Vegan Rillettes

No matter what it is, the French just seem to have a knack for delectable cuisine.

Baguettes, croissants, all the typical hits at the boulangerie… quiche galore, bouillabaisse, soufflés, brûlées, salads, stews, soups – especially French onion!

I’m inclined to contend that… I’m a big believer that the French live so well because they eat so, so well. After all, the term haute cuisine is clearly of French origin. We also have the French people to thank for the famed Michelin guide — the culinary journalistic centerpiece — the true “who’s who” of fine dining.

Rillettes — along with everything I mentioned above and more — are just one more of the French people’s countless contributions to the rich culinary fabric of the world.

Yet the strange thing about it is — as seemingly exotic of a delicacy as it is to us — it’s just run-of-the-mill stuff to them.

Pronounced “ree-yets”, they are a commonplace means of preparing, preserving, and storing meats for later consumption. But there is something so delectable about the seasoning, the texture, the typical chilled presentation, and the fact they almost always involve baguette on which to spread and enjoy them. Alas, I’m not going to (to allow their commonplace frequency to ruin…) give it any mind and let it ruin our fantasy here. // romance

My first encounter with rillettes was — as has been the case for many of the recipes I’ve developed, tested, and shared with you here — at Global.

Vegan Adaptation

When it comes to rillettes, texture is an important consideration, but not at the expense of other important matters.

There are many vegan recipes that are adaptations of carnivore dishes that are a total win in texture but a loss in nutritional value. Frankly, I don’t much see the point of developing, cooking, or serving recipes and food that sacrifice nutritive value / content for visual or textural similarity or likeness to what inspired it. Adapting a protein-rich carnivore recipe like this and stripping it of all that nutritional value to make it palatable to our or someone else’s memory of a criteria so challenging as texture just doesn’t make sense to me.

It’s an adaptation; there’s always a compromise to make. We’re not eating solely for fun; there has to be some practicality to this.

Jackfruit is commonly used. Some people love jackfruit, which is fine, (but it seems like a crutch on the way to a full acceptance / immersion into veganism). The textural value of it for a dish like this is great, but it doesn’t come without its downsides. To me, it just doesn’t have an important place in modern vegan cuisine. For one, it has no relevant nutritional value — used to mimic the texture of meat, it contains almost no protein yet is very high in carbohydrates. From a production standpoint it requires a lot of manual work to process the fruit, not to mention the fact that it has to travel across oceans to get to us, as there is presently no domestic agricultural production.

With the right marinade and seasonings, tofu does a fantastic job. If you’re dead set on incorporating a more meat-like texture to it, soy curls do a fantastic job.

Vegan Rillettes

Course Appetizer
Cuisine French
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