May 25, 2021

What is Pâté? Can it Be a Healthy Choice for Lunch?

What do you think of when you hear the word “pâté?”

It’s probably not your first idea for lunch, but in many cultures around the world, pâté is a traditional dish that can make an appearance at the midday meal or as part of a snack. Pâté has a richness and depth of flavor that makes it a fantastic ingredient for sandwiches, buns and even pastries. And today, this traditionally meat-heavy dish is getting a plant-based makeover.

Before we dive into how, let’s take a look at what goes into making traditional pâté to see why it’s time for an upgrade.

What is Pâté?

“Pâté” literally means “paste” in French, but it bears little resemblance to the white stuff you might have tried to snack on when you were in kindergarten. (If you were that kind of kid.)

Instead, it’s a savory mixture of meat and meat fat, which is usually formed into a loaf or spread. Meat types vary by tradition and can include wild game, pork, veal and liver. Some recipes incorporate other ingredients like vegetables, herbs and spices. Variations of this dish are part of culinary traditions in countries around the world.

How is Pâté Made?

In traditional pâté, meat is finely chopped or ground and then combined with seasonings and binders. These may include shallots, wine, mushrooms, eggs, flour or breadcrumbs. The mixture is then placed in a mold and cooked in a water bath. Some pâtés are topped with a jelly called aspic, which is made from condensed meat broth.

Liver pâté involves just two steps: cooking the livers along with seasonings and pureeing the cooked mixture. Depending on the preparation method, pâté can be chunky and coarse or smooth and spreadable. Chunky pâté is usually served as slices; smooth pâté is served in bowls with a spreading knife.

Types of Pâté

There are many types of pâté, but the most commonly known are:

  • Pâté de foi gras, made from the fattened livers of geese or ducks
  • Pâté en croute, a dish in which pâté is baked inside a pie crust like a loaf
  • Pâté en terrine, or just terrine, named for a specific type of cooking mold

You’ll find pâté on the menu in cuisines from France, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and even Vietnam.

These cultures have enjoyed the deep, rich and slightly earthy flavor of pate for hundreds of years and still serve it today. Most pâtés are meant to be eaten cold, but some are served hot as a quick meal or snack.

Is Pâté Healthy?

There is a lot of science pointing to plant foods as the best choice for the foundation of your diet, but pretty much the only plants in pâté are the few vegetables added to season the meat and deepen the savory flavor. 

Traditional is high in both saturated fat and cholesterol, carries the risk of several types of food poisoning due to bacteria it can harbour, has the wrong type of iron, missing several important nutrients like fiber, antioxidant and lignans – and overall, it is a processed meat that’s a known carcinogen.  

Replacing all the meat in traditional pâté with plants transforms the dish into a nutrient dense, healthy option for lunch.

Plant-Based Pâté: A Healthier Option for Lunch

Are you ready to try an updated version of pâté—with all the benefits and none of the negatives? Here’s how to make it plant based!

How to Make Pâté from Plants

Plant-based pâtés replace meat with other ingredients, which have benefits you won’t find in meat, such as:

  • Mushrooms, powerhouses of nutrition that deliver a range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, as well as protein, fiber and compounds called polysaccharides, which are being researched for their unique effects on health
  • Lentils or beans, high in fiber and antioxidants and a fantastic source of lean, plant-based protein, along with B vitamins and key minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc
  • Walnuts, high in unsaturated fats, including omega-3 ALA, along with vitamin E, folate and a number of heart-healthy antioxidants
  • Vegetables, packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and a range of unique flavors

Some plant-based recipes may incorporate oils or dairy-free buttery spread to mimic the fat content of traditional pâté, so you do need to be wise about how much of it you eat. However, it’s still much healthier for you (and kinder for the animals) than a meat-based pâté!

Power Up Your Pâté with Resistant Starch

If you prefer a quicker, more convenient option for lunch, Plantcraft has created a ready-to-eat plant-based pâté with a unique twist.

What is it? Green banana flour.

This underutilized ingredient is just starting to make its way into the limelight, and it’s long overdue. Not only is green banana flour allergy-friendly and safe to pack in your kids’ school lunches, it’s also high in a special type of fiber called resistant starch.

Resistant starch is a superhero among fibers. It literally resists digestion and stays intact as it passes through your gut. On the way, it acts as food for beneficial microbes in the digestive tract, keeping them healthy and while discouraging pathogenic microbes from taking up residence.

Eating more resistant starch has also been shown to help:

An added bonus? Green banana flour gives you some of the same nutrients found in traditional pâté without all the negatives.

Try These Healthy Pâté Recipes for Lunch

Now that you know how to enjoy a healthy, animal-friendly pâté, it’s time to start a lunch revolution! Whether you make your own plant-based version or give Plantcraft’s mild and spicy options a try, you’re in for a delicious treat.

Plant-Based Pâté Made by You

Quick & Convenient Lunches with Plantcraft

With these tasty recipes on hand, you’ll never run out of healthy lunch ideas—and you can feel good about what you’re feeding yourself and your family.

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