Homemade Vegan Lentil and Lemon Pate Recipe

This recipe I get from a top Italian chef who for some years owned a vegetarian restaurant. This Pate contains chillies, but does not strike one as hot: they simply add depth to the flavour. Half the lentils are mashed to a pate-like consistency and half left whole to match the other ingredients in texture. Serve the pate with rusks, warm pitta or firm white bread. For 4 persons.


  • 4 limes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 150 g red lentils
  • 3 chillies
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small red onion
  • pepper and salt


  1.  Rinse the lentils. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Put both into the saucepan with a lid. Add 600 ml water, bring to the boil and boil briskly for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Onle now add a little salt and, if the lentils are dry, about 75 ml or less boiling water: it is important not to add much because when cooked they should be quite dry. Continue simmering for 5-10 minutes more or until they are tender when prodded with a fork.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Wash and dry the limes. Finely grate the zest and add to the onion; squeeze the juice and pour it into a cup. Wash and dry the chillies; cut off the stalk ends, slit in half and discard the seeds and white inner pith. Chop as finely as possible; do not rub your eyes while handling them, and wash your hands immediately afterwards. Add the chopped chillies to the onion and lime zest.
  3. Put about half the cooked, dry lentils into a bowl and mash with a fork. When fairly smooth, return them to the rest in the saucepan and heat briefly, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and stir in the oil, the chilli, onion and lime zest mixture, a generous sprinkling of pepper, just under 1/2 teaspoon salt and most of the lime juice.
  4. Mix, then add the rest of the juice gradually: if the lentils were dry, they should absorb all of it, but it is better to use a little less than make the pate too liquid. If it still seems dry when all the juice is added, pour in a little more oil and leave to cool.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.