Smørrebrød, or sandwiches with vegan “leverpostej” and “Havarti” (Denmark)

I’ve been to Denmark multiple times, though it’s been over a decade since the last time. The last time I attended a family party. Instead of cake the centerpiece of the food table was some kind of a roast, served with red cabbage and I think some kind of potatoes. The Danes like to eat dairy and meat (including fried lard), but also sweet dishes.

The most famous part about Danish cuisine is of course smørrebrød (“butter bread”), or Danish sandwiches. They are always open-faced and often served on rye bread (actually both of the pieces of bread in the photo are rye bread).

The toppings can include meat, cheeses, veggies, fruit, remoulade (a mayonnaise-based sauce, I believe the Danish version is different from American remoulade), fried onions etc. Sweet toppings like jam/jelly and very thin “cuts” of chocolate are also popular. Peanut butter is not a traditional smørrebrød topping, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s popular among Danish youth these days.

The “most Danish” topping is probably leverpostej or liver paté, which I used to enjoy back in my omnivore days. I believe liver patés are popular in a lot of Northern Europe, but the rustic, oven-baked Danish leverpostej is somewhat different from e.g. the one eaten here in Finland. I love Tartex mushroom paste, which tastes quite a lot like (non-Danish) liver paté and gave me the idea of trying to create mock leverpostej with mushrooms and yeast.

Another popular topping is a Danish cheese known as Havarti, which I made based on the recipe in The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. I cannot remember if I’ve eaten Havarti so I cannot judge on the authenticity, but there’s at least one big difference: the real thing is a block cheese and this one is a spread. It is also described as somewhat sweet, so I added a little sugar. Instead of just water I used half water, half soy milk.

You can find lists of many popular topping combinations on the Internet, but you can also come up with your own for your vegan smørrebrød. I remember cheese with jam/jelly being a particularly popular combination among our family friends. I’m not sure if this “Havarti” would work so well with jam, though.


Vegan leverpostej

2.4 dl/1 cup cooked/canned mushrooms (see notes)
1.5 dl / 2/3 cups water*
1.5 dl / 2/3 cups shelled hemp seed or other mild seeds or nuts (e.g. a combination of sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, almonds and sesame seeds – don’t use only sesame seeds)*
1.2 dl/0.5 cup nutritional yeast
1-2 tbsp oil
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp sugar
2 tsp Maggi or other yeast extract (Marmite or liquid aminos would probably work, too)
(1 tbsp almond butter, cashew butter or tahini)
(5-8 drops roasted sesame oil)
little allspice
little cloves

* the water and the seeds can be completely or partially replaced with tofu – I would recommend using at least some nuts or seeds, though

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor until fairly smooth.

I used about 2/3 cooked portobellos and 1/3 cooked (mild) wild mushrooms, but I realized afterwards I should have used 1/2 cooked mushrooms and 1/2 canned mushrooms, to get a milder, more accurate flavour and a color closer to brown than black. Using only canned mushrooms might make the taste too “artificial”.

Vegan Havarti “cheese”

1/4 cup/0.6 dl water
1/4 cup/0.6 dl soy milk (or other vegetarian milk)
1 cup/2.4 dl cooked or canned chickpeas
1/4 cup/0.6 dl raw cashews
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
0.5-1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground dill seed (can substitute ground caraway if you have no dill seed)
1/4 tsp celery seed (use celery salt instead of salt if you have no celery seed)
1.5-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook, stirring, until thickened. Let cool for several hours before serving.

3 Responses to “Smørrebrød, or sandwiches with vegan “leverpostej” and “Havarti” (Denmark)”

  1. 1

    Interesting “Havarti” recipe. I’ll need to try that!

  2. 2

    Very curious about this havarti as well! Definitely saving this recipe, I’ve gotta try it for myself.

  3. 3

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