Armenian Bean and Walnut Pate (Oleana)

Armenian Bean and Walnut Pate ++ the pear and plum

A wonderfully creamy rich spread, great on anything from a tomato sandwich to a cracker. This is a regular recipe at our house because its really easy protein on the go.

It comes from my favorite restaurant, Oleana. It’s a part of Anna Sortun’s cookbook, Spice. Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean. I’ve made it a million times and so I’ve come up with some edits and helpful hints that are noted below. You can use dried beans or canned. Honestly, I don’t have the patience to use the dried but if you do, the recipe will probably be better for it. I’ve always use canned and love the result so I’ll include both measurements & directions below so you can decide.

a note about herbs: I’ve used all combinations of the 4 listed below. You don’t need to use them all but you do need to use at least 2 kinds.

(serves 8)


  • Beans: 1 Cup Dry Kidney Beans, soaked overnight and rinsed OR  2.5 Cups Canned Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 5 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Small Sweet Onion, minced (I’ve used onions before that ended up being really bitter so now I always use sweet)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1.5 Cups Walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 tsp. minced Garlic (about 1 small clove)
  • 3 T Butter (original recipe calls for 4 but i didn’t taste the difference with less)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T chopped fresh Dill
  • 1 T chopped fresh Mint or Basil
  • 1 T chopped fresh Parsley


1. For DRY Beans: In a medium saucepan over medium high heat bring the beans to a boil with the water, onion and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 40-50 minutes until the beans are very tender.

For CANNED Beans: I’m never sure if this step is necessary but I’ve always done it to at least cook the onions and infuse the bay into everything…. Anyways, Cook the canned beans with the onions and bay about 10 minutes.

2. Drain the beans into a colander and discard the bay leaf

3. While the beans are still warm, toss them with the toasted walnuts, garlic and butter in a mixing bowl. Add some salt and pepper. Stir until the butter is melted and then dump mixture into your food processor. Puree 3 to 4 minutes until it is a thick paste.

4. Add Herbs and puree until mixed in. Taste it and add more salt and pepper if it needs it.

5. Now here’s where the recipe and i totally differ. I don’t really need the pate to be pretty. We eat this all week long as a snack and a meal so I’m not looking to impress anyone. I pour the whole thing into a glass bowl with a lid and keep in the fridge. Just spread on a piece of bread and go. However, If I were looking to impress, I’d follow the original recipe:  dump out the mixture onto plastic wrap and roll it up into a log so that you can slice it up for serving. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve with Armenian String Cheese.


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