Posted by: A Part of the Solution | April 18, 2011

Vegetarian Chopped Liver

All right. All right. Don’t get your tallit in a twist.  Vegetarian chopped liver is an outstanding side dish, excellent hors d’oeuvre, and marvelous midnight snack. Vegetarian chopped liver is great with crudités, and divine on matzo, let alone the more pedestrian unleavened bread: crackers. And this version of vegetarian chopped liver is as easy to prepare as it is satisfying to eat.

I sometimes fancy up vegetarian chopped liver with extra spices and herbs. I’ll put those at the bottom of the main recipe as variant ingredients. But this vegetarian chopped liver tastes just fine in its more classic iteration. Serve it plain, serve it piped, serve it anyway you like–but get it to the table so that the vegetarians in your life can enjoy a little ‘chopped liver’. In addition, I’ve heard dyed-in-the-wool carnivores insist that I must be fabricating untruths when I tell them it’s vegetarian (and vegan to boot, though it’s perfectly yummy with a garnish of sieved hard-boiled eggs).

Vegetarian Chopped Liver

3 TBSP olive oil, or another oil for sautéing

1 lb of yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1 1/4 lb of green beans, topped and tailed–or 1 lb of frozen green beans, thawed and drained

3/4 cup walnut pieces

3-5 TBSP walnut oil, or olive oil, or flaxseed oil

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

3/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)

In a heavy bottomed sauté pan (cast iron is ideal here), heat the 3 TBSP oil over medium. When the pan is hot, add the onions. Lower  the heat, slap a lid on the pan and let the onions cook for fifteen minutes without disturbing them. Remove the lid, turn the heat to medium low, and stirring only every ten minutes or so, allow the onions to caramelize until very dark indeed–with some crispy blackening around the edges of some pieces. This will take about 45-55 minutes all together.

Turn the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnut pieces in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet and set them in the preheating oven. Stir them when the oven comes to temperature, and give them about four minutes more. Remove them from the oven, wrap them in a tea towel and let them rest for ten minutes. Place the toasted walnut pieces in a sieve, and rub them around so that their skin comes off and mostly slips away through the mesh of the sieve. Steam or microwave the green beans if you prepared them from fresh. They may be cooked to ‘well-done’ for this use.

Place the walnuts, green beans and caramelized onions in your food processor. While the processor runs, add the smaller amount of the second batch of oil as well as the salt and pepper. Check the seasoning when everything is ground to a rich smoothness. Does it need more salt or pepper? Would you like a richer, or more spreadable, version –in which case, add the rest of the oil. Let it marry for an hour or two (in the fridge if you’re not planning on serving it soon). This is tastiest at room temperature.

Paté Seasoning for Sophisticated Vegetarian Chopped Liver

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp clove

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp ginger



  1. I’ll have to try this, as I do occasionally yearn for Braunschweiger.

  2. that sounds fabulous – i will try it someday soon. am always looking for gluten- and lactose-free vegetarian recipes. keep them coming! thank you!

    • Fear not. There’s always another recipe coming. If the next one is bread, or meat–don’t panic. I was a vegan chef longer than I was any other kind.

  3. This is in process in my house for the first time today. Though I will confess to be a “non-tailing” top-and-tail green bean processor. And as it’s all being food processed, I couldn’t come up with a good reason to toss a portion of an otherwise good piece of food. I’m an anarchist, I know.

    I can’t wait to taste this!

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