My refrigerator is never without one of three things; Hummus bi Tahini, 5 Ingredient Cannellini Bean Spread and this Red Lentil & Walnut Pâté. All of which have the following characteristics in common; extremely easy to make, easy to transport for potlucks, pic-nics and lunch on the run, spreadable and “dip-able”, make a great snack, appetizer or accompaniment to any meal and let’s not forget wholesome, nutritious and DELICIOUS!
Beans & legumes are an essential part of a macrobiotic diet and should be eaten regularly, but in small doses. In fact, the macrobiotic guidelines call for 5-10% of your food intake to come from beans & legumes. They are considered to have a vital life force; if planted they give life, and in that same way they can provide your body with the energy you need to get through the day.
Unfortunately, beans & legumes can be problematic for some folks, in that they can be difficult to digest and cause flatulence. We’ve all heard the famous bean song haven’t we?
Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So we have beans at every meal!
Thankfully, I have never had these issues with beans and legumes. But if you do have this problem, have no fear, there are solutions.
Beans, with the exception of lentils and peas, require soaking for 6-8 hours and then cooking for 1-2 hours before they are edible and digestible. Soaking the beans with a piece of Kombu seaweed and then cooking them with the Kombu and adding sea salt in the last 10 minutes of cooking makes them easier to digest.
Be careful when buying Kombu and make sure you are getting it naturally cultivated as it can also be found chemically produced and sprayed with MSG.
This seaweed is used extensively in Japanese cooking and specifically to make Dashi, a broth that forms the basis of many soups and other Japanese dishes.
Lentils are great because they don’t need to be soaked, and are easier to prepare. They are also easier to digest. Red lentils in specific are among the easiest to prepare and digest and just happen to be my favourite variety of lentils as they are the sweetest and the nuttiest of the bunch, kind of like me. They also get quite mushy when cooked, making them the perfect ingredient for a pâté.
If you’ve been reading my other posts, you’ve probably guessed that I love walnuts given the amount of recipes I’ve used them in and in this pâté they combine perfectly with red lentils to form a flavorful and robust spread.
Red Lentil & Walnut Pâté
- 1/2 C Red Lentils
- 2 1/2 C of Water
- 5 cm piece of Kombu Seaweed
- 1/3 C Walnut Halves
- 1/2 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Shallot
- 1 Clove of Garlic
- 1 Tsp Umeboshi Vinegar
- 1 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tsp Shoyu or Tamari
- 1/2 Tsp Thyme
- 1/2 Tsp Oregano
- Pinch of Salt
- Sweet Paprika for topping
- Soak red lentils in cold water for about 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly until water is clear and no longer cloudy. Strain the lentils and let drip in a fine mesh colander.
- Add lentils to a pot and toast slightly until dry. Add water and a piece of kombu. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes until lentils are well cooked and liquid has been absorbed. Lentils should be mushy but not runny. Remove from heat, set aside and let cool. Discard the Kombu at this stage as it is rather tough in texture and won’t blend nicely in the spread.
- In the meantime, finely dice and sauté shallots in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add pressed garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
- Coarsely chop walnuts and add them to the pan. Dry toast on medium heat until slightly browned. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from pan and let cool.
- Once cooled, combine lentils, walnuts and shallots in a food processor or small bowl. Add Umeboshi and Balsamic vinegars, Shoyu or Tamari, Thyme, Oregano and a pinch of salt.
- Process ingredients together until you a have a smooth and creamy spreadable pâté without chunks (if using a bowl, use a hand blender to make the pâté).
- Transfer to a bowl or serving dish and sprinkle with sweet Paprika.
Serve with good quality sourdough bread, crackers or vegetables. Here I’ve shown them served with some store bought delicious red and yellow corn galettes that are made from ground puffed corn and sea salt.