Kitchen :: Raw/Vegan Mock Salmon Pâté

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I'm not going to lie to you: I've been feeling pretty down this week. For one thing, my dog died, and it has hit me harder than I ever expected. There are moments when my chest aches from the heartbreak, and I've come to realize that it may take more than a few days to completely work through the grief. But rather than listening to my head - which is telling me to curl up in my cozy bed with a jar of peanut butter, a bag of dark chocolate chunks, a spoon, and a movie - I've been listening to the sage advice of my body. My body is the smart one; it knows what I really need to heal and feel good again. So when it tells me to get my ass out of bed for a 6:00 a.m. workout in the park with my friends, I listen... even though that bed idea sounds really good.

My body also tells me to eat well. And while I will freely admit to indulging in a modest amount of peanut butter with chocolate over the last few days, the foods that have really made me feel better have been - shocking - far healthier. This vegetarian pâté is a good example. The nuts provide enough texture and heft to fuel my belly, as well as healthy fats to fuel my brain, while the carrots and celery lighten things up and give the pâté a nice crunch.

Does it really taste like salmon? Well, no. Because it's not salmon. But it does taste really good, and the Nori and dulse flakes give it a nice, ocean-y flavor that I'm kind of addicted to. Plus it comes together in a flash and it doesn't leave my kitchen smelling like a southern fish-fry when I've finished making it. My favorite ways to enjoy this pâté: folded into a leaf of Romaine or butter lettuce for a fresh lunch wrap, or rolled up sushi-style in a sheet of Nori with some avocado, sprouts or shredded veggies. As long as my body keeps craving foods as tasty as this, I think I'll keep listening to it.

Raw Vegan Mock Salmon Pâté 

The beauty of the recipe is that it is fairly forgiving and very adaptable. I have made variations with mixes of almonds, macadamias, and cashews. The original recipe called for tangelo juice; I use lemon, and I changed a few other things up, too. Sometimes I run the food processor a bit longer for a smoother, more pâté-like texture. The day I took these photos, I obviously left it a little crunchier, because it suited my mood.

Use organic whenever possible.

1 raw Nori sheet (~4 1/2" x 7 1/2 ")
1 1/4 cup raw cashews, macadamia nuts, and/or almonds, soaked in filtered water 4-8 hours and drained
1/8 cup fresh carrot juice (or filtered water)
1 small carrot, diced (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped green onion (a.k.a. scallion)
1 tablespoon chickpea miso (or mild miso of your choice)
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dulse flakes
pinch or two of Himilayan sea salt

Make it:
1. Cut the Nori sheet into small slivers. I find the easiest way to accomplish this is to fold the sheet in half several times until it is about 1" wide, tear at the folds to form long strips, then cut cross-wise with kitchen shears into thin slivers. Set aside.

2. Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor fitted with the "S" blade. Add the Nori slivers to the processor. Run the processor until the mixture achieves the desired texture, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.

3. If the pâté is too dry, you may need to add water (up to 1/8 cup), a spoonful at a time. Don't add too much or your pâté will be wet and mushy.

4. Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups