If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy vegetarian alternative to traditional chopped liver, try making mock chopped liver with mushrooms. This mock liver recipe is based on the original Ashkenazi Jewish Recipe my grandmother made for every special occasion. You’ll love to spread this Vegetarian Chopped Liver on matzo crackers for a delicious Passover Appetizer.
This post has been updated from the original posted April 8, 2015.
My grandmother made chopped liver (a classic Jewish pâté)for every holiday. We ate that delicious spread as a passover appetizer, smothered on matzo crackers. On Rosh Hashanah, we continued the ashkenazi tradition of serving chopped liver on small pieces of rye bread. My grandmother’s chopped liver even made an appearance at Thanksgiving.
These days, more and more people are cutting back on their consumption of animal products..but that doesn’t mean we should throw traditions out the window.
Now, I make a plant-based look-alike. Mock chopped liver is a more contemporary appetizer, for those who don’t eat meat and it is a now-classic recipe served in many Jewish homes.
Why Vegetarian Chopped Liver?
- All of the rich flavor of traditional chopped liver without the saturated fat from either the chicken livers or the shmaltz.
- This vegetarian version of the classic Jewish appetizer is loaded with rich and savory umami flavor that closely resembles the original recipe.
- Easy to make.
- My vegetarian chopped liver is made with mushrooms rather than green beans so it’s kosher for Passover and all year round.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Onions: Caramelized onions is a cornerstone ingredient of the real deal and a must have in a vegetarian or vegan chopped liver recipe.
- Mushrooms: Portobello or cremini mushrooms produce a texture, color and flavor that closely resembles real liver when cooked with the onions. You can use any assortment of mushroom varieties. If you’re using this any time that’s not Passover week, substitute with green beans or green peas.
- Walnuts: Substitute raw cashews or pistachios.
- Hard boiled eggs: For Vegan Mock Liver, skip the hard boiled eggs. The recipe will still produce a delicious spread. If you’re not vegan, make this a vegetarian mock liver and use the eggs for a little more authenticity to the original recipe.
Tips for making Easy to Peel Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
- The most important tip to making easy to peel hard boiled eggs: have a bowl filled with ice ready and immerse your perfectly boiled eggs into the ice, then add cold water so your eggs are cooling in ice water.
- Cooling your boiled eggs immediately not only stops them from continuing to cook, but it “shocks” them away from the peel.
- In the Instant Pot: Place eggs on the rack. Add 1 cup water and seal. Set for 5 minutes on high pressure. Allow to cool naturally for 5 minutes and then force release. Transfer eggs to the ice.
- On the stovetop: Place eggs in the smallest pot that will hold them in a single layer. Cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and set the timer for 12 minutes. Transfer the eggs to the ice.
- When the eggs have completely cooled, dry them and place in the fridge (with the shells still on) until ready to use.
- Bubbe meise: My grandmother always made an odd number of boiled eggs. I wish she was still alive so I could ask her why. But the fact remains that I never boil an even number of eggs either.
How to make The BEST Mock Liver
Start by dicing the onions, chopping the mushrooms, mincing the garlic and heating a large heavy skillet over medium heat. You’re going to pulse it all in a food processor later, so don’t worry about cutting the veggies in perfect sizes.
You can use a little water, olive oil or vegetable broth to saute the onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use medium-low heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until they’re beginning to soften.
Add the chopped mushrooms and minced garlic to the pan and continue to cook, stirring once in awhile for 10-15 minutes, until the mushroom mixture has turned a golden brown. If the pan gets dry, add a bit more water, but not too much. The mushrooms will release natural juices while cooking so that should be enough moisture in the pan.
While the mushrooms are cooking, peel the eggs and add them plus the walnuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until crumbly, leaving it chunky.
When the mushrooms are browned and tender, add the sauteed onion and mushroom mixture to the food processor and pulse until well mixed. I like to leave it a bit chunky, but you can continue to process until your desired consistency is achieved.
If you like a smoother texture, which would be more like a vegetarian version of the classic jewish pate, then run the processor for a bit, scraping down the side a few times to make sure everything is well incorporated.
What to serve with Vegetarian Chopped Liver
You can use vegetarian chopped liver in all the same ways you would serve regular chopped liver.
- Shmear some on matzo crackers during the week of Passover
- Spread some on rye bread with a sliced tomato and some red onion for an awesome sandwich.
- Scoop it onto lettuce leaves, add some raw vegetables and roll it into a wrap.
- Put a scoop onto a simple green salad.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Hard boil the eggs up to a week in advance. Leave them stored in the refrigerator with the peels still on to protect them from absorbing bacteria or odors from other foods.
- The mushrooms will act like sponges, so go carefully and slow with any extra water/broth/olive oil. Also, they will give off their own juices, so keep cooking until all liquid has been cooked off.
- Save money: buy walnut pieces instead of whole walnuts, since you’ll be grinding them into smaller pieces anyway.
- It will seem like you need a much bigger pan when the mushrooms are added raw, but they will shrink down when they cook, so you can get by with a medium-large size pan.
- If it’s your minhag to not use garlic during Passover, just skip it…the onions will give off plenty of flavor.
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Vegetarian Chopped Liver Recipe
- 2 medium onions diced
- 1 lb portobello mushrooms roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt coarse
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 hard boiled eggs large
- ½ cup walnuts
- Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Use either water, vegetable broth or olive oil to saute onions until they soften, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add mushrooms and garlic to the onion mixture. If pan is dry, add another tablespoon broth or oil as needed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and everything is browned. It will take 10-15 minutes.
- While mushroom mixture cooks down (yes, it will totally shrink up after it's cooked), pulse the boiled eggs and walnuts in a food processor to break down into chunky pieces.
- Continue to stir the mushrooms until everything has caramelized. Then add the mushroom mixture to the processor with the nuts and eggs. Pulse until everything is well incorporated. I like my mock liver kinda chunky, but you can process it for longer for a smoother consistency more like pate if you prefer.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Serve it cold or at room temperature.