This mushroom pâté recipe is a cinch to make, and an excellent appetizer or sandwich spread. Its rich, savory flavor is offset by bright touches of shallots, sage, and fresh thyme.
What is it?
Coming from the French word for paste, pâtés are savory spreads. Cooks typically make pâté from organ meats, such as chicken liver, but mushrooms serve as an excellent stand-in. Mushroom pâté has a rich savory flavor touched with fresh herbs. In this version, walnuts make an appearance, too.
It's a nice alternative to traditional chicken liver pâté for people who don't tolerate organ meats or for vegetarians.
Ingredients for Mushroom Pâté
Naturally, mushrooms form the foundation of this pâté recipe. To the mushrooms, you'll also add nuts, butter and olive oil, fresh herbs, and a few other ingredients that help to bring balance to the recipe and give it a deeper, more resonant flavor.
- Mushrooms form the bulk of the recipe. They have a meaty, savory flavor that works well in the recipe. They're also packed with micronutrients and a great source of B vitamins, selenium, and zinc. They're also rich in plant compounds that help fight inflammation and support the immune system (1).
- Walnuts give the pâté a rich, nutty flavor and a creamy texture. Walnuts are rich in antioxidants and healthy fats and may help lower inflammation while supporting brain and cognitive health (2).
- Grass-fed butter and extra virgin olive oil are healthy fats that lend a little creaminess to the recipe, while also helping to cook the mushrooms through.
- Shallots are a member of the allium family and are related to onions, chives, and leeks. When sautéed, as for this recipe, they develop a savory-sweet flavor that partners particularly well with mushrooms and fresh herbs. Shallots and other alliums help combat inflammation, support the immune system, and researchers are investigating their role in cancer prevention (3).
- Herbs bring balance and a little brightness to the mushrooms. In this recipe, we use thyme and fresh sage. Other herbs, such as rosemary, work well in this recipe, too.
- White wine helps to pull the recipe together, adding just the right amount of liquid to form the sautéed mushrooms into a smooth pâté. You can also swap in dry sherry or even a little broth if you prefer.
What are the best mushrooms to choose?
The key is to choose different kinds of mushrooms for the richest flavor. Mushroom pâté made from a single variety will still taste delicious but will lack the complexity of a recipe made with many different types. Both domestic and wild mushrooms work well in this recipe.
Button and cremini mushrooms are domestic varieties you can find in just about any supermarket. They're affordable and are a good choice for the bulk of the mushrooms, while other varieties can add flavor and interest.
Shiitakes are also domestic mushrooms that are available fresh in well-stocked supermarkets and natural foods stores. They have a meaty quality and a woodsy flavor.
Oyster mushrooms give the pâté a delicate quality, and you can often find them in season in most well-stocked markets or forage for them if you enjoy mushrooming.
Boletes are also known as porcini, ceps, and penny buns have a deep, rich flavor perfect for making pâté.
Pine mushrooms (also known as matsutake) are available in the fall, and they have a woodsy aroma with cinnamon-like undertones that work well with the sage and thyme in this recipe.
Making this mushroom pâté recipe is fairly simple, all you need is a few bowls, a skillet, and a food processor. A little chopping, a little sautéing, and then all the ingredients head to the food processor. Simple, right? But there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind when you go to make the recipe.
- Plan ahead. Soaked walnuts give this recipe the mousse-like creaminess you'll find in traditional pâtés. It takes at least 4 hours and up to 12 for the nuts to soak, so plan accordingly.
- Cook the shallots and mushrooms until very soft. Their softness is what gives the pâté the desired, spreadable texture.
- Use a variety of mushrooms for the best flavor. As with other mushroom recipes, you'll get the most flavor out of your dish if you use a wide variety of both domestic and wild mushrooms. Shiitakes, oysters, chanterelles, and button mushrooms all work well here, and combining them together makes the recipe a keeper.
- A little mushroom powder is the secret. This recipe calls for a couple of teaspoons of reishi mushroom powder. Powdered dried mushrooms act as a sort of binder, that helps the ingredients come together smoothly and it keeps the pâté from falling apart when you go to serve it. If you don't have dried reishi powder, you can substitute any dried mushroom. Just grind it into a powder in a food processor or spice grinder.
- Deglaze the pan and scrape up any browned bits. The browned bits leftover on the bottom of the skillet are full of flavor, and they contribute a rich, savory note to the mushroom pâté. Scrape the bottom of the skillet well when you deglaze the pan for better flavor (and less time scrubbing dishes).
You can serve mushroom pâté just as you would any other pâté. Naturally, it makes the perfect party appetizer, addition to a charcuterie board or holiday spread. Serve it at room temperature for the best flavor and consistency, and partner it with cut-up vegetables, toasted sourdough bread, homemade crackers, or leaves of Belgian endive.
Mushroom Pâté Recipe
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 medium shallot
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 pound mushrooms (coarsely chopped)
- 2 teaspoons reishi mushroom powder
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon finely ground real salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Place the walnuts in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Squeeze in the lemon juice and allow them to soak for at least 4 and up to 12 hours, then drain and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil and butter, and then stir in the shallot, thyme, and sage. Sauté until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Toss in the mixed, fresh mushrooms and reishi powder and sauté for 8 minutes more, until softened. Pour the wine over the mushrooms and then scrape up any tough bits that adhere to the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Continue cooking until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes more.
- Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor and add the soaked walnuts. Process until smooth and then spoon into a serving dish. Serve right away or cover the pâté tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
For a vegan mushroom pâté, skip the butter and add more olive oil.
For a dairy-free version, skip the butter swap in bacon fat or schmaltz.
For a more robust umami flavor, consider adding a teaspoon or two of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.
Add crushed red pepper flakes and smoked paprika for a hot and smoky version.
Swirl in a few ounces of goat cheese or cream cheese. These creamy, soft cheeses are a natural partner for sage and thyme, and it works well with the mushrooms for a rich, decadent appetizer.
Swap pinenuts for walnuts, as they have a creamy flavor that works well with mushrooms. You can also add rosemary and parsley in place of sage and thyme, too.
Add a bit of garlic in place of or in addition to the shallots. This garlic confit is an especially nice addition since it has a mellow sweet garlic flavor.
Store leftover mushroom pâté in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Yes! This mushroom pâté recipe freezes like a champ. Let it defrost in the fridge overnight, and then let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before you plan to serve it.
Reishi mushroom powder gives this pâté recipe a good flavor and a boost of adaptogenic goodness. If you don't have it, you can substitute any dried mushroom powder or dried mushrooms that you've ground into a powder using a spice grinder.
No. You really need to use a variety of fresh mushrooms and a small amount of dried mushroom powder for the right texture and flavor.
Try these mushroom recipes next
- Mallard, Brody et al. “Synergistic immuno-modulatory activity in human macrophages of a medicinal mushroom formulation consisting of Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake.” PloS one vol. 14,11 e0224740. 7 Nov. 2019
- Chauhan, Abha, and Ved Chauhan. "Beneficial Effects of Walnuts on Cognition and Brain Health." Nutrients vol. 12,2 550. 20 Feb. 2020
- Nicastro, Holly L et al. “Garlic and onions: their cancer prevention properties.” Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.) vol. 8,3 (2015): 181-9. (2014)