A Wholefood Tasting Plate with Avocado Salsa and Walnut & Sage ‘Pate’

Walnut and Sage ‘Pate’ Balls

Growing up, my family would have ‘platters’ on given occasions. My sister and I loved these platters that were decorated with a number of usual suspects; black pepper pate, fruit cheese, gherkins, and savoy biscuits. And there was always the ceremonial using of the duck pate knife, which we thought was very flash! I still love platters. I associate them with good times, good conversation and sharing food – all of which play a starring role in the making of my own family traditions with my husband and daughter now.

The platters have changed a bit over the years though. My perfect platter, or tasting plate to be more fancy about it, must have a dip, a cheese, some sort of crunchy vehicle to get these into your mouth, something raw, and a nice balance of colours so that it looks pretty too.

I thought I would share a couple of favourites here: avocado salsa and walnut and sage ‘pate’.

The Food Matters Project’s menu for this week was Five Quick Salsas For Chips, Dips and other Stuff – you can see the original recipeĀ here.

Avocados should feature in every home’s fruit bowl. They have an abundance of monounsaturated fat. This is good! Monounsaturated fats have beneficial effects on cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, and they are a more stable fat and therefore do not become rancid as easily as the polyunsaturated types.

Avocados also contain a natural source of lecithin – a food for our brains and again assists will cholesterol levels. They are high in lutein, vitamin K, calcium, folate and vitamin C, and because of their combination of good fats and vitamins, are a fabulous skin food. So, healthy heart, glowing skin, boosted immune system and protection against certain cancers (bowel and breast), it’s reason enough for me!

There are literally thousands of things you can do with avocado – spreads, dips, smoothies, soups, mousses, a fabulous garnish for beany/lentil dishes, the list goes on…

So for a simple avo salsa try combining an a chopped avocado, the juice of 1/2 a lime, 1/4 red onion finely chopped, small handful of torn up coriander/cilantro, 1/2 small chili sliced, and about 30ml of extra virgin olive oil. Yummo!

Serve on it’s own with dippers or as a side or topping for patties, fish, bean dishes, or as part of a Mexican fiesta! Check out what the other Food Matters Project members did with the salsa recipeĀ here.

The Walnut and Sage ‘Pate’ is a powerhouse of protein, essential fatty acids, calcium, iron, B vitamins and deliciousness! You can roll it into balls as shown above, serve as is or press into a mould and turn it out.

Here’s how to make it.

Walnut and Sage Pate
Adapted from Jude Blereau’s Lentil and Walnut Pate
Makes about 3 cups
2/3 cup of brown or green lentils, rinsed
2 cups walnuts
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 teaspoons mirin
1 tbs miso paste
4 sage leaves
small handful of basil leaves
1/4 – 1/2 tsp pomegranate molasses

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350F.

Put lentils in a saucepan, cover with enough water so that it reaches about 2cm above the lentils, and place over medium heat. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain and set aside.

While the lentils are cooking, put the walnuts on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes or until just aromatic.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan and over low heat cook the onion and garlic for about 10 minutes or until soft and cooked but not browned. In the last few minutes of cooking time add the sage and bail leaves.

Remove from the heat. Transfer to a food processor with all other ingredients and process to your desired consistency.

Taste and add more pomegranate molasses or mirin if needed.

Serve straight away or pop into the fridge to firm up a little if you like. Pate will keep covered in the fridge for 3 days, and freezes really well.

So on my tasting plate today I had avocado salsa, walnut pate, roasted capsicum pesto, kale chips, organic natural corn chips, smoked goats cheese and a beautiful sourdough olive bread. Delish!

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