wild mushroom pâté

Every spring, I promise I’m going to share a recipe for chopped liver. And every year I lose steam, perhaps because there are probably few more divisive foods than organs, or maybe because my instructions on the matter are quite short: just make Ina Garten’s. Ina can do no wrong, and I like to amuse myself by imagining that I’m only eight bestselling cookbooks and three homes in two countries away from basically being her when I grow up. (Sure Deb. Okay.)

creminis, oyster, chanterelle and porcini
as many cool mushrooms as you wish

But I like this year’s distraction the most, which came from me wondering what a vegetarian chopped liver might entail. The first thing it would need to do is lose the word liver, so not to scare away children of any age. Second, I hoped it would embrace rather humble ingredients like mushrooms that when cooked down to concentrated nubs, pack an unexpectedly fragrant and earthy complexity. And finally, although there are recipes for wild mushroom pâté from one end of the web to the other, I was hoping it would have a Jewish/Eastern European vibe, reminiscent of the promised chopped liver — rich, ample browned onions, making use of hard-boiled eggs, and served on matzo crackers, likely with pickles.

let's brown some onionscooking down the mushrooms, with steamcooked and cooleda cook's dread: mounds of brown food

Now, I realize that most of us probably do not have a pâté-shaped hole in our lives. Most of us do not have champagne and melba toast happy hours on the reg; this isn’t Heathers. But, when you move pâté past its usual residence in an appetizers course, I find a jar of this in the fridge to be a surprisingly useful and flavorful condiment. Last night, we tossed it with some pasta, its cooking water and pecorino for deeply flavorful dinner, along with an arugula salad (and steamed broccoli for you-know-who). Today, it’s going to reinvent itself as a sandwich spread, maybe with sliced hard-boiled eggs or just lettuce and goat cheese. I could imagine stirring it into a simple risotto at the end, folding it into a breakfast crêpe, or dolloping it on a white three-cheese pizza right before baking.

wild mushroom pâté

And while, if all goes well, you’re basically going to end up with the home cook’s dread — a mound of brown food — I couldn’t help but notice that there’s something decidedly spring-like about it. It looks like, well, potted dirt, with some hopeful sprigs of weeds, tufts of yellow mimosas, pinkish rings of pickled shallot. I’ll take it.

wild mushroom pâté

More Easter and Passover inspiration:
easter on pinterest passover on pinterest

One year ago: Three-Bean Chili
Two years ago: Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini
Three years ago: Raspberry Coconut Macaroons
Four years ago: Spaetzle
Five years ago: Hazelnut Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies and Baked Kale Chips
Six years ago: Homemade Chocolate Wafers + Icebox Cupcakes
Seven years ago: Swiss Easter Rice Tart
Eight years ago: Mixed Berry Pavlova

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: The Crispy Egg
1.5 Years Ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
2.5 Years Ago: Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto
3.5 Years Ago: Apple and Honey Challah

Wild Mushroom Pâté

I used a mix of mostly cremini (baby bella or brown) mushrooms, plus oyster and chanterelle. Use whatever mushrooms you can find that you like the flavor of, or, feel free to use just brown mushrooms; you’ll still get a lot of flavor. This is a flexible recipe; you’ll probably be just fine if you don’t have any dried porcini or cepe, although I do love the extra oomph of flavor here. If you need to skip the alcohol, the pocini stock alone should give you enough flavor that you might not miss it terribly. But, of course, we liked this best as written below.

Yield: 2 cups pâté

1 ounce dried porcini or cepe mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion or a combination of chopped onions and shallots (I used 1 cup onion, 1/2 cup shallots)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds mixed fresh mushrooms, any tough stems discarded and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (use half if dry)
1/4 cup Madeira, Marsala or sherry, or 1/2 cup white wine

To serve
Crackers or matzo, sieved hard-boiled egg, chopped flat-leaf parsley and/or chives, small pickles or cornichons, additional caramelized onions or pickled shallots or red onions (recipe below)

Combine dried mushrooms and boiling water in a small bowl and let soak for 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms, finely chop and set aside. Strain soaking liquid through a paper towel or coffee filter to remove any grit and set it aside.

Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and shallots, if using, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until they brown at the edges. Raise heat to high and add fresh mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, sauteeing, until mushrooms brown further and release their liquid. Cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, then add Madeira, Marsala, sherry or wine and do the same. Add rehydrated mushrooms and their soaking liquid, and cook this almost completely off. No liquid should run into the center if you drag your spoon through the mushrooms, clearing a path. Adjust seasonings to taste — seasoning is everything here — then stir in last tablespoon of butter.

Let mixture cool to lukewarm, then blend in a food processor or blender until desired consistency — I like mine almost but not completely smooth, although pâté is traditionally very smooth. Let chill in fridge for a few hours before serving, giving the flavors a chance to settle. Pâté keep in fridge for 5 days, in an airtight container.

Serve with crackers and garnishes of your choice. To make an egg “mimosa”, peel a fully cooled hard-boiled egg. I like to cut mine into quarters and press each quarter, yolk side down, through a fine-mesh sieve until the flecks of egg fall decoratively on top. To pickle red onions or shallots, combine 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup cold water, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a jar. Add thinly sliced onion or shallot and cover with lid; let pickle in fridge ideally for at least an hour. Pickled onions will keep for two weeks in the fridge.

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143 comments on wild mushroom pâté

  1. Paula

    1. Thank you for referencing Heathers in this post. 2. Thank you for dreaming of a vegetarian pate. Because my husband loves the stuff, and even my lamb-eating self can’t get behind the idea of liver mousse.

  2. Charlotte in Toronto

    This looks great. I’ll be serving this along side rosemary crostini made from a stale baguette with a glass of wine to wash it down. Thank you again for another fantastic idea.

  3. Sophie

    My Nanny’s amazing vegetarian chopped liver is ultra-caramelized onions (in butter), pulverized with hardboiled eggs and walnuts. It’s delicious, and for years, my brothers and I thought “liver” was a vegetable.

  4. Should we be expecting a recipe for spaghetti – with lots of oregano – coming soon?

    Incidentally, your mushroom and spinach with baked eggs was made in my Kosher for Passover kitchen last year, but served at my in-law’s Easter brunch. It was a nice change from the frittata I usually whip up for Easter so I can have something to eat at their house.

  5. denise

    This sounds delicious. I’m obsessed with mushrooms but married to a mushroom hater so I’ll have to eat the whole thing by myself and I’m wondering if I can cut back on the olive oil by half? Trying to cut back on calories without too much pain!

  6. Sophie

    And unrelated passover question — any possible substitute for wine in a charoset recipe? Someone in my family can no longer have any alcohol.

  7. My entire family adores mushrooms, and as someone who can’t eat regular pâté for more than two bites (I know, blasphemy), I can’t wait to try this out! Also, I love your springy set-up with the mason jar and serving suggestions. It’s so pretty.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  8. EasterBunny

    Feel free to delete this comment
    I just wanted to share that i had a very annoying experience with one of the advertisers on your site

    Let me stress, I am so grateful that your site is free and if ads is what keeps it that way, by all means, bring em!
    That said, when an advertiser takes over the entire page and makes it nearly impossible to find how to close the ad, it makes for very unfun and stressful user experience.

    So jsut letting you know, that this site took over my page and interfered with my experience here. In any case, back to the recipe – will soooo try this for my vegan sister (thinking of adding pine nuts instead of butter)!

    Disturbing advertiser: lindusa com /shop /easter-chocolate

  9. deb

    denise — You definitely can, although it’s there in such a high amount because pate is all about richness. Still, there’s enough going on that you’ll probably be just fine. Just don’t miss that pat of butter at the end; it gives more flavor than all of the fat that goes in in the beginning.

    Sophie — Do you ever buy that Kedem grape juice? It’s a bit sweet, but somewhat wine-y.

    Easter bunny — Sorry about that. We will try to remove it Do understand, these ads come through in batch buys we have little control over these days. I’ve never once said “Oh, this terrible ad will ruin everyone’s reading experience but make me loads of money? I’ll take it!” No individual ad makes enough money to be worth any trouble, nor do we prioritize earnings over happy readers. It’s more that advertisers are getting more and more greedy and now mostly want to buy pop-ups, making it hard for sites like this that would rather have quiet, unobtrusive ones. My god, even the NYT now attacks with pop-ups regularly (and has sponsored content, uugh), which means that there’s no hope for the rest of us…

  10. Chelsea

    Looks awesome. If you happen to get to London anytime soon there is a stall at Borough Market (under London Bridge), Pate Moi, that sells the most amazing mushroom pate which we affectionately call Mushroom Crack. Can’t wait to try the recipe above!

  11. Karin

    Mmm, I love liver wurst, but it doesn’t taste like liver. My mum used to make it homemade, that tasted like liver but I wouldn’t touch it. This I will definitely have to give a try!

  12. Ellie

    To Easter Bunny re: website ads. I have ADBLOCK, shareware which blocks most website ads. I got it a long time ago; I don’t know if it’s still available. It blocks all ads from the margins but isn’t effective for those annoying ads which pop up in the middle of the page.
    It occurs to me that if Adblock isn’t available anymore there must be apps which will do the trick.

    I’m enjoying the great recipes on Smitten Kitchen.

  13. Deanna

    I’ve had my eye on Ina’s chopped liver recipe for awhile, and I think this weekend is just the time to make it. The mushroom pate will go over really well with all the people in my family who don’t eat liver. Weirdos.

  14. Kelsey

    This looks so good!
    Tiny little request. Is it possible to provide, um, a grocery list at the beginning of the week? Problem is, I always want to make your recipes right away but don’t have the required ingredients on hand! And since I live in the middle of nowhere instead of NYC, I can’t just pop the corner to get the stuff when I decide that your mushroom pate looks way better than whatever I had planned for dinner.

    Maybe it’s just me that is not patient enough to wait until after the Saturday grocery run to make all your recipes . . .

  15. I made a mushroom pate very similar to this last year for a vegetarian crudite board for my mother (who needs to be on an extremely low protein diet) and her vegetarian houseguests. And it was definitely the best thing on the whole board.

    Next time I’m totally trying your version.

  16. A second voice here for walnut spread as a vegetarian substitute for chopped liver. My mother started making it twenty years ago for a vegetarian relative, and the entire family fell so in love with it that it’s become as much a staple of the Passover meal as the meat-based alternative. As Sophie writes, it’s basically a chopped liver recipe with walnuts substituted for the meat – just grind in the food processor with onions and hard-boiled eggs.

  17. Vidya

    Deb, this looks amazing! Thank you!

    On a side note – we stayed in Brooklyn for a few days over the holidays, and visited Shelsky’s every day. I believe they had a vegetarian chopped liver that tasted incredible! Even my meat eater brother thought it was good.

  18. Nancy

    A couple of questions if you please…is it one ounce of dried mushrooms? It says “1 ounces”, so I want to make sure I have it right. Also, do you use 1 tsp of dries or fresh thyme? Thank you very much!

  19. i love pate, and i love mushrooms–honestly, i think putting a dab of this on a slab of pate on a nice piece of bread sounds delicious…maybe a bit too much though? ha. the mushroom pate would definitely be a great addition to a grilled cheese, though. especially with gruyere!

  20. Ah, the memories! I first had liver pate years ago in New York, when I still wasn’t vegetarian and I went out with a friend and his family who are Jewish. It was really good! Much better than one would expect from the word ‘liver’. Then again, the best pate I tried in NY was the lentil-mushroom vegan ‘faux gras’ which was all kinds of amazing. I’d love to give this one a try!Now, if I could only get some bagels… :)

  21. Gina Moore

    Just so you know I idolize you and want to be you when I grow up almost as much as Ina. Like you said, the apartment in Paris (and the other houses) and the 8 cookbooks are a lot to compete with! But seriously I love everything you do and make and where you live and how you live. Deb=amazing. We have used 3 of Ina’s books for Cookbook Club and yours was still our best CBC dinner of them all! I swear!

  22. Looks delicious! I love this kind of food for a dinner party starter, although I have to stop myself eating it as it can be so moreish! And your photography is ace… Thanks for sharing.

  23. deb

    Nancy — Whoops, my bad editing. Just one ounce is fine (and seriously, if you use a tiny bit more or less, you’ll be fine) and I meant fresh thyme leaves. Will clarify. If you only have dry, use 1/2 or 1/4 unless you’re hoping for a more present thyme flavor — this is a definitely subtle level.

    Kelsey — I completely agree that it would be excellent and I promise that if I ever plan more than 3 hours ahead in my cooking, I will.

    (There is a rare week or three a year that I write out a Site Recipe Plan more than a week out and it’s wonderful. But it’s never on these weeks/months when it’s not quite spring with fresh stuff growing and no longer winter. I’m almost always at a loss for what’s next… Speaking of, I keep trying to sell my family on the idea of an Almond Joy Cake, almost like a giant macaroon, and nobody is interested. Should I trade them in for a family with better taste or are they giving me a fair warning that it’s a terrible idea?)

    Gina — Oh my goodness. Thank you.

  24. Who doesn’t have a pate-shaped hole in their life?! Mine is BOTTOMLESS. I could easily accommodate 4 or 5 other people’s worth. However, the only thing I may love more than the liver version, is the mushroom one. Thanks! I can’t wait to try it with the stockpile of glorious mushrooms I bagged at the farmer’s market this weekend. Adios frittata plans!

  25. anne

    Hi Déb, I have a question: I know you said team schmaltz, but if I would like this dairy free and vegetarian – can I just replace all of the butter but olive oil or so you think the taste would be overwhelming? Or that the pate would not hold up? What do you think?

  26. Susan

    Hahahahhahaha…Dirt? hahaha…potted dirt? hahahha…I think you’ve been hanging around 5yr olds! It’s soil, Deb. On a recipe site, it’s probably better if any brown nubby textured food reminds one of soil…at the very least. Dirt!…hahahahahahah!

  27. jwg

    This sounds wonderful, but could you please add some liver recipes to your to-do list ? There must be a few of us out here who would thank you.

  28. i love my husband, he’s a wonderful partner and father to our children. but his aversion to mushrooms is starting to seriously affect my quality-of-life. after seeing a recipe like this, i’m just not sure our marriage is going to work out.

  29. Anna

    I have a packet of dried morels in my pantry. Would those work in place of the porcini/cepes? I know nothing about dried mushrooms.

  30. Laura

    Goodness sakes, Deb! Don’t forget you’re gestating! You’ve been pumping out some great ideas here recently and your posting frequency leaves many other food bloggers in the dust, but do feel free to slow yourself down a bit and enjoy your bamino – the one on the inside and the one on the outside. As if you needed my permission ;) I appreciate your work.

  31. ballardelle

    Yes! we make a non-pureed version of this from Modernist Cuisine called mushroom marmalade (see “Tips and substitutions” at — suggest reducing the butter by 1/3). It goes well with everything. Outside of Passover, I sometimes wrap the mushroom marmalade with chevre in phyllo dough to make triangle packets. Always a big hit, and they may be made in advance and frozen until ready to bake. Wishing you a good seder, Deb!

  32. Panya

    @ Sophie — I don’t drink or use alcohol in my cooking and I’ve always used Kedem grape juice in my charoset [and other things that call for red wine; I use vegetarian stock in place of white wine in savory dishes; or leave either out if it’s a small enough amount or if it’s just going to be “cooked out”].

  33. We’re big fans of Ina here too. You’re daydreaming sounds incredibly familiar :)
    For anyone who’s never made a pate; do yourself a favour. You do feel quite fancy about yourself afterwards. Mushroom pates are wonderful too! Nice one.

  34. Lorna

    I’m going on o make this for Fridays sedar. I can used margarine instead of butter and still get a good flavor? I was going to make this with walnuts but I think you just saved me 1000 calories.

  35. Deb, I love how you can talk your way out of the not directly appetizing way mushroom pate looks! :) I also was a pate lover as a child, but don’t eat a lot of meat anymore, though I am in Madrid, which is pate-lovers paradise. You made me very happy with this recipe. Thanks!

  36. Your readers are really delightful–and your recipes are great. i have a small gourmet catering business here in Europe and am always looking around for new recipes. Last year I daringly offered an absolutely delicious chicken liver paté at a buffet for 400 people and it was the ONLY thing (from 30 Antipasti) that didn´t get eaten! I love chicken liver (but only from my organic farm friends)–but sadly for me, it looks like a lot of people hate the word “liver”. So I will make it again this year for the same big bash, using your recipe, and will call it “Porcini and Morchel Paté” and serve it in little tiny paper cups and put a big bowl of garlic toast next to it and see what happens. I`ll let you know how much gets eaten!

    I have a question that puzzles me.
    Why are people in the States so worried about calories? I know there are huge numbers of extremely fat people on the streets there now, but I doubt the fault is calories. Something else must be at the root of it. It is so unusual and I notice it more all the time, whenever I come home. Growing up in New York in the 40`s, I rarely witnessed extreme obesity. No offense meant. Does anyone have an explanation? Not enough movement? Only eating “empty calories” (sugar and white bread)? Please don´t be insulted, I´m really wondering. It´s so unusual to see in Europe, why should that be?

  37. SO glad you posted this, I bought all these mushrooms at the grocery store. The problem is, we’ve leaving on vacation in 2 days and I have to get rid of them. Wife was NOT happy with me. But we love our “Schrooms” Great recipe!

    Anyhow, Ina is quite fascinating. That chocolate cake you made a couple of weeks back reminded me of the cake she made for her own anniversary. At first I thought, Dang, it’s your anniversary, just go out to eat. Then I thought, Hmmmm, must be cool to be a good enough cook that what you make is so much better than anything you can get out there!

  38. Vickie S.

    Wow! I love to make chopped liver, but no one besides me likes it so I rarely prepare it. I have a recipe for a yummy mushroom pate that I clipped from the newspaper about 20 years ago, but yours looks even better! As a true recipe-oholic, I’m always trying to fine the next best recipe for what I already have, and I think this is one of them!

  39. Lauren

    Precious photo of the “big-brother-to-be”, this is one that you will be VERY glad to have in future. Small new person will laugh to see it, and when framed juxtaposed with baby’s own first “swing” in it, will be as precious to both of them, as it will be to you and daddy. But I digress…I am dazzled by the pate option, can’t eat mushrooms though, but my kids can and this will be just what my daughter and DIL will LOVE to make (and eat). For me it is liver all the way, there was an old slogan from the 60’s that stated “with liver you can live” so I plan to attempt to equal Methuselah.

  40. Christine

    Oooh. Mushrooms are a favorite around here. There’s a bar near the house that sells a “mushroom melt” that is basically toasted challah, melted gruyere and mushroom pate/duxelle, that you dip into a mushroom broth/cream and it is DELICIOUS. I should make your pate and recreate the sandwich assuming I get past eating it straight up.

  41. This sounds delicious, especially all the ways to use it. For some reason I haven’t had pate in a while but do enjoy it now and again, so maybe this will be a good transition back in to eating it a bit more!

  42. deb

    Making this dairy free — Yes, I joked about using schmaltz but of course, definitely you can skip the butter and replace it with more olive oil, or just a neutral oil. Maybe you have truffle oil? It’s very much not my thing, but if you like it, you might use a dash of it at the end where the final pat of butter might have gone.

    I forgot to mention CHEESE — I’ve seen many versions of this that finish the recipe by blending in soft goat cheese and/or cream cheese. It wasn’t what I was going for here, but I bet there are people out there that would love it with a creamier, tangy finish.

    Anna — I think they’d be great here. This is definitely a flexible recipe. They have a different flavor, but still a delicious one.

    Laura — Thank you. I do get a huge burst of energy in the 2nd trimester, and I hope it lasts; I remember feeling pretty grand right through 39 weeks last time, although that was six years ago.

    Vivante — If we had the answers to these questions, we probably wouldn’t be so obsessed with it. Everyone wishes answers were more clear, and that solutions that worked for some people worked for everyone.

  43. Jenny

    This looks great, but I’m not always crazy about “fancy” mushrooms. Do you think this would work with the humble white or baby bella mushrooms? Or will it be lacking in flavor compared to the porcini?

  44. Ooh I could totally get down with this! The German boy who sat next to me in geometry class would eat pate during class. I was grossed out by it until one day he offered me some. It was great!

  45. FarmerBarb

    Somehow this recipe reminds me of my introduction to your site, which was the Cheese Forte recipe. It gets me thinking, “gee, I could do that…” and then I’ll do it! So I think today’s shopping list is going to heavy on the mushrooms–thanks.

  46. Not to be difficult, but in the four-picture montage, fourth from top, are the lower two pictures deliberately identical?

    If there is anyone who can make a mound of brown food look terrific, it’s you. That first picture is evidence.

  47. Tess

    I do! I have a pate-shaped hole in my life! A vegan Polish woman shared her amazing mushroom pate with me and I have been dreaming of it ever since. Hers was quite firm, not wet but not dry, and I think it was baked… you could slice it and then smush it onto your bread. Can this recipe be baked in a loaf pan do you think? Either way, I can’t wait to try this!

  48. Tiny Twinkletoes

    Since I turned vegetarian (hmm, that sounds like a vegetable gone bad) I had actually forgotten that I used to love liver pate. I guess since it is liver, after all, I didn’t miss it *that* much. But now… hey, I can have it again. Without the liver. Even better. Thanks! And חג פסח שמח

  49. JenP

    Deb — Just made a batch of this. Delicious! I wonder if you or anyone else has tried to freeze a batch for future use?

  50. Felice

    I really need to keep this recipe kosher for Passover and I don’t have decent wine this year. I do, however, have KP brandy. Do you think that would work instead of the wine, and how much would you use? Thanks and have a zeissen Pesach, as we say here in the South.

  51. Omar

    “….and I like to amuse myself by imagining that I’m only eight bestselling cookbooks and three homes in two countries away from basically being her when I grow up. (Sure Deb. Okay.)”

    Comedy Gold! LOL

  52. emily

    my local farmer’s market includes a vendor who raises multiple varieties of oyster mushrooms as well as other “wild” mushrooms. I know what I will be buying on Saturday morning!

  53. Christine


    I use brandy in place of sherry in LOTS of recipes – I usually use a little less but I really like it with mushrooms.

  54. This really does look delicious! I might have to make this for my Easter dinner, and I can’t wait to go to my farmer’s market this weekend and get some fresh mushrooms.

  55. Ashley

    I made this last night… Yum! My one question is this: do you really use a TABLEspoon of salt when pickling the shallots? I just tasted mine and they’re very salty. Not a huge pickle fan anyway so wasn’t sure if that’s how they’re supposed to be?


  56. How did you know I have a pate shaped hole in my life? I’m going to try this AND Ina’s Chopped Liver because well..Ina. And then I’m on the search for a liverwurst recipe! It’s all good in my opinion…

  57. anne

    I just made this – it´s now in the fridge. I tasted the pate still warm – it was absolutely delicious, don’t get fooled by the relative simplicity of the recipe. Very tasty. Next time I might put more thyme – though the flavors might come through once cold. I made it entirely with olive oil, no butter. Seemed to work fine. Thank you for posting the recipe: I would have never thought of it! It’s time consuming but you can easily go do things for some of stuff (eg when you’re waiting for the liquid to cook off)

  58. Nancy in CA

    Oh my goodness. Mushrooms, pate, and pickled shallots. Be still my heart. I would definitely try this with schmaltz in place of the butter – since schmaltz is essential to chopped liver, no? I adore pate, but have friends who turn their noses up at liver. Here’s just the thing!

    I devoutly wish our Seder hostess believed in appetizers, but, alas, she doesn’t. Nor potato kugel. I am a Swede, a craving for potatoes runs through my DNA. It’s always a lovely meal, and we look forward to it all year. This year I’m on macaroon detail.

  59. Mushroom pate sure sounds delicious. I’ve been convening my husband since long to try liver pate. I will make this one to at-least give him taste of a pate!! Thank you for posting the recipe, Deb.

  60. Anna Dhody

    I just made this for Passover and my husband adores it! I ended up using a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen mushrooms and instead of regular olive oil I used their truffle olive oil! As I was blending it in the processor I added about a tablespoon of that oil instead of the butter. AMAZING!

  61. Well this is one child of a certain age who would be scared off by liver. I’ve started eating beets a couple years ago, which was a life long–Gak—but haven’t worked way up or down depending on how you look at it to liver. NOW mushrooms—-I love those—-adding Marsala to anything (Yikes am I including liver in that statement—Not) adding Marsala to MOST anything gets my vote.

  62. Pate is one of my guilty pleasures!
    And you’re right, while it’s brown food in a jar, it does have a Spring feel to it. Now I just wish I could eat this right now, I have a feeling all the stores are already closed because of the holiday and I have no mushroom nor crackers at home.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  63. Alice

    Deb–might I use this space to make an indexing suggestion (not that you asked)? Just noticed there is no Recipe Index section for onion recipes? Not sure if you just thought, “Who the heck would look for an onion-centric recipe?” but (me! me! because) your low-heat-smother-with-the-lid-on caramelized onion technique is my go-to whether I’m making the tart or soup or biscuits or just something amazing with which to fill my grilled cheese, and your side dishes like the Caramelized Shallots and Balsamic Cipollinis are favorites in my kitchen. Thank you so much for all that you do.

  64. Monique Cooks Now without Butter

    Oh Oh Oh I am so happy you posted this! I love chopped liver! LOVE IT. And my girlfriend of 25 years is a vegetarian. And she can’t even eat butter anymore. I am so excited to try this recipe, and did I mention, I love your web site and your photos and your enthusiasm and your sense of humor, and THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  65. Bella

    Yay I have been meaning to try making a mushroom pate for ages! Definitely the best vegetarian alternative I can think of. We had it on crackers as a starter last night, having it for breakfast with boiled eggs and gherkins, and will probably have it with pasta tonight. We used just ordinary brown mushrooms and about 2/3 the amount of dried (because that’s what we had), and it was super yummy, easy and didn’t even have to go to the shops!

  66. Merry

    first time commenting here because I have to say how awesome this turned out. I served this Saturday before my Seder when my in-laws came early. I had it with a crudite plate and a saucer of matzah crackers. They snarfed up all of it with much yum-yumming and ooh-ahhing. I used all olive oil and no butter as I’m kosher and was serving chicken for dinner. The only thing I changed from your recipe was not to put it in the food processor — I didn’t kasher it and thought I could do without it. WRONG-O. It was way too chunky, even with chopping it for a very long time. Since clearly this is going to be at all my Seders from now on, next year I will be sure to make my food processor kosher for Passover. I love that this is vegetarian. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  67. Helen


    This was the hit of a Seder dinner I attended, and as part of my Easter dinner the next day (as an app, and as the filling with some ricotta cheese in an omelette for my non-ham friends). Going into the rotation. Thank you!

    As for the pickled onions/shallots: I too had problems with the salinity. I ended up using a teaspoon of kosher salt and a teaspoon of sugar and it made the onions much more reasonable. My husband and I chalked it up to the typos that happen to the best of us; however, maybe I’m missing something?

    Thanks, as always, for the inspiration and for sharing. This site often saves my sanity.

  68. deb

    Alice — I hadn’t even thought of that. I suppose if I have categories for everything from zucchini to rhubarb, onions would make sense too. But of course, maybe I was worried because they’re in almost everything savory. I’ll have to highlight recipes that are particularly onion-centric, don’t you think?

  69. Alice

    Agreed! I feel that more than enough would qualify though!

    Some of my favorite caramelized onion-centric recipes of yours:
    french onion soup
    french onion tart
    caramelized shallots
    balsamic-glazed sweet and sour cipollini
    caramelized onion and gruyère biscuits
    butternut squash and caramelized onion galette
    onion tart with mustard and fennel
    cauliflower and caramelized onion tart
    caramelized onion and goat cheese cornbread
    fresh ricotta and red onion pizza
    meatball subs with caramelized onions
    onion soup

    Onions by other preparations:
    green bean casserole with crispy onions
    chicken with chanterelles and pearl onions
    pizza with bacon, onions and cream
    roasted stuffed onions
    roasted tomatoes and cipollini
    vidalia onion soup with wild rice
    onion pizza + strawberry sorbet
    creamed chard and spring onions
    creamed onions with bacon and chives
    pizza with broccoli rabe and roasted onions

    Aaaand now I’ve scared myself with how many of these I’ve made.

    1. deb

      Alice — Okay, we need to hire you. I mean, seriously. (And thank you! I’ll get working on it later; this kid next to me is demanding dinner right now, the nerve, heh.) [Updated to add: Ta-da! I cannot tell you how appreciative I am for your nudge and help with this. Please email me to collect your favor in return, whenever needed. :) ]

  70. Alice

    Ha! Let me know if you’re ever looking for an assistant/overenthusiastic organizer/caramelized onion stirrer–I’d gladly quit my day job for Smitten Kitchen. So tickled I could help! Your blog basically taught me how to bake/cook, so, you know, I suppose we can call it even.

  71. Anna

    I ended up using the morels, and it turned out great. I had to use only criminis for the fresh since my grocery store had a paltry mushroom selection, and subbed brandy for the wine since I had it on hand. You’re right, this is a very flexible and delicious recipe – we’ve eaten it about six different ways this week, although I think tossed with pasta and parmesan is my favorite!

  72. Jenny

    I just made this and it tastes really good, although slightly gritty. I washed the fresh mushrooms well and strained the ‘stock’ through a coffee filter, but should I have rinsed the dried mushroom after I took them out of the soaking liquid? I supposed some of the grit could have clung to the rehydrated mushrooms. Otherwise this is lovely – don’t forget to tag it with the ‘mushroom’ category.

  73. Lauren

    I made this last night and it is delicious, but I used dried shiitake mushrooms instead of cremini or porcini and I think it made the taste a little too pungent. Next time I would use the mushrooms specifically listed in the recipe. Also, the pickled shallots are clutch. They really balanced out the flavor of the pate and are soooo good.

  74. David

    My favorite version of vegetarian pate/chopped liver is to use canned peas. Saute a medium onion until translucent and put in fridge to cool. Chop up 3/4 cup of walnuts in a food processor, add a can of young spring peas (i use no salt added but make sure to reserve the liquid), and then add the onions. I add a touch of salt and pepper and use some of the remaining pea juice at the end when it is all combined to taste. You can leave it fairly chunky or make it very smooth. Make sure to refrigerate afterwards – it tightens up nicely and is delicious cool w/ crackers, vegetables, etc.

  75. Lisa

    My goodness, Deb! You are a super hero- Always saving me with the perfect recipe! I am making this right now to sub in for pate in a veggie version banh mi. Thank you!!!

  76. Ceri

    I made a double batch of this for a going away party and had some left over. I froze what was left over in half cup portions and now, when I want a quick meal, I cook some pasta, thin the pate down with some cream and have quite an indulgent sauce to go with my pasta!

  77. Ttrockwood

    I am vegetarian and make this to bring any time i need an interesting appetizer! I’ll also bring this to share at thanksgiving this year-a double batch since it always goes fast! – since the hostess specifically requested i bring “that fantastic mushroom spread you make” :))

  78. flexdoc

    It looks good but Ive always wondered something. Why do people seem to have the need to name vegetable based recipes and foods after meat based food i.e.. Vegetarian chopped liver. Why not just call it mushroom paté. Same with almost everything. It is always named to compare it to the meated version. Does this mean we are meant to eat meat?

  79. Home Cook

    This is delicious and easy to make. I used shiitake, crimini, button and dried mushrooms I bought at a Chinese grocer. I used the sherry. I did not add the Chinese mushrooms because they seemed fairly flavorless-maybe they were old. But I did add the mushroom soaking liquid. It made more than 2 cups. It is very tasty and a hit. I would make it again.

  80. Ronald Gottesman

    I used dried porcini and I thought the pate came out a bit bland. So I added cayenne pepper and some balsamic vinegar, which gave a bit more depth of flavor

  81. Lorraine Lipson

    I just made veg chopped liver for two seders! Mushrooms was the base, sautéed with onions, but I added hard cooked eggs and a heap of walnuts. All buzzed together in the processor till fine. Uncanny how it tastes like chopped liver. Chag Sameach y’all!

  82. I made it tonight! First off, I must say that I never had pate before (it is the kind of super posh dish around my country, Malaysia, and so super expensive) so I have no referencing point. Anyway, I am afraid I didn’t follow the guidelines exactly but increase the portion according to what I have. Also, I used sunflower oil instead of butter ’cause we do not use much butter in my house for cooking and I have none at hand. Finally, instead of Sherry wine, I used ShaoXing wine since that’s all I have on hand. Still, it turns out great! I love the taste and texture but my sister prefers her mushrooms whole (we both are crazy over mushrooms). I am going to add it into my morning oats for some savoury flavour. Thanks!

    P.S: Went over to the comments guidelines page and have to laugh to myself like a madwoman when I saw comments referencing to RECIPES on that page lol!

  83. Ok, read the rules and yes, the comments.

    My question is: who has thoughts on making a gelatin out of the broth and combining it with the shrooms so that you can mold it in a classic pate “slab” ?

    I have tried several recipes and think this one is best. Just looking for presentation.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Twyla

      Hi there, My thoughts are that as long as the broth tastes good out of a spoon, it would taste good made into a gelatine. Gelatin, after all, won’t add any flavour, right? Though I guess I would be tempted to add some beef or chicken to the broth to add a little more depth of favour. Just me though. Let me know how that turns out! :-)

  84. homeshuling

    If I wanted to make this for Passover and *not* be dairy, would olive oil work instead of butter, or do I need something that is solid at room temp?

  85. Sarah

    If I need to make this vegan an I use olive oil instead of butter? Or do I need to use margarine? So excited to try this for our vegan Seder!!!!

    1. LIndy

      NEVER use margarine! It is a terrible product and unhealthy. Google it and learn why you shouldn’t ingest it!! You’ll be happy to learn about it. Trust me, you don’t want to be eating or feeding your family margarine! I didn’t even know it was still on the shelves of stores!

      If you are kosher and using it instead of butter, PLEASE find another alternative!!!!!
      I have made wonderful vegie pates without ANY oil or butter! They always
      come out fabulous. And, I like knowing that all the ingredients are healthy!for me and my family and friends!!

  86. Jennifer

    Hi! I am waiting for my delicious mushroom mixture to cool down for the food processor. I was considering adding some toasted chopped walnuts as I have done that in other pates before. Do you think it would be a nice addition or take away from this pate’s flavor profile? Thank you!

  87. KatieK

    I made a half quantity of this as it was only for four of us (and there were lots of leftovers). I made it exactly as written. I planned two Tablespoons a person as I’m on Weight Watchers and figured 2 T. were only one point. Served with Carr’s Water Table Biscuits. Pickled some shallots, added a lot of oomh. Very, very good; lovely mushroom flavor with enough “mouthiness” to seem richer than it was. It is really important to taste at the end before the blender; the touch more of salt and pepper made all the difference. I processed it so it was really smooth, more like liver pate. I can easily see it folded into scrambled eggs or over pasta.
    Great job, Deb.

  88. Cindy B.

    I grew up eating my mother’s chopped liver (which is delicious btw), but it’s so unhealthy and I wanted something similar to make for Passover last year. I tried this recipe and it is amazing. I just use creminis and I use white wine, which I always have, and with some chopped egg it tastes exactly like chopped liver. I have made it two more times since and it is always a big hit during the Jewish holidays. Thanks for another winner!

  89. Msmoo

    Just made a 1/2 batch. A few tweeks, pinch of cayenne, and a tsp white miso, 1/8 cup of port and 1/8 cup of brandy. Very flavoursome, made for a weekend away, I am sure it will be a hit.

  90. Dafna

    I know it’s been a long time since the post, but I just made this and yum! I cut down on the oil, but not the butter and added some lemon zest at the end for brightness and well yum.

  91. Kasia Otterbein

    I have done my own version of this but yours sounds much better (of course!)
    After making your perfect blueberry muffins, I will always refer to your site for recipes. The muffins were……PERFECT.

  92. Alicia

    I used the last 1/2 cup of this pâté thinned with a little water to make a delicious sauce for some meatballs (which were themselves made from leftover filling for stuffed cabbage rolls), then threw the sauce and meatballs over some pasta for dinner last night. I can’t believe I never thought to use it as a pasta sauce before, it was so good!

  93. Terri Kasper

    I read your comment about Ina Garten. I like your recipes better!!
    Especially your Passover recipes since I’m gluten free!


  94. E D M Landman

    The most successful version of vegetarian chopped liver I have come across is the Holiday Chopped Liver recipe from the Ratner’s Dairy Restaurant cookbook. Brown one cup finely chopped celery and two cups finely chopped onions, add to one dozenfinely chopped hard boiled eggs and 8 oz of finely chopped walnuts.
    Season to taste with salt and pepper, chill. I have made this for family seders for years and it always disappears in a flash.

  95. Carol Fox

    My vegetarian chopped liver is:
    5 hard-boiled eggs
    A cup of walnuts
    A chopped onion.
    Oil for sauteing

    Sauté the onion until it’s the color you like, this will be the color of the liver. Boil up the eggs.
    In a food processor add the boiled eggs which you’ve sliced. Add the walnuts and onions. Add any left over oil from the sauté. Blitz it until it’s as smooth as you want it. Add salt and pepper.
    That’s it. When warm it’s so delicious.

    Chag Sameach!

    1. E D M Landman

      This is very similar to the recipe for Holiday Chopped Liver from the Ratner’s Dairy Restaurant cookbook – only the Ratner’s recipe starts with a dozen eggs! It’s very good – every time I make it for family Seder it disappears in a flash.

  96. Donna

    I’m thinking of making this for my vegan relatives for Passover. I strongly dislike real liver, does it really taste a lot like real liver? This is the only reason I’m hesitating. I hope it tastes more like mushrooms.