Virtual Vegan Holiday Dinner: Carrot Pate (Appetizer Course)
No, you’re not imagining: here I am again, a mere day after my previous post–and proffering yet another holiday-themed recipe! I know: totally out of character. But it’s the holidays!
I mean, doesn’t this happen to you, too? You’re invited to a plethora of holiday parties and events; and, since you really want to see all your friends and family, you accept every invitation with the best of intentions. Then, the weekend arrives and–ack!!–not only do you have seventeen shindigs to attend on the same day, you’ve also got your own holiday cooking and baking to take care of as well! You frantically attempt to juggle all your commitments, guzzling a bit of eggnog here and a bite of a cheese ball there before racing off to the next soirée.
(No? You mean it’s just me?).
Well, when Marly (of Namely Marly) and Allyson (of Manifest:Vegan) sent out a request a while back for bloggers to participate in their Virtual Vegan Holiday potluck dinner, how could I refuse such a good party? I offered to bring along an appetizer, then set about searching through my recipes for a tried-and-true favorite. (And don’t forget to check out all the other courses being served up by other bloggers today–full list at the end of this post!).
This carrot pâté is a longtime favorite of mine, and one I’ve been serving at special occasions since my twenties. When I first started serving this at dinner parties, the recipe contained something like 4 eggs and mayonnaise; I revamped it to a vegan version over a decade ago and have been refining it ever since. It’s a fabulous offering for a cocktail party, potluck dinner, or buffet table. Just place your unmolded pâté on a serving platter and allow people to shave off their own slices (be sure to tell them it’s not cheddar cheese–something my guests seem to assume in alarming numbers!). Leftovers are great on toast the next day (in fact, I’ve been known to slather some on an Oatmeal Poppyseed Scone for breakfast–sort of like a carrot jam), in a sandwich for lunch, or as an afternoon snack with crackers.
Because the carrots are first boiled, then baked, they release their natural sweetness and become meltingly soft, almost custard-like, when blended with the other ingredients. I enjoy the hint of thyme in this pâté, but if you’re not a fan, just leave it out or substitute with another favorite herb (I think tarragon would be superb in this, or a pinch of nutmeg).
I actually posted an earlier iteration of the recipe, waaaay back when this blog was still a young’un, but since there were only, like, eight of you reading at that time (okay, I just went back and checked: it was 12 of you), I thought it prudent to post it again, updated for the ACD; I also added a kick of spice in this version, courtesy of either sriracha or chili flakes. Besides, I felt obliged to shoot a new photo so that you wouldn’t assume the pâté was truly the same shade of neon orange that appears in the first picture. . . oh, wait a sec. Scratch that last comment.
Okay, so maybe it does have an electric orange hue. But I promise you, you will love this pâté. Just think of the color as lively, energetic, festive. . . inviting. Sort of makes you want to party, doesn’t it?
“Mum, we like to party, too, you know! And by ‘party,” we mean ‘eat some of that pâté,’ of course! Thanks for making recipe, too, Mum–we were getting nervous with all of that chocolate around the past few days.”
Carrot Pâté (Suitable for ACD Stage 2 and Beyond)
Unlike a traditional pâté, this carrot spread is smooth, creamy, and light–almost like a dense custard. The flavor is a tantalizing combination of sweet, tangy and spicy, and works perfectly with crackers or hearty bread.
1 pound (about 455 g) carrots, trimmed and peeled (6-8 large carrots)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
2 Tbsp (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) light or white mellow miso*
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) dried thyme or about 1 tsp (5 ml) fresh (I used 3 stalks)
1 package (12 ounces/375 g) extra-firm silken tofu (I used Mori-Nu)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) potato starch
1 tsp (5 ml) sriracha (for ACD Stage 3 or later) or 1/4 tsp (1 ml) chili flakes (for ACD Stage 2 or later)
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh parsley or cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 325F (170C). Spray four individual ramekins or 3 mini loaf pans with nonstick spray, or line with parchment. Place the ramekins or pans on a cookie sheet and set aside.
Place the carrots in a large pot of lightly salted water and bring to the boil over high heat. Lower heat slightly and cook until the carrots are just tender, 7-10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
Place the carrots and remaining ingredients in a powerful blender (I use a VitaMix) or food processor and blend until perfectly smooth and no traces of tofu are visible.
Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins. Bake (on the cookie sheet) in preheated oven for 50-65 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet about halfway through, until the pâté is puffed slightly and the top appears dry.
Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. To unmold, invert ramekin on a serving plate and shake once to loosen the pâté (if it doesn’t come out easily, run a sharp knife along the edge of the ramekin before unmolding). Garnish with more fresh herbs if desired. Serve with crackers or bread. Makes 10-12 appetizer servings. Will keep, covered in the refrigerator, up to 4 days.
* Note: you can replace the miso with cashew butter, tahini, or another nut butter if you like; I sometimes use half miso and half cashew butter for a creamier result.
Here’s the rest of the Virtual Vegan Holiday Dinner Lineup:
Carrot Pâté by Yours Truly
Winter Warmer Cocktail by Pea Soup Eats
Vegan Holiday Casserole by Namely Marly
Crescent Rolls by That’s So Vegan
The Best Part: Desserts
Four Ingredient Vegan Pumpkin Pie by Lunch Box Bunch
Skillet Pear Gingerbread Cake by The Tolerant Vegan
Chocolate Pecan Cookie Pies by Your Vegan Mom
EggonogCheesecake by Manifest Vegan
Four Years Ago: Silence, Snow and Sweets
© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs