Vegan Mofo Day 4: Pâté Chinois

Although it’s technically been Fall for a while now, I’ve only just started getting into the cold weather spirit and started embracing pumpkin, warm spices and hearty comforting meals. It’s kind of hard to crave soup when it’s still 22 degrees Celsius outside. Considering it actually snowed today (ugh!) the switch in my brain was turned on and all I’m currently craving is warm, filling yumminess. So when I came across a recipe for Pate Chinois, I was like, yup, this is so happening!

I’m not too familiar with too many French Canadian dishes, but I just so happen to stumble across this one on my hunt for Canadian recipes. Pate Chinois, which translated means Chinese Pie, is a Quebec recipe that’s very similar to Shepherd’s Pie. It’s a casserole that’s made with a layer of ground beef, a layer of creamed corn and mashed potatoes. Surprisingly not Chinese at all, the origin of the name seems to have come from the fact that it was prepared by the Chinese railway workers in the late 19th century and was passed along to the locals….or so says Wikipedia.

No matter where it’s origin lies, this is total comfort food at its finest. Although most of the basic recipes I came across didn’t have much for spices or herbs, I decided to add a little something something to my own adapted version (along with replacing the beef, of course) and it came out great! The savory lentil mixture I used went incredibly well with the sweetness of the creamed corn, and mashed potatoes are just great in anything you use them in. I made my own creamed corn mixture but if you don’t want to take the extra time, any canned variety will do. Me and P had no trouble woofing this down like two hungry beasts, and this is the guy who hates lentils no less! Seems most of the recipes I came across suggest serving it with ketchup, but smothering something other than fries with ketchup is complete and utter blasphemy, at least in my opinion, so I suggest eating it as is…unless you want to risk receiving an overly animated headshake and scowl from me. Take it from me people, don’t be a ketchup sinner.


  • Servings: One 9x11-Inch Casserole
  • Print
Adapted from Ricardo Cuisine


  • 4 cups russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 4 potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy margarine
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder or to taste
  • Celery salt, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • 3 cups cooked French (puy) lentils, drained well
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 large onion, finely diced
    • 1 large carrot, finely diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 cup vegetable broth
    • 1 tablespoon vegetarian beef bouillon
    • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
      • 3 cups corn
      • 1/2 cup water
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • 1 large shallot, minced
      • 1 teaspoon agave
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
      • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
      • Salt and pepper, to taste


      1. In a pot of salted water, cook the potatoes until tender. Drain.
      2. With a masher, coarsely crush the potatoes with the margarine. With an electric mixer, purée the mixture with the milk, until smooth. Mix in the parsley, celery salt, and onion powder. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
      3. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 375 °F.
      4. In a large skillet over high heat, add the olive oil, then the onion, carrot and garlic. Sauté until the onion begins to brown then add the lentils, broth, broth powder, rosemary, thyme and Worcestershire sauce. Cook until the liquid has evaporated, then season with salt and pepper.
      5. Lightly press the lentil mixture into the bottom of a casserole dish (about 9 x 11).
      6. Purée 1 cup corn kernels with 1/2 cup water until smooth.
      7. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, add shallot and salt, and sauté 1 minute. Add remaining 2 cups corn, and sauté 2 minutes more.
      8. Add corn purée to corn-shallot mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring often. Mixture should be thick and creamy. Remove from heat, and stir in agave, salt and pepper
      9. Spread the corn mixture over the lentils and then top with mashed potatoes.
      10. Sprinkle with the paprika and bake for about 40 minutes. Finish cooking under the broiler.

      22 thoughts on “Vegan Mofo Day 4: Pâté Chinois

      1. psyckoprincess says:

        I’ve found my dinner for tonight! *wootwoot* 😉 Thanks for sharing! This DEFINITELY is comfort food at it’s best. AND yummers enough to please a 4 year old, I’m sure. I can’t wait to make it…..

      2. Cadry's Kitchen says:

        So beautiful! Sorry to hear about the snow! (You have my sympathies. The folks at the farmers market yesterday told me I’m enjoying the last taste of summer. Frost this weekend.)

        This dish completely speaks to me. French lentils du Puy are my favorite of the lentils, and I imagine they’d be lovely with mashed potatoes. I often serve them with baked fries. (Yes, ketchup is involved, but I promise I’m only using it on the fries.) 😀

      3. Allysia Kerney says:

        22 degrees?! Holy hell, I’ll trade you! Right now in Regina it is….2 degrees. Although somehow we’ve managed to dodge snow. And you’d totally be shaking your head at me, I’d be ketchup-ing it up. I’m not ashamed. Ketchup ftw. 🙂 Also this looks beautiful, and lentils make such a wonderful ground beef replacement! I’m really enjoying your Canadian food posts so far! 🙂

      4. veganinbrighton says:

        Oh yum, shepherds pie is one of my favourite autumn/winter comfort foods and your Pâté Chinois looks wonderful. I’m finally feeling Autumnal today, I was in Texas until yesterday so I hadn’t really been feelin’ it!

      5. Erin says:

        I’m so impressed that you managed such beautiful photos of a shepherd’s pie! I think I attempted to take a photo of one once and it was so hideous that I resolved never to try again. But this looks and sounds great!

      6. veganbabette says:

        Your pâté chinois looks very sophisticated! In Québec, we eat that a lot, very often smoothered in ketchup… some kids actually eat a red pâté chinois because they put soo much ketchup.

        This is the kind of dish even picky eaters will eat =)

      7. Mandee says:

        Ooh, even thought it was at least 30C here today, this still looks like something I must make – stat! I love that you both enjoyed it, it gives me hope that my bf might enjoy this too. And I know most people would add the tomato sauce but I would eat this as is!

      8. Isabelle Puig says:

        I everybody! I hate labels but I am a French Canadian that used to eat Pâté Chinoix with meat a long time ago. I am végan and raw food since a couple of years now. I can say that this pâté chinois is very good, but one thing I don’t get is how can I replace the margarine since I am végan. I don’t use any kind of chemical products as well as any products that comes from an animal! Vegan means nothing that come from an animal if I am not wrong!? Thank you in advance for your advice! 😉

        • Maggie Muggins says:

          Hi Isabelle, you can buy vegan margarine at most grocery stores, the brand I use is Earth Balance. If you are on a whole foods diet and would like to replace the margarine, I would suggest replacing it with a 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil or leaving it out all together. Thanks!

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