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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- 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
- 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).