add creaminess and body to this pâté and lighten the colour a little. You could also use walnuts but they have a less neutral flavour and I wanted a clean mushroom flavour, which is why I opted for slightly sweet but otherwise neutral cashews. Another option, perfect if you are allergic to tree nuts nuts, are chestnuts. Despite having ‘nuts’ in their name, chestnuts are usually safe to consume for people who suffer from tree nut allergies. I recommend cooked chestnuts (that come in vacuum packed) as these tend to be readily available in supermarkets around Xmas. If using chestnuts, your pâté will turn out a little darker in colour, which is not a problem, but you won’t get that nice colour contrast between the two layers. Finally, if you cannot eat nuts or chestnuts, hulled sunflower seeds will be the alternative I can suggest.

RED MISO PASTE: red miso goes beautifully with mushrooms and I used it to deepen the flavour of this pâté. If you only have white miso paste, use that instead – it has simply been fermented for less longer so the flavour is much more mellow. If you haven’t got either of these, add a little more soy sauce and maybe a few drops of vegan Worcester sauce if you have it.

VEGAN BUTTER: adding vegan butter is one way of giving a pâté a firmer and a more luxurious texture. I like the Danish brand Naturli and the Greek brand Violife. Another way is agar agar, which I will explain below.

AGAR AGAR: agar agar powder is a vegan gelatine obtained from algae. You can use it to set the pâté instead vegan butter and to set the jelly. It comes in two forms powder and flakes and I always recommend getting the powder as the flakes (which are three times less potent than powder btw) never fully dissolve in my experience.

SOY SAUCE: I like adding a dash of soy sauce here to add a bit of depth of flavour (alongside some saltiness). I used all purpose Kikkoman soy sauce. If you want to keep this dish gluten-free, use tamari instead (check the label but tamari usually is brewed without any wheat)

BALSAMIC: I wanted something tangy to contrast with the creaminess of the pâté underneath and aged balsamic is what I decided on as mushrooms and balsamic are a match made in heaven (have you tried my balsamic mushroom pasta yet? It’s one of my favourites). Use aged balsamic if possible – it’s thicker, more syrupy and has a deeper flavour. If you only have a bog standard balsamic, you may want to add a touch more maple syrup or sugar to the jelly to counter its harshness.

vegan pate mushrooms panfrying

Pan-fry aromatics first and mushroom second (in the same pan) until softened and lightly caramelised. Add rosemary towards the end of mushroom frying step.

vegan pate mushrooms deglazing

Add all the remaining ingredients, with the exception of butter or agar agar, back to the pan. Simmer gently for a few minutes, cool down and transfer to a mini blender (if you are after smooth texture) or food processor (if you prefer your pate to have a bit more texture). Add melted vegan butter or activated agar agar before blending, processing until you achieve the desired consistency.

vegan pate mushrooms layering

Once blended, transfer to a clean jar or container that can hold at least 360 ml (1½ cups) and refrigate until fully set before topping with the jelly layer.

vegan pate balsamic jelly

vegan pate balsamic jelly toast

vegan pate balsamic jelly top down

makes
350 ml
PREP
20 min
COOKING
15 min
makes
350 ml
PREPARATION
20 min
COOKING
15 min
INGREDIENTS

MUSHROOM PATE

  • 10 g / 0.35 oz dried porcini mushrooms (rehydrated ahead of time!!)
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp olive oil*, divided
  • 1 large shallot, thickly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • 150 g / 5.3 oz mushrooms (I used chestnut / cremini), sliced
  • 1½ tsp chopped rosemary leaves (or thyme leaves)
  • 7 ml / 1½ tsp soy sauce (or tamari if GF)
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp marsala wine*
  • 50 g / 1/3 cup cashews, soaked in boiling water* or 50 g / scant ½ cup cooked chestnuts
  • 12 g / 2 tsp red miso paste
  • scant ¼ tsp pepper and ¼ tsp flaky salt, adjust both to taste
  • 55 g / ¼ cup vegan butter (I like Violife and Naturli) or 0.75 g / heaped ¼ tsp agar agar powder

BALSAMIC JELLY

  • 0.6 g / ¼ tsp agar agar powder
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp aged balsamic
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp porcini stock or water
  • 10 ml / 2 tsp maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp soy sauce (or tamari if GF)
METHOD
  1. Clean porcini well, place in a jug and pour 150 ml (½ cup + 2 tbsp) of water boiling water over them. Allow them to sit in the water for as long as possible (1 hour minimum).
  2. Preheat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium size pan. Saute shallot and garlic until softened and caramelised a little, stirring often.
  3. Remove shallot and garlic from the pan and set aside. Heat up another tablespoon of oil in the same pan, add mushrooms and cook until cooked through and caramelised. Add rosemary leaves towards the end of this step.
  4. Turn the heat off. Return shallot and garlic to the pan, add soy sauce, marsala wine, drained cashews, red miso paste. Season with black pepper and a pinch of salt.
  5. Add 100 ml (1/3 cup + 4 tsp) of the porcini stock – I like to strain it through a paper towel lined sieve first to ensure no grit gets through.
  6. Clean rehydrated porcini mushrooms under a cold tap to ensure you get rid of any remaining grit and add them to the pan.
  7. Put the pan back on the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes on low heat. Cool and transfer to a mini blender and blend until smooth. You could use a small food processor if you would prefer the pâté with some texture. Adjust seasoning to your taste, as this dish is eaten cold, I like to overseason a touch.
  8. IF USING VEGAN BUTTER: add melted vegan butter to the blender and blend until smooth.
  9. IF USING AGAR: In a small pot, soak agar in 60 ml (¼ cup) of water for 10 minutes. Bring to a simmer, simmer for 30 seconds before adding all of the agar agar jelly (use a spatula to get it all out) to the pâté and blending until smooth.
  10. Transfer the mixture to a jar or a container a bit bigger than 360 ml (1½ cups) and allow it to set. Vegan butter version will take a few hours (overnight is best), agar version should only take about an hour or so.

BALSAMIC JELLY

  1. Soak agar agar in 60 ml (¼ cup) of water for 10 minutes.
  2. Place balsamic, porcini stock, maple syrup, soy sauce and activated agar in a small pot on low heat.
  3. Bring to a simmer. Stirring frequently, allow it to simmer for 30 seconds then cool the mixture for 10 minutes.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Once lukewarm, pour balsamic jelly over the set pâté. Place in the fridge and allow it set (30 minutes or so).
  2. Keep this pâté an air-tight jar in the fridge, it lasts for about a week. The vegan butter version of this pâté (including the jelly) freezes well, the agar version doesn’t freeze that well – it loses some of its firmness once thawed.

NOTES
*OLIVE OIL: use veggie stock to sautee aromatics and mushrooms if you want to make this dish completely oil-free.

*MARSALA WINE: You can use port, sherry or even white wine and a good pinch of sugar instead. If you don’t want to use alcohol, use more porcini stock instead.

*CASHEWS: soak them in boiling water for at least 20 minutes (can be longer!) then drain. The same applies to any other dry nuts or seeds you could use instead: walnuts or sunflower seeds. If using cooked chestnuts, there is no need to soak.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
84
4%
sugars
4 g
5%
fats
5 g
8%
saturates
1 g
4%
proteins
2 g
4%
carbs
7 g
3%
*per 1 out of 10 servings (agar version)
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5.0
15 reviews, 21 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Anne-Marie:
Absolutely delicious! I made this for a few different Christmas gatherings ( although simplified a little by missing out the balsamic jelly) and it was a hit with every single person. I've made it a couple of times since Christmas and will continue to make it for home and gifts. Thank you for this and all your creative and easy to follow recipes.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you so much, Anne-Marie! I am delighted to hear that this pate has been such a hit with you and your nearest and dearest. Thank you so much for coming back to review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Heidi:
This recipe is absolutely epic 😍👏🏆 This will become a staple in our house, we live next to an off the grid mushroom farm and I used shiitake for this. I thought I was making enough to fill only one jar, but I got three 🤭 (I might very well have messed up the numbers though 🥴) But not to worry, I will (happily) live on it for the unforseeable though 🤩
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much Heidi! I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed this recipe so much and I am only teeny tiny jealous of your shiitake farm next door (wow, just wow, any empty houses in your area....? ;) ). Thank you for taking the time to write this lovely review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Sam:
My husband made this just before Christmas. He has been a vegan for over 30 years and likes to avoid too much ready made food. It's absolutely delicious and well worth the additional effort to make it! He added dry sherry which seems to have worked out fine!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Sam, I am delighted to hear that this recipe was a success in your household and yes, sherry is a great alterantive to marsala wine! Thank you for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Rach:
This pate was SO delicious! Creamy and loaded with flavor. It was a big hit at Christmas as an appetizer with crudités and sourdough rye crackers.
I was worried about the number of ingredients and steps, but it was clear and easy to follow.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you so much, Rach! I am delighted to hear that this pâté was such a hit at your Christmas gathering and that you found the recipe easy to make too. Thank you for coming back to review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Mira:
We had a lousy mushroom year this year, but luckily I had some dried porcini from 2021 and I was able to make this. This pate is amazing! The flavors are so good! Thank you for the recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Mira, I am so happy to hear that this pâté was a success in your household and glad that 2021 poricini came to the rescue (I didn't manage to find a single one this year either!). Thank you for taking the time to review - I really appreciate it. x Ania
Nadine Storey:
This recipe is brilliant. It works perfectly. The only thing I would note is that I used agar flakes rather than powder for the balsamic gel and it’s important to boil it for longer to fully dissolve. The effect is stunning - looks very professional - and the taste is amazing. Rich, intense mushroom and the balsamic gel cuts through the richness beautifully.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Nadine, I am really happy to hear that you enjoyed the flavours of this pate and thank you for taking the time to let me know - I am really grateful. x Ania
Fergus MORAN:
Made this recipe - followed the instructions for the vegan butter based version using St Hubert as limited choice here in France and with Port. It turned out fantastic and the balsamic jelly goes really well with it. Although not looking for a fois gras equivalent, this is easily on a par. Highly recommended.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, I am really happy to hear that you enjoyed this pâté so much, Fergus. And thank you for taking the time to let me know - I really appreciate it. x Ania
Laura:
I made this for the first time for Xmas. I made the vegan butter version and it was amazing! love the balsamic jelly too! thanks for a great recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Laura! I am so pleased to hear that this pate was such a success and thank you for taking the time to write this lovely review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Deidre:
This recipe is fantastic! I made for our Christmas eve dinner and it was loved by all - meat eaters and vegans! This is my favorite vegan pate (and I have tried several!) and will definitely on repeat in our household!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you so much, Deidre. I am so delighted to hear that this recipe was hit with everyone, not just your vegan guests, and honoured that it has become your favourite pâté. And thank you for taking the time to write this lovely review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Zuza:
Delicious! Full of flavour, every ingredient fits perfectly here. Ideal not only for Christmas :D.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thans so much Zuza. I am so chuffed to hear that you loved this pate so much and plan to make it outside of Christmas too. Thank you for taking the time to review, I so appreciate it. x Ania
Dash:
Made this to have on Christmas Eve last night and it was deliciousness.
Creamy with the mushroom taste really taking centre stage and with the amazing balsamic jelly perfect.
Will be having on sourdough for Christmas breakfast.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for your kind words, Dash. I am really happy to hear that you enjoyed this pate and honoured that it was part of your Christmas Eve spread. Thank you so much for taking the time to review, I really appreciate. x Ania
Cathy:
it's not set yet, so I haven't had the total final result but OMG, EVEN WARM the taste is fabulous!!! thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that Cathy! Thank you for letting me know that you love the flavours. Merry Christmas! x Ania
Els:
Another treat! It never ceases to amaze me how you always get those flavours exactly right. This is a real delicacy.
Very happy to read that the butter version can be frozen, that way I will never have to be without ;-)
Thanks again, Ania, and merry Christmas!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw thanks so much for your kind words, Els! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the flavours of my vegan pâté and that you plan to make it again and again, that's so nice to hear. Merry Christmas! x Ania
Sanja:
Even if you are not the biggest fan of mushrooms like myself, give this pâté a try. The umami flavour it offers will go breat on any delicious bread of cracker. And the balsamic jelly gives it a lovely kick to cut through the earthiness. I would recommend being mindful about the amount of liquid you put in the mushrooms, I definitely reduced it a bit too much and was slightly too thick, but luckily it didn't affect the taste.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Sanja! I'm so happy you enjoyed it - it looked really well executed btw on your Instagram post - and thank you for taking the time to write this lovely review, I really appreciate it. Merry Christmas x Ania
Basia:
I was going to make a completely different mushroom pate for a party tomorrow! But i cannot resist trying this one and doubling the recipe 🙈
can I freeze it? I presume agar agar probably shouldn't be frozen so best freeze the pate and make the jelly afterwards?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yay, that's exciting! I hope you'll enjoy it. Yes, you are absolutely right, I've only just frozen the pate itself without the jelly (I have some in my fridge now, will freeze today to test) so that's probably a safer bet. x Ania
      Basia:
      oh nice! could you please let me know how the freezer test goes? I made the richer, butter version.
      And it was so worth doubling the recipe, this tastes divine and looks so pretty with the jelly layer. Can't wait to serve it to my guests and eat it today.
        Ania
        Ania:
        Will do! Great to hear, Basia and I hope your guests will enjoy it too! x Ania
        Ania
        Ania:
        Hi Basia,
        I updated the recipe re: freezing: The vegan butter version of this pâté (including the jelly) freezes well, the agar version doesn't freeze that well - it loses some of its firmness once thawed.. Hope this helps! Ania
          Basia:
          Excellent!! Thank you :)
Annette:
Do you have an idea of how long it would keep in the fridge?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Annette,
    It should keep for around a week! Hope this helps. x Ania
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