Pkhali (Vegetable Pâté with Walnut Paste)

At a supra, a traditional Georgian dinner party, pkhali, cold vegetable pâtés, are often served as a first course. This version, from Tasting Georgia author Carla Capalbo, uses finely chopped leafy greens, which are mixed with a garlicky walnut-and-herb paste. Dried marigold, a common ingredient in Georgia, adds a mild, tea-like flavor to the dish. (You can order dried marigold from

Pkhali (Vegetable Pate with Walnut Paste)
Photo: Cedric Angeles
Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins


  • 21 ounces fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (from 3 [9-ounces] packages)

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/4 cup Walnut Paste

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried marigold petals

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoons pomegranate arils


  1. Combine spinach and 1/2 cup water in a large Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium, turning spinach occasionally with tongs, until wilted, 9 to 10 minutes. Drain spinach in a colander set over a bowl, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Working in small batches, squeeze spinach with your hands to remove excess liquid until spinach is barely moist. Reserve 1 tablespoon liquid. Finely chop spinach.

  2. Stir together walnut paste, vinegar, cilantro, parsley, and ground marigold until blended. If sauce is very thick, stir in reserved liquid.

  3. Stir together chopped spinach and walnut sauce until thoroughly blended. Season with salt and pepper. Shape mixture into 6 (1 3/4-ounce) balls, and decorate each with about 1/2 teaspoon pomegranate arils. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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