Vegetarian “foie gras”

Delicious pate for vegetarians and meat eaters alike

You can make a vegetarian or a vegan version of this recipe by substituting a vegan spread (not oil) for the butter.  Beware, if you make the vegetarian version (with butter) nobody will believe it is vegetarian.  Least of all the meat-eaters in your life.  


  • 1 Shallot Finely diced
  • 2 tbs Olive oil
  • 70 g Puy lentils You can substitute brown lentils if you cannot get puy
  • 2 Cloves As in cloves – not cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbs Sunflower seeds toasted in a dry frying pan
  • 3-4 Tbs Dry marjoram You can substitute dry oregano but marjoram is better if you have it
  • 20 g Cold butter or cold vegan spread The point is to use a fat that returns to a solid state at room temperature. Please don't use oil.
  • 1 tsp Soy sauce
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • Cook the lentils with the cloves in plenty of water until they are done but not mushy. Drain them, retaining the water.
  • Sweat the shallot in the oil on very gentle heat (with the lid on the pan) for a good 5 minutes. Add the marjoram and give it a stir. Turn the heat off and put the lid back on until you are ready to use the shallots.
  • Roast the sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan, being careful not to burn them. When they are done remove them immediately from the pan or they will continue to brown and maybe burn and taste bitter.
  • Put the lentils and cloves into a food processor. Add the cold butter and pulse to blend into a fine puree.
  • Add the shallots/marjoram, sunflower seeds, and soy sauce. Blend to a fine very fine puree, adding just enough of the lentil cooking water, spoon by spoon, to make a thick paste. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
  • If you want it even finer, you can press the mixture through a sieve or a mouli.
  • Decant the pate into an attractive bowl and cover with cling film. Wait until it has cooled and the put it in the fridge until it's cold.
  • Eat this with brioche if you are feeling indulgent . Crackers will do too!
Keyword Black pepper, Lentils, Marjoram, Olive Oil, Shallots, Soy, Sunflower seeds
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

2 thoughts on “Vegetarian “foie gras””

  1. What a terrible name – totally against humans cruelly feeding ducks – why name it after this horrible practice?

  2. I would not normally be drawn to a recipe like this.However, as I have the utmost confidence in Jane Mason’s sense of taste, decided to to test it out.

    The ingredients are simple and inexpensive but the combination is amazing. A flavoursome veggie pate that will appeal to carnivores as well. Definately adding this one to my repetoire.

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