Aunt Bev’s Vegetarian Chopped Liver

This week, many Jews are eating vegetarian (or pescatarian) as part of the 9 days leading up to Tisha B’Av – the Ninth of Av. Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning and fasting. The holiday commemorates various tragedies that befell the Jewish people throughout history, particularly the destruction of the two temples in 586 BCE and 70 CE. During the 9 days prior to Tisha B’Av, many Jews abstain from red meat, chicken, and wine, instead eating dairy foods and fish. This restriction is in place to acknowledge the tragic destruction of the Second Temple, and to reinforce the solemn nature of the nine days.

I’ve been wanting to share this Vegetarian Chopped Liver recipe, and seeing as we’re in the middle of the 9 days, now seems like as good a time as any. There are so many variations on meat-free chopped liver, and many of them are remarkably similar to the real thing. This particular version was shared with me back in 2010, not long after I started my Shiksa in the Kitchen website. Reader Sheri Ellyn Gross sent me the recipe– she calls it “Aunt Bev’s Mock Liver.” Of the recipe, she says: “I make this every year for the holidays. My Mom likes it better than the real thing.” Sheri’s background is Ukranian. Her grandparents came to America in the early 1900′s from Kiev, Russia and settled in Chicago, IL. Her great grandfather was a baker by trade, he opened a bakery in Chicago and became famous for his challah and other breads.

My family really enjoys Aunt Bev’s recipe. It is much lighter than traditional chopped liver, and has lots of protein. Although nothing beats the real thing, the flavor of this Vegetarian Chopped Liver might surprise you.

Many thanks to Sheri Ellyn Gross for sharing Aunt Bev’s delicious Vegetarian Chopped Liver recipe with us!

Passover Note: This recipe is kosher for Sephardic Passover. Some Ashkenazi Jews do not eat peas during Passover, as it is considered kitniyot. If you’re planning on serving this for the Passover holiday and you’re not super familiar with the kosher rules, check out these Passover kosher guidelines.

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Aunt Bev's Vegetarian Chopped Liver

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I prefer grapeseed or peanut oil, Sheri recommends canola oil)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 4 peeled hard boiled eggs, divided
  • 1 can (15 oz) peas, drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Servings: 8
Kosher Key: Pareve, Kosher for Sephardic Passover
  • Heat up the oil in a skillet over medium heat till hot enough to fry. Saute the chopped onion for several minutes till it softens and caramelizes.
  • In a food processor, combine sauteed onion, toasted walnuts, 3 hard boiled eggs, and peas.
  • Pulse, then process till the puree resembles chopped liver. Add salt and pepper to taste, and process again to blend.
  • Chop up the remaining egg. Garnish the vegetarian chopped liver with chopped egg and parsley. Serve with crackers for spreading, or matzo during Passover (if you are celebrating Sephardic style-- peas are considered kitniyot).

Comments (42)Post a Comment

    1. Hi Linda, most variations of vegetarian chopped liver that I’ve tried contain walnuts. Are you allergic to all nuts or just walnuts in particular? If you can eat other nuts, you might try pecans or macadamia nuts. I can’t promise it will turn out great because I’ve never tried it, but it’s worth a shot! If you find that one of those suggestions work, please report back and let me know. :)

    2. I make a similar Version of this using sauteed onions hard boiled eggs green peas and ground walnuts OR almonds. Tastes great!

    1. I’ve tried fresh cooked peas Sandi, but for some reason it did not taste the same– it was good, but not quite as good as the canned peas. But if that’s all you have on hand, it will work– just make sure you cook them before adding to the mix, and you’ll need to season the mixture a bit more to taste (canned peas have some salt in them). Enjoy!

  1. Great substitute with eggs and walnut gives the liver color touch. Could be a good alternative to good ol’ egg salad :)

    Hope you are doing great, Tori!

  2. Linda, I am very allergic to tree nuts. An excellent substitution for the walnuts in this recipe is roasted OR raw sunflower seeds, available in the regular supermarket (no need to go to a health food store). Not only will they taste good, but the color of them lends itself to the “look” of real chopped liver. Best wishes, Cindy

    1. Cindy

      My rabbi is highly allergic to tree nuts, so our shul is nut-free. We as a family, since aware of this have given up peanuts and do eat other nuts.

      I am thrilled to substitute sunflower seeds in its place since it is healthier and we do eat soy nut and soy butters. I never thought of it!

      Thank you so much for sharing
      Laura

  3. The canned peas are a real surprise but I bet this tastes great, I’m going to try it minus the egg yolks and see what happens. Any advice for subbing out the egg yolks (cholesterol-free)?
    LL

    1. Hey Lori Lynn! I know, it’s a very 60′s touch– but the sweetness and softness of the canned peas works perfectly for some reason! I’ve never tried subbing out the egg yolks, I don’t think it would work because a lot of the texture and flavor comes from the hard boiled yolks– though you could omit the garnish on the top to cut one egg out. I’d be curious to see if egg whites work the same, if you try it will you let me know?

  4. I use 1 cup of lentils, cooked in vegetable broth or parve “chicken” broth till tender. Otherwise the same. Outstanding! And I think a little more healthy then canned peas. Also tons of onions

  5. This is a very good dip. The flavours blend well together and I love the fibre and protein content. Dips are my favourite food and I will be making this again!

  6. This is a staple at my house every Pesach- it’s the best on matza! I make it with green beans instead of peas- I sauté them with the onions. I’ve tried it with no egg yolks, but the texture is not good. I usually leave one or two yolks out with little affect.

  7. This is a often requested dish that I make for all the holidays. I use defrosted frozen peas and steamed green beans, as well. Love, love, love it!

  8. Linda suggested using sunflower seeds in place of walnuts……yummo yummo yummo
    I purchased roasted sunflower seeds and OMG, we could not get enough of the chopped liver.
    This recipe will be made again and again, it is easy and I hope that I did not forget to say delicious.
    BTW,,used only the white of the egg

    1. Sruky what is honey garlic?
      I am making my veggie chopped liver for Thanksgiving with the sunflower seeds on Wednesday.
      For me, the color of the chopped liver is brown, and if I would use chickpeas the color would be off.
      I just checked and I am out of lentils. If we made the chopped liver with lentils……the color would work.

    1. I haven’t tried it myself, but the first substitute that comes to mind is cooked chickpeas. I would definitely substitute something for the eggs, as they add a lot to the texture. I can’t promise it will work, but I’m guessing it will probably be great. If you try it let me know!

  9. The white of the eggs added to the product, makes it just a little more moist or fluffier. I am not the shishka and can not wait to see what she says 0-)
    I would leave it without and I think that it would be fine but if you do find it heavy, seeds removed of grated zucchini,,,that would work
    does your husband have a special mayo, that would be an excellent subsitution!

  10. Hi…

    I see that you say in the ingredients that the eggs are divided, but I don’t see any instructions for that. I also that that you garnish with chopped egg. And, in the picture, I only see three eggs (not sure if the 4th is covered with the other ingredients). So, in the actually mixture, do you only use 3 eggs? And, the 4th is for garnish? I was putting the recipe into a calorie calculator, so I wanted to check.

    THanks!

  11. my neighbor who was a great cook and baker in her younger years insists that cashew nuts give a whole, and better flavor than walnuys, and good for those allergic to walnuts.
    shanah tova!

  12. Terrific recipe, TA! As per my mother, I used to make veggie liver with string beans, but the canned peas seem to add a certain sweetness which to my humble palate, gives it more of a ‘meaty taste,’ while the string beans tasted very flat in comparison. Toasting the walnuts to bring out their flavor is an inordinately good idea as well.

    While looking at real chopped liver long enough can harden your arteries senseless, this substitute comes very close in texture and even in taste (at least for those first few seconds). Thank you for sharing.

  13. Hi Tori! I just have to say that your website
    is one of the highlights of my (increasingly computer-
    concentrated) day! GREAT Mock Liver recipe, too.
    Keep up the wonderful work and THANKS!!
    xxxLisa
    Sruli and Lisa, Klezmer musicians

  14. I have been using green/brown lentils for making veggie chopped liver. Very good taste, most people think it tastes like the real thing.

  15. I toasted the walnuts, and used lentils. I actually parboiled the lentils and then finished them in the fried onions risotto style. Added a lot of delicious flavour. I also seasoned with a bit of balsamic vinegar and a touch or honey. And finally caramelized a whole onion, sliced for the topping. It was delicious! I’ve been eating it on rice crackers!

  16. Tori -
    We had an “early” seder yesterday (to aid family travel). I made a number of recipes… and hands down, Aunt Bev’s Vegeterian Chopped Liver was the one that everyone kept praising me about (and fighting over to bring home the leftovers! – I doubled the batch..)

    My sister-in-law is vegetarian, and she said this will be a regular staple for her now. The meat eaters, and the “traditionalists” all couldn’t get over how much it looked and tasted like “real” chopped liver.

    The coloring was just right, too. I think that must have been the toasted walnuts.

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. It was amazing, delicious, and simple to make!

    Happy Passover everyone!!

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