LIVER-FREE Vegetarian Pate (TWO!)…with Bread

When I was a kid, I used to eat chopped liver like it was going out of style. It was a treat at every family gathering during holidays, from Thanksgiving to Passover. I would sit within inches of the bowl and dip away (this was back in the Pre-Seinfeldian era when double dipping wasn’t even a misdemeanor, so I double dipped my heart out. ICK, right?). I just dipped away haphazardly, cracker after cracker after cracker (or matzo cracker after matzo cracker after matzo cracker) taking full ownership of this bowl of brown stuff with chopped eggs in it.

Two recipes for LIVER-FREE Vegetarian Pate! Chili Mushroom Pate and Tricolor Vegetable Pate! Liver free pate for those who don't like liver and those who don't eat meat!

When I was about 10-years-old, a cousin informed me of what chopped liver was made with, probably to get dibs on the bowl I was surreptitiously hogging during that particular holiday get-together. Yes, I knew what ‘liver’ was, but I either mentally blocked the word “liver”, or thought ‘liver’ was just a pseudonym for this delicious treat because it was the color of liver. I was subconsciously (and desperately) trying to separate it from the word “liver” because it was so good that I didn’t want to know.  I really really didn’t want to know.

A few months later, I watched my grandmother make it from scratch for a holiday dinner.  While pulling some blood clot looking lumps out of the wrapping from the butcher, she gently informed me that these were ‘organs’ from chickadees. From that moment on, I never touched the stuff.  I tried, but suddenly, all I tasted was liver, in a gross way. Damn.

It’s amazing what the mind can do.

So why am I talking about liver? Well, when one thinks of pate, it’s usually liver that comes to mind, and one of my favorite chickadees is hosting this month’s Daring Cooks challenge, which happens to be well, pate, with homemade bread, which always excites me.

Two recipes for LIVER-FREE Vegetarian Pate! Chili Mushroom Pate and Tricolor Vegetable Pate! Liver free pate for those who don't like liver and those who don't eat meat!

Our hostess this month, Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

Two recipes for Vegetarian Pate! Chili Mushroom Pate and Tricolor Vegetable Pate! Liver free pate for those who don't like liver and those who don't eat meat!One of the keys to all the lovely holes in ciabatta is a wet dough and very little handling of the dough..mostly folding with a bench scraper in lieu of kneading.

As mentioned above, liver seems to be the norm when it comes to your basic pate, and if it isn’t all liver, it always seems to have some liver in it. Of course, two out of the four recipes given to us are liver pates. Am I making those? NO. Am I making two yummy pates minus the liver? YES.

Initially, I was going to go off the beaten path, but then decided to keep things simple, making the tricolor vegetable pate recipe provided, and this awesome pate from Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken (Remember them from Too Hot Tamales in the early days of The Food Network?) called Killer Chilied Mushroom and Cashew Pate. The great thing is that neither pate is cooked (unless you count sauteed mushrooms, onions and garlic), and both are vegetarian! Also, the mushroom-cashew pate looks like liver pate (translation – molded dog food), but not enough to deter those who steer clear of anything that even remotely resembles liver.

Two recipes for LIVER-FREE Vegetarian Pate! Chili Mushroom Pate and Tricolor Vegetable Pate! Liver free pate for those who don't like liver and those who don't eat meat!


Regarding the bread, the really fun part for me, I made Craig Ponsford’s Ciabatta, which I covered back in 2008.   Instead of the traditional ciabatta shape, I ended up forming all of the dough, very gently with a bench scraper, into one large torpedo loaf, by softly pinching the ends, then carefully slashed it down the middle right before sliding into my steam filled oven. It turned out lovely and delicious with a beautiful ‘holey’ crumb, but ginormous in comparison to my miniature pates. Well, that’s what bread knives are for, right? They weren’t going to be pretty, perfect slices, like a longer, thinner loaf would have given me, but no big deal. Why am I so anal about these things? Maybe because I suck at food styling. (sigh)

Two recipes for Vegetarian Pate! Chili Mushroom Pate and Tricolor Vegetable Pate! Liver free pate for those who don't like liver and those who don't eat meat!

With that said, I served the chilied mushroom-cashew pate with the bread and blue corn tortilla chips. The reason for the chips? So people would eat it! It’s befuddling how everyone loved the ingredients that went into these pates, but didn’t flip over the ingredients being ground into ‘mush’ then spread then molded. I.don’ The combined ingredients, pre- food processed/mashed/pulverized – whatever, they gladly would have eaten, but once molded into a smooth, pretty mini loaf, it suddenly wasn’t as appealing.

Yes, one also eats with their eyes, but the tortilla chips were a familiar, comforting vessel that begged; “Dip me into this mushroomy-nutty Mexican dip!“,

Yep, that’s what it is, a Mexican dip, not pate! (wink-wink)

Once the tricolor veggie pate was spread on the bread, it was bread with spread, not pate, just bread with spread. Once again, I just don’t get it.  Maybe it’s also a texture thing (??).

Two recipes for LIVER-FREE Vegetarian Pate! Chili Mushroom Pate and Tricolor Vegetable Pate! Liver free pate for those who don't like liver and those who don't eat meat!

With the mushroom pate, it’s so good, why not stir some into THIS, or wrap some up for breakfast in some of THESE, or slather it on THIS?

Maybe it’ll look prettier incognito in all of the above.

Finally, when it came to the tricolor veggie pate, in viewing some of the Daring Cook’s results prior to posting day, I thought the bean layer dominated the pate too much, hiding the lovely and flavorful red-orange and green layers. I decided to cut the recipe for the bean layer in half and use equal amounts in each mold so the lovely red-orange bell pepper-feta layer and green pesto-ricotta layer got equal billing. It also made for a prettier presentation, almost reminiscent of the Italian flag, if not for my lighting making the bell pepper – feta layer look day-glo orange!

Carrot, Cauliflower, and Broccoli Pate Terrine

Vegetarian Pate

Tri-Color Vegetable Spread
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 8½x4½-inch loaf of vegetable spread
adapted from
White Bean Layer
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained thoroughly
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
Red Pepper Layer
  • 1 7-ounce red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced or 1 jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
Pesto Layer
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • Fresh herb sprigs
  • Sourdough or Ciabatta bread slices, recipe for Ciabatta linked below.
  1. Line 8½x4½-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, overlapping sides.*
For Bean Layer:
  1. Mash beans in large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread bean mixture evenly on bottom of prepared pan.
For Red Pepper Layer:
  1. Combine peppers and feta in processor and blend until smooth. Spread pepper mixture evenly over bean layer in prepared dish.
For Pesto Layer:
  1. Mince garlic in processor. Add basil, parsley and pine nuts and mince. With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube and process until smooth. Mix in ricotta. Spread pesto evenly over red pepper layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. To unmold, invert pâté onto serving platter. Peel off plastic wrap from pâté. Garnish with herb sprigs and serve with sourdough bread slices.
* I used mini loaf pans to make about 4 terrines of vegetable spread. You can find them HERE.

Chilied Mushroom Cashew Pate/Spread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: about 3½ cups of pate
Recipe courtesy of Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced (I use a mix of mushrooms, depending on what looks good at the market)
  • ½ large onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup roasted cashews, (I toast the cashew nuts first)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a medium skillet, over a high heat, melt the butter. Saute the mushrooms 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and cook until it's translucent, then add the garlic and saute for a minute or so, but don't let it brown, just translucent. Add the spices.and cook until the mixture is somewhat dry. Cool completely.
  2. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade or a blender, chop the cashews finely, then slowly add the oil to make a paste. Add the mushroom mixture and continue mixing until smooth. Taste and add more chili powder, pepper or salt, if necessary. Place in a serving bowl as a dip, or mini loaf pan lined with plastic wrap, if you want more of a terrine look like mine. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to garnish. Serve at room temperature.


For the Ciabatta Bread recipe, Click HERE.

I’m submitting the Ciabatta bread to Yeastspotting, a weekly bread baking event hosted by Susan at Wild Yeast.  Au Revoir until next time!

Bookmark and Share

This Chilied Mushroom Cashew "Pate/Spread" just might bow your mind. SO loaded with flavor! Impress your guests with a 'pate' that contains NO MEAT! I get requests for this all the time! #cashews #chilipowder #mushrooms #mixedmushrooms #pate #spread #dip
This entry was posted in Appetizers, Breads, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Hors d'oeuvres, Lunch, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Yeastspotting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to LIVER-FREE Vegetarian Pate (TWO!)…with Bread

  1. ap269 says:

    LOL. Your post was so funny! Both your pâté and ciabatta are awesome! What a wonderful crumb!!!! I also made ciabatta, but mine totally lacked the big, uneven holes… What a good idea to cut the bean part in half – I also thought the beans were too overwhelming, so I made a pâté without beans… I think I say this every month, but your pictures really ARE stunning!!!!

  2. chef_d says:

    Gorgeous tricolor pate! Mushroom-cashew pate is interesting, I might have to borrow your recipe and try it next time. And your bread is perfect! Excellent job as always!

  3. Rosa says:

    Two splendid pâtés and a wonderful bread! Life can’t be better!



  4. Suz says:

    Aha, I’m glad I’m not the only squeamish one. I decided to have a go at a liver pate, assuming I’d be alright, but I nearly had a nervous breakdown in the process! Your veggie pates look wonderful! Mushroom I hadn’t even considered making, but it does sound/look really good.

    Your bread made me pause and smile dreamily for a few moments. Such a beautiful loaf and I think your slices look gorgeous. Oh wow, I bet that smelled amazing.

  5. Valérie says:

    Oh, I am so not a liver fan myself! But for some reason I can get over it when it comes to pâté… Anyways, both your pâtés look sensational! I’m gonna have to try that cashew version! And the bread is stunning, love all the holes! Great job, and thank you for cooking with us!

  6. climbhighak says:

    That is a beautiful loaf of bread. I just had to scroll up and look at it again. Love your take on the pates and the writing is witty as always.

    Hope you are enjoying your summer.

  7. Leslie says:

    Yeah, knowing it’s the body’s toxic waste dump does detract from one’s enjoyment of eating liver pate. But the mushroom cashew one sounds amazing (and kudos to you for doing the right marketing to get people to eat it).

  8. lo says:

    I totally should have followed your lead and opted for the veggie pates… though I must admit our adventure with the liver pate was pretty priceless.

    The mushroom pate sounds fabulous (I’m a huge fan of the earthiness of the humble mushroom). Of course, it’s that gorgeous ciabatta that’s calling my name. YUM! You wouldn’t have to lure me with corn chips!

  9. Shelley says:

    I love reading your posts!! I was the exact same way – ate chopped liver (on Tam Tam crackers! Come on… you know what I am talking about) and loved it until I found out what it really was. Consequently, I went veggie on this one, too. 🙂 Your pates came out beautifully – you must have such patience, I tell you. And that bread… I wish I could jump through the screen and have a slice. YUM. Excellent job on the challenge.

  10. outoftheoven says:

    So when I unmolded my vegetable pate I was like, “there is no way to make this thing look sexy” – after seeing your pictures, I stand corrected! What amazing color, and the layers looks so perfectly executed! I will definitely half the bean layer next time as well. Your ciabatta and mushroom pate look equally wonderful – really well done!

  11. Maranda says:

    I’m so impressed with your pates and your bread. Your pictures are amazing. Great job with the challenge!

  12. Juliana says:

    Wow, your pates are beautiful…and the combination of flavors are just amazing. The pictures are awesome!

  13. Memoria says:

    The bread is calling my name!! Goodness!! You did a great job on both of the pâtés as well!

  14. jo says:

    Lisa, these are absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t help but double stare at everything … they all look so darn delicious. It’s like something I would order in a french restaurant (not that I go to a french restaurant .. LOL). You did a fantastic job and I love every single photo.

  15. monkeyshines says:

    LOL! It’s a dip, no it’s a pate! Both your pates look so beautiful and I bet they tasted phenomenal. I’d have eaten them on the bread just to snarf up all that yummy homemade bread.

    You’re more of a food stylist that we are. Fantastic job!

  16. Lori says:

    As usual a beautiful job. And your right on time girl! I have to say that ciabatta is totally calling me. I need to make ciabatta again!

    So now I am off to follow your links. (Especially the ciabatta.)

  17. Megan says:

    So creative as always! I love that you put out chips to encourage eating. I think pate is one of those things that’s very hard to convince people to try. But everyone I’ve had has been delicious… and I’m sure these are too!

  18. Ruth H. says:

    Great job! That cashew and mushroom pate looks like the “real” thing… Amazing.. I, too, have memories of dipping into the chopped liver with my mini matzahs… Much as I miss it in theory, there is no going back once you know what it really is! (’cause, gee, the name is so vague…!)

  19. Jenni says:

    Beautiful job, as always! Your loaf looks like it came from a bakery. I love how you got your tricolor vegetable pate to be so perfect – perfectly equal, perfectly level, perfectly un-wrinkled by the saran wrap. What’s your trick? The Mushroom cashew pate sounds good, too! And you are right, there is something about the word “pate” that just turns people off. But call it a “spread” or a “dip” and people are ALL OVER IT!

    • lisamichele says:

      Jenni..Thank you! What I did with the veggie pate was very simple. I used a 5 inch by 3 inch stainless steel rectangle cutter and NO saran wrap to line it. I layered 1/2 cup of the pesto on the bottom of each, then froze it for 15 minutes. Then 1/2 cup of the bean paste, frozen for another 15 minutes, then the red pepper layer. I wrapped the whole mold in plastic wrap and chilled it in the fridge overnight. I made another small pate using a circular cutter from the leftover pastes and did the same using 1/4 cup of each. They both slid out easily and smoothly, but within a half hour the pesto and red pepper layers started to ooze lol Thankfully I got the photos before then!

      As for the ciabatta, the key to those beautiful holes is a wet dough and very little handling. You have to try Ponsford’s recipe for it. I linked my step by step photo tutorial in this entry.

      • Jenni says:

        Brilliant! It makes so much sense now that you say that, but I never would have thought about doing it that way. You’re such a clever fox!!

  20. marcellina says:

    Isn’t it funny what we loved as kids (me, it was tripe..that is until I figured out what it was) and now we can’t stomach it. I wouldn’t have been able to do the liver, either but I do love the pates that you did make and the BREAD…oooohhhh!

  21. Apu says:

    The pate looks amazing!! I did a vegetarian pate too!!

  22. 5 Star Foodie says:

    The tri color pate looks so gorgeous! And I would love to try the mushroom cashew one! Both sounds great with the freshly baked bread!

  23. Aw…your one of my fav chicks too! Great job on the challenge and good move on tweeking the tri-color. Thanks for participating in our challenge. (try the liver…fight childhood horror memories)

  24. Judy says:

    Both your bread and pates look fabulous. I agree about the veggie layers — I’d double the red pepper and the pesto ones for sure. Love the bread!

  25. I’m sort of with the pre-processed is better crowd. But it does sound like a delicious flavor combination. Your bread is fabulous!

  26. tariqata says:

    Both the pates look and sound delicious – but that ciabatta? *So* perfect!

  27. Mary says:

    I ground up some liver for mine, and it was gross, so that was some smart thinking on your part! The results were so good that you could almost forget about it though. Your tricolour pate looks perfect! I could not get the red pepper layer to set. The mushroom one looks great with the parsley (?) on it, though I’m not a mushroom lover. Your bread is perfect–I have to try that!

  28. FOODESSA says:

    Evelyne must be thrilled that you participated in her challenge. You did a fantastic job. Very creative indeed. The bread looks incredibly scrumptious!
    BTW…thanks for the Italian flag…love it;o)
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  29. Katrina says:

    So I’ve been skipping over all the blogs that I’ve seen pate on this week, just because of the whole liver thing. (Great childhood story though!) But I decided to start reading what you had to say, I was sucked in by seeing your awesome bread and the lovely colors of the veggie pate. But what really sold me was how good that mushroom/cashew pate sounds. Great post, as always, Lisa.

  30. Angelica says:

    Your vegetable pate looks perfect! I had a hard time getting the feta layer to stiffen up, but yours look so pretty! The ciabatta looks wonderful with the lovely holes. Great job!

  31. I love pates – one looks like a terrine to me – but what is the difference, anyway? I cannot wait to try this. I am having a party coming up and this will be on the menu. I must have read the post earlier without responding to it – because I have drempt this will be on the menu, and needed the recipe.

  32. shaz says:

    These look absolutely gorgeous Lisa (you sure you’re nto a closet food stylist?). That bread looks amazing – bread is not my forte, but I’m determined to make more of them, will definitely give this one a go.

    Great work as usual. And speaking of eating stuff, I used to happily eat some parts of pork as a child until I suddenly realised what they were – intestines. But I can still do liver, just not in huge quantities.

  33. Lisa – I have to admit you are becoming a food stylist by stealth, the way you intuitively realised that the tricoloured pâté would be more flavoursome and beautiful by tweaking the amounts of each layer well done and it looks delicious. The other pâté sounds so so tasty. And I’m envious of your bread it is amazing so full of holes and the crust is perfect.

    Also I know all about telling children were food really comes from I told my niece where fish-fingers (fish-sticks) came from and she never eat them again – she was traumatised for years after that she told me since she loved her fish in the aquarium and keep on thinking about them.

    And you are right about perceptions and the way we eat food. The blue corn chips look goregous.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  34. Lisa I forgot to mention I just love the herbs on the outside of the mushroom/cashew pâté so pretty. Audax

  35. Jamie says:

    *snort* I grew up eating my dad’s amazing chopped liver like there was no tomorrow! Always loved it, always will, but then I never remember ever having actually seen the raw livers. Yuck! That’s the stuff my mom roasted and ate whenever she cooked chicken. Blech. But I still adore good chopped liver. My husband, although he loves all French pâtés made with almost anything, considers good old Jewish chopped liver, well, as you said, dog food. Weird!

    Now, I have always wanted to make a vegetable pâté – have loads of recipes – but never have! Too much work? But yours sound delicious and now I really want! Yum! And that bread! OMG it is perfect!!!! I have got to try it! And I think it is perfect, so much better than a baguette!

  36. trissalicious says:

    Give me the tri-color pate and the ciabatta and I’ll not only double dip – but triple dip as well! Yummmm

  37. I never got around to making chopped liver but yours look wonderful!Great job!

  38. Laura says:

    Wow, Lisa, for someone who is not repeat not a food stylist, you sure have some nice looking bread and pate pictures.

    Unbelievable bread. What a fabulous looking crumb and crust. I just made this morning the dough for Peter Reinhart’s ciabatta from his new book artisan breads everyday. I hope my bread comes out as nice as yours . . . or even close!

    Now, I so want to make those veggie pates to go with my bread. They really look tremendous (how did you get them to look so perfectly squared off?). I once made a mushroom hazelnut pate from Martha Stewart that was fabulous, so I know the cashew mushroom pate will be as delicous as it looks. Plus, I have the cashews already.

    I know what you mean about liver. I had the exact same experience with tongue. When I was a child, I thought it was really good until I realized that it was a real cow’s tongue, sliced up. Aaaaack!

    Great job with the challenge, Lisa (as always . . .)

  39. Elle says:

    Lisa, both pate’s look wonderful, but the bread is amazing…amazing! Such a beautiful texture with all those holes and gorgeous crust, too.

  40. Jessica says:

    Your bread looks beautiful! I really do enjoy making bread, however I seem to be stuck making the same kind; sandwich bread. I have never heard of vegetarian pate’. I’ve always just stayed away from it, but I think I will try to make this recipe to see what all the fuss is about! lol

  41. Both pates are stunning! And, that bread. Forget a boring baguette. That looks fantastic! I’ve made various vegetable terrines and molds, but I’ve never made a ‘real’ liver pate. Thinking about organs does make it less appetizing doesn’t it?

  42. Mimi says:

    Your grandma told you about the liver to keep you from hoarding and double dipping, lol!!

    Both pates and the bread are gorgous. I would have eaten them together! You just need new friends. 😀

  43. Veganpower says:

    Your VG pâté is beautiful, perfect and very appetizing. Mine is rough in comparison holds.
    Well done, you’re really great!

  44. Summer says:

    Oh Gos, its like u know my mind, i dont eat liver [as of now:-((] and sure i dont need to elaborate here:-)))
    But if its as deliciously and stunnigly beautiful with some gorgeous bread …well im in….
    And well with the veggie pate …im full on in…
    Creativity is ur name gurl!!
    Am so glad u got to know about BIP, and they are so reasonable too:-)
    U’ll love to bake honestly!!
    Ahh … i love what the rains do at summer, splendid!!!
    Start baking??
    Ur a wonderful baker gurl…i myself have a bigggggggggggggggggg wishlist at Bake it pretty.

  45. Hehe you make me laugh Lisa with your charming tales! You know that’s what I would have done too. I think a child purposely chooses to ignore certain information for survival or enjoyment of that item. Your pate and bread looks amazing. I would be impressed if I went to a restaurant and was served it! 🙂

  46. Sophie says:

    I don’t like eating patés but yours lokk appetizing though!

    That bread looks quite wonderful, dear friend!

  47. Dan says:

    Looks great and all veggie too – love the colors. You have a great future ahead of you.

  48. crumbsoflove says:

    Hey Lisa, thanks for dropping by my site. I always appreciate a visit. Your bread looks great (I’m not a fan of pate) and Wild Yeast is one of my favorite bread sites- I hope to see your ciabbatta there!

  49. Todd Welling says:

    Awesome job on the Croquenebouche… that will make an awesome gift from the heart!

  50. Admittedly, the mushroom and cashew combination sounds outstanding. Hmm, wonder if we could get our friends to eat it? 🙂

  51. So lovely, they look like little cubist art works!
    Have a wonderful weekend ahead.
    *kisses* HH

  52. Rysheda says:

    Looking at your desserts I almost licked my computer screen! Your fruit covered pavlova looks wonderful and delicious. I also like the photography of the smaller individual pavlovas. My horrible photography skills would not do justice to such fabulous desserts! Great job with this challenge!

  53. Simone says:

    That all looks so good Lisa! I do love liver, even though I know what it is made of… lol… Isn’t it funny how we can react when we know the things we do not want to know? Still a shame I think, as it’s not so bad.. Maybe give it a second chance?
    But having said that; your veggie versions look delicious!!

  54. Erin says:

    I can’t seem to find a link for the mushroom pate? It looks amazing!

  55. Mallory says:

    We made this for Superbowl and it was gone in minutes! Huge hit!! So much flavor! Many requests to make it again! Thanks!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *