Adapted from Silk Road Vegetarian by Dahlia Abraham-Klein
Chopped liver was a popular spread in my parents' home, made by sautéing liver, onions, and eggs. Truthfully, the smell made me nauseous and I could not understand why anyone would eat it. Subsequently, my mother turned my disgust to delight with this vegan chopped liver, which is made by combining dry roasted walnuts and sautéed onions with zucchini. She served it with pita slices. The high iron content from the walnuts is just as nutritious as chopped liver, but this version is low in fat. It is best eaten cold or at room temperature. Dip with your favorite vegetable or pita slices. For an even richer taste, top with a dash of walnut oil.
3⁄4 cup shelled walnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1⁄4-in slices
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon walnut oil, for garnish
Toast the walnuts in a large skillet over high heat, for about 2 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 7 minutes, or until dark brown on all sides stirring constantly and shaking the pan to prevent burning. Remove from the heat and pour onto a large plate or baking pan to cool completely.
In the same pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring and shaking the pan, for 10 minutes, or until it browns and caramelizes. Stir in the zucchini, season with salt and continue to sauté for 10 minutes, or until the zucchini browns a bit. Once cooked, remove from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
Place the zucchini and onion mixture, walnuts, tomato paste, and cumin into food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.
Spoon into a medium-sized bowl. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary. Drizzle a little walnut oil over the top for a richer flavor.
Makes about 2 cups
Recipe: Kosher, vegetarian