This is a guest post by my friend Ricki Heller of rickiheller.com. Ricki is an educator, writer, cookbook author, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and lover of all things canine. Her books include Living Candida-Free and Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free. Enjoy this sample recipe from her collection for Country Style Veggie Pâté.
In Pursuit of a “Meaty” Vegan Roast
One of my favorite sayings is “there are no mistakes in cooking—only new recipes.” On more than one occasion, I must admit, I’ve referred to that concept when my intended culinary outcome just didn’t match what I had in my mind (or what the recipe said it should be). This time, however, my “new recipe” turned out to be far better than my original intention.
This past Christmas, I decided to cook up a new variation of nut roast (my holiday staple) for our main dish. I’ve been cooking the same nut roast for a few years now, and as much as I loved the original recipe, I felt like a change. I also love sweet potatoes, so I opted to make them a main feature of this roast.
A second key ingredient was buckwheat, a gluten-free seed that is often used as a grain. If you’ve never had it, buckwheat confers a slightly earthy, slightly nutty taste—perfect for a vegan meaty “roast.” I did a bit of poking around the Internet, browsed through a few cookbooks, and came up with my own spin on the idea. The result was utterly delicious! Rich, savory, slightly smoky and slightly meaty. . . but, unfortunately, much less firm than my typical loaf.
Wait, It’s Pâté Campagnard!
Yet, I couldn’t resist going back again and again to “sample” the final recipe. It occurred to me that I had already eaten that particular combination of ingredients, baked in just that way and with just that outcome, before. Suddenly, I was awash with the memory of Pâté Campagnard!
You see, although I live in Ontario, the rest of my family lives in Quebec (where I grew up). There’s a particular Montreal-based company that produces all kinds of fabulous vegan fare, including some stellar appetizer pâtés. The one that I used to enjoy the most (before I went gluten free) was called Pâté Campagnard or “Country Style Veggie Pâté.” And, as far as I could tell, that’s just what my newfangled roast tasted like!
I decided to cook up the recipe again, this time deliberately modeling it on the pâté I knew and loved; I even baked it in a square pan, cutting into pâté-sized blocks, to emulate that French brand.
Well, I’ve been enjoying an imaginary sojourn in Montreal ever since. The pâté is robust and filling enough to eat as the base of a sandwich for lunch; it’s great in lettuce wraps for a light meal; it makes a satisfying breakfast when spread on a bagel; and, of course, it’s perfect to serve when entertaining friends, along with crackers and other appetizers. There’s no mistake about it: however you decide to enjoy it, you’ll find this pâté a winner.
Special Diet Notes: Country Style Veggie Pâté
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- ½ cup dry buckwheat groats (kasha)
- 1-1/4 cups vegetable broth or stock
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1-1/4 cups peeled and cubed roasted sweet potato
- 1 large zucchini, trimmed and grated (you can leave the skin on)
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- Pinch nutmeg
- ¾ cup lightly toasted sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons finely ground flax seeds
- 3 tablespoons soy or chickpea flour
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray.
- Bring the broth to a boil in a small pot.
- Add the buckwheat, lower heat to simmer, and cover.
- Simmer for 15-18 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed; removed from heat and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frypan and add the onion and garlic.
- Sauté until the onion is golden and the garlic has begun to brown.
- Add the sweet potato and zucchini along with the rosemary, parsley, tarragon and nutmeg and continue to cook until the zucchini releases most of its liquid.
- Turn off heat.
- In the bowl of a food processor, grind the sunflower seeds, flax seeds and soy flour until it reaches the consistency of a fine meal.
- Add the onion-vegetable mixture and process until almost smooth.
- Add the cooked buckwheat to the processor; process until desired consistency is reached (I like it perfectly smooth, more like a conventional pate; you can leave it a bit grainy if you prefer).
- Stir in the ½ cup buckwheat by hand, but do not process again.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 70 minutes, until the outside is crisp and browned.
- Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing.