Vegan Mushroom Pâté

Vegan Mushroom PateI was fasting the other day in preparation for a test, and all I could think about was bánh mì. I walked by the bánh mì cart near my office and my mouth was salivating. I decided that no matter what, I would be making bánh mì sandwiches for dinner this weekend. A while back, I made some vegan bánh mì here on the blog. From experience though, I knew it was missing something. It was missing the traditional pâté. It adds another layer of flavor to the sandwich and some needed moistness that pairs well with the other ingredients.

This time around, I knew I had to make my own baguettes AND make some pâté. Pâté is traditionally made from pork and chicken liver in these sandwiches. You all know that’s not my style. I’ve had some vegetarian eggplant liver before, but I’m the only one in this house who loves eggplant. I decided to make this amazing spread out of mushrooms and walnuts.

I toasted the walnuts in my cast iron skillet.

Toasting Walnuts for Pate

Then., I sautéed up some mushrooms along with some shallots, garlic, ginger and spices. The smell was already so good.

mushrooms for vegan liver

Once the mushrooms were done, I placed everything in my Cuisinart food processor and processed away.

It came together fast and made a huge difference in our bánh mì sandwiches! This would also be perfect as a dip with crackers or in place of traditional meat liver on shabbat and holidays!




Vegan Mushroom Pâté
This vegan mushroom pâté goes perfectly with my vegan banh mi sandwiches!
Recipe type: vegan, dip, spread
  • ¾ raw shelled walnuts
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil or other neutral oil
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
  • 10 oz. mushrooms - sliced
  • 1 tsp. tamari sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat up your skillet on medium high heat.
  2. Toast the walnuts in the dry skillet for about 3 minutes. You do not want to burn the nuts.
  3. Remove the walnuts from the pan and set aside.
  4. Keep the pan on the heat.
  5. Add the oils to the pan. Let the oil get hot.
  6. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger to the pan. Cook a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook another few minutes. Stir in the tamari, salt and pepper.
  8. Once cooked, turn off the heat.
  9. Place both the walnuts and the mushroom mixture in your food processor and process well. It should be a paste.
  10. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as necessary.
  11. Enjoy!

Vegan Mushroom Pate


Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

Vietnamese-Rice-Noodles-SaladIt’s been crazy hot here on my part of the world. I’m trying to stay away from the stove as much as possible. I’m sure you all can relate.

I’ve been trying to come up with substantial dishes that can be served cool or room temperature that don’t require to much heating up of the kitchen. This especially applies to Shabbat, where I’m tasked with creating and serving multiple dishes for a crowd.

This Vietnamese Rice Noodle dish is a perfect example of a meal-in-a-salad that comes together quickly and is great both warm or cold. It’s also very adaptable. You can swap out some of the veggies and change the protein to whatever you prefer. For this dish, I used turkey. I knew that my guests would be looking for some kind of meat dish and I had the turkey ready to go.

I started by cooking up the rice noodles. I used the thin rice vermicelli, which I can pour boiling water over to cook. Super easy to do. After soaking for around ten minutes, I drained the noodles.

I then cooked up the turkey with some garlic, ginger, shallots and chopped shiitake mushrooms. I love the flavors that comes off of the meat. Once cooked, I added some tamari and lime lime juice to the meat directly.

I chopped up my veggies and made the dressing. I was ready to go.

I mixed the veggies with the noodles and layered the ground turkey over it and then poured on the dressing. Everyone was happy with the salad.

I also make a vegetarian version of this salad. When I do, I swap out the turkey and use chopped tofu or the soy beef-style crumbles. They work well. When I crumble the tofu, I tend to use an extra firm version and add some extra garlic, ginger and soy sauce for extra flavor.

Hope you enjoy!

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad
Recipe type: gluten free, salad
  • 1 package vermicelli rice stick noodles
  • 1 tbsp. rice bran oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 tsp. tamari
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. mint, chopped
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • ½ daikon, shredded
  • 1 red pepper, chopped or julienned
  • 1 seedless cucumber, julienned or chopped
  • 1 cubed avocado
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
For the dressing:
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar or honey
  • 2 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • ½ tbsp. rice bran oil
  • 1 tbsp. chopped peanuts (optional)
  1. Cook the noodles by placing them in a large bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let sit a few minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat up the oil in a large pan and saute the ginger, garlic and shallot.
  3. Add in the ground turkey and chopped shiitake mushrooms and cook until done.
  4. Squeeze the juice of a ½ lime and 2 tsp. tamari or soy sauce over the turkey and mix.
  5. Prep all of the veggies and set aside.
  6. Mix up the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  7. Mix the rice noodles with the veggies and then layer with the ground turkey mixture. Stir in the whisked dressing.
  8. Serve and enjoy!




Vegetarian Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich

Among the various food carts and trucks to ogle in my area, is the Vietnamese banh mi cart. For the uneducated, a banh mi is a delicious sandwich served on a baguette. It comes in various flavors – it’s bumped up in flavor with some traditional Vietnamese flavors like lemongrass and cilantro. The near varieties often include a pate.

At lunch time, the line sometimes seems to be a mile long. As the line moves along, the ladies come out of the cart and cross of sandwiches as they run out. They have one vegetarian option – a tofu banh mi. 
I have yet to see a kosher restaurant sell an authentic banh mi. Aside from the pork varieties, there is nothing inherently “treif” about banh mi. I miss the days where I could stroll in to Chinatown and pick up a scrumptious three dollar Vietnamese sandwich. 
I decided to recreate it at home. I have been browsing Pinterest and eyeing the various banh mi options. I keep pinning and repinning ideas. I am happy with the way it turned out. I regret that I didn’t include a vegan pate in this version. My second regret is that I didn’t take the time to make my own baguettes. Baguettes will have to wait for another day.

The Bahn Mi I made, is made up of layers:

  1. Baguette
  2. Mayonnaise or Vegan Mayo
  3. Daikon/Carrot Pickle (recipe below)
  4. Baked Tofu Vegenaisse(recipe below)
  5. Sriracha
  6. Thinly Sliced Cucumbers
  7. Thinly Slice Red Onions
  8. Thinly Sliced Avocado
  9. Cilantro
Carrot/Daikon Pickles
recipe very slightly adapted from Viet World Kitchen


1 large daikon
2 thick carrots

1 teaspoon salt 
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar 
1  1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water
Cut the carrots and daikon up in to a thick julienne. I used my nifty new mandoline. 
Place the cut up carrots and daikon in a plastic bowl and mix with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Massage the mixture with your hands for a few minutes. The veggies will start to soften and some water will start to seep out. The vegetables will get a bit softer. Drain the liquid and then rinse the veggies in water and press all of the liquid out. Transfer to whatever container you will use to store your pickles.
In another bowl, mix up the rest of the sugar, the vinegar, and the warm water. 
Pour the brine mixture over the carrot/daikon mixture. Cover your container. Place in fridge and let them do their pickling.


Baked Tofu:
recipe slightly adapted from eat, live run

1 lb extra firm tofu

2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
pinch of sea salt

Drain the tofu and slice the brick of tofu so it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the brick in half.

Mix the marinade ingredients.

Marinate tofu for about an hour.


Preheat oven to 350.

Drain 75% of the marinade ingredients. The rest will burn off.

Bake for about 15 minutes on each side.

Have all of the ingredients prepped and ready to go. Layer your sandwich together. Get ready to eat. Enjoy!


Vietnamese Iced Coffee Popsicles

I rarely succumb to impulse buys. Especially when the ads show up in my inbox. I will blame the heat. These 90+ degree days are doing something funky to me.  I keep getting emails advertising a variety of popsicle makers and popsicle stores. There’s even a popsicle food-truck! 

I haven’t been in to popsicles since I was pregnant with my older daughter. Popsicles were my crack. I am not a fan of most store-bought popsicles. I like the occasional Fudgsicle or pudding pop. Do pudding pops still exist even? Trader Joes and Whole Foods make some pretty tasty fruit juice popsicles.  When I am there though, it’s just not something I reach for. When my sisters and I were kids, we used to pour juice into dixie cups and then stash them in the freezer. Only to have my mom open the freezer to half-frozen cups of juice pouring on to her. My parents stopped buying dixie cups at some point. They did buy popsicles.  They weren’t evil. They just didn’t like the sticky mess all over the freezer. I get it now.

Anyhow, those emails worked.  Good marketing, Amazon! Good marketing, Williams Sonoma! You got me on an online popsicle search. They have these handy dandy electric popsicle makers now! I’ll admit, that appliance was tempting. I don’t need my popsicles to be ready in 5 minutes, though. I also don’t really need another big appliance. I want more than 3 popsicles at a time. The old-school plastic popsicle molds are great, but you end up losing the pieces.  I decided to buy this one. I like the familiar shape of the popsicle and I like to use the traditional wooden sticks. It’s very easy to use. Highly recommended. It also showed up in my inbox, on sale, on a 100 degree day. Once again – good job, Amazon! 

It showed up in my house 2 days later and I had to make something. I knew that coffee had to be the star of my first shot at popsicle making.  We had just cleaned our pantry and noticed three cans of sweetened condensed milk.  3 cans? I never use that stuff? Good thing those cans have a long shelf life.

When I was in college and high school, I used to spend the majority of my time (when not in class or work) at a local coffee shop. Cafe Wyrd was the best coffee shop around. I used to sit with my school books, a pack of American Spirits, and a big pot of coffee. Being that I was a regular there, the baristas used to push special drinks on me every so often. They introduced me to Vietnamese Iced Coffee. I could get hooked on that drink. If it weren’t for the fact that I was a poor college student at the time – I probably would have been hooked.  I am not usually a fan of sweet coffee, but that stuff was good and it stuck with me, in the back of my coffee addicted mind. It’s so easy to make.  A good espresso and some sweetened condensed milk over some ice. It’s perfect popsicle fodder! I didn’t even need a real recipe!

Vietnamese Ice Coffee Popsicles
2 cups espresso
1 small can sweetened condensed milk

I brewed up some super strong espresso. About 2 cups.  I let it cool for a bit. I poured the sweetened condensed milk into a small mixing bowl. About 3/4 of that small can. Add in the cooled off espresso. Mixed it all up. Let the mixture chill in the fridge for about a half hour. The poured everything in to the molds.  Put the mold in the freezer for an hour. Stuck the sticks in when partially frozen. Let freeze overnight.  

This made for amazing popsicles! What’s my next popsicle flavor?

Crab Spring Rolls: Well, actually Krab (Surimi)

Some people window shop for their next pair of Jimmy Choos or their next evening dress. Don’t get me wrong…I do that too. I also window shop our next meal. When I pass by an interesting menu, I get ideas for what to cook next. So much of what is out there that is tasty, is not served at kosher restaurants. I get tired of the bland and boring options out in kosherland. So I wander the ethnic restaurants paired up with ethnic grocery stores to find kosher options for my home.

I love a good Spring/Summer roll when I’m in an Asian restaurant. I love the fresh flavors inside. It’s so easy to make. You can change up some of the veggies, if you’d like. Play with it a bit. I don’t know why it’s never on kosher restaurant menus, but it’s so good and the ingredients are readily available.

Crab Spring Roll (Using the Surimi Sticks)

Spring Roll wrappers (found in your asian food section, or in a Vietnamese or Thai store)
Bean thread noodles or rice vermicelli noodles, cooked
Surimi Sticks
Avocado, sliced
Seedless Cucumner – sliced lengthwise
Red or Green leaf lettuce

Cilantro, chopped

Prepare all your filling ingredients.

Soak the spring roll wrappers in warm water. Soak one at a time. They are very easy to rip and hard to handle until you get the hang of it. Soak it for about 30 seconds, until the wrapper has a soft, leathery texture.

Lay the wrapper on a plate or cutting board. Fill the center of it with your filling, like you would do with sushi. Leave space around it to allow for folding.


Fold the bottom edge towards the center, and then fold the top edge down. Roll the wrapper jelly roll style. Be gentle and squeeze like ingredients in like you would with sushi. Slice the roll at an angle and serve with dipping sauce of your choice. I like mine dipped in peanut sauce.




Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Sunday night’s dinner was pad thai. What better to go with than a spring roll.

I have never made spring rolls before. I made egg rolls once a few years ago, but egg roll wrappers are easier to work with. I have had the spring roll wrappers sitting in my house for a while, just waited to be played with. I don’t like frying things and I was a bit fearful. I charged ahead.

While it wasn’t too complicated to prepare and they were tasty, I do need to make some tweaks next time. I need to use larger wrappers or less filling, and I need to fry in more oil than I used.

Vegetarian Spring Rolls – (10 spring rolls)


Spring Roll Wrappers – rice papers
Bean Thread Noodles or Rice Noodles (Vermicelli) – 1 small “bun”
1 cup of shredded cabbage
1/2 cup of shredded carrots
2 scallions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 tablespoons of bamboo shoots, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
Vegetable Oil

Begin by soaking your noodles in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain.

In a tablespoon of oil, sautee the garlic and ginger. Add in the carrots and cabbage. Saute until soft. Add in the bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and scallions. Saute a few more minutes. Season with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and fish sauce.
Soak your rice papers in a shallow bowl of warm water.

Lay out the softened rice paper.

Put 1 tablespoon of the noodles and one tablespoon of the veggie mixture on the rice paper. Place the mixture on the edge closer to you. Wrap the edge in. Fold in the sides, then finish rolling up.
Fry in oil. Drain on paper towels.

Just a reminder that my spring rolls didn’t look so perfect this time. They were damn good though.

Eat. Yum
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