Christmas is just around the corner, but potential meat shortages could throw a real spanner in the works.
Most families turn to a traditional turkey on December 25 – but this may not be an option for everyone this year.
So it’s a good idea to plan ahead and think of some alternatives for a Christmas Day showstopper – and the humble nut roast is a great choice.
There are many different ways to make the vegetarian dish, which is predominantly made up of various nuts and mushrooms. What’s more, it can easily be tailored to become vegan – so is a real crowd-pleaser.
And because a nut roast is incredibly versatile, individuals can put their own spin on it – adding or taking away ingredients as they please.
We’ve rounded up two different nut roast recipes, for anyone thinking of mixing things up this year – or simply welcoming vegetarians and vegans to the dinner table.
Plant-based nut roast recipe:
This vegan option is from plant-based chef Bettina Campolucci Bordi, who says: ‘This dish is brilliant in the sense that it is a proper centrepiece and can be enjoyed by all.
‘It is equally as yummy the day after you make it and can also be transformed into a hash or squeezed between slices of bread for a sandwich.’
- 2 parsnips (about 300g), peeled and cut into 3–4 cm pieces
- 1⁄2 small swede (about 200g), peeled and cut into 3–4 cm pieces
- 1 small sweet potato (about 150g), peeled and cut into 3–4 cm pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small leek, washed and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 350 g mushrooms (such as chestnut or oyster), chopped
- 50g herb leaves (such as rosemary, thyme and sage), finely chopped
- 120g cooked wholegrain rice (prepared according to the directions on packet)
- 200g cavalo nero or kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
- 120g ground almonds
- 160g walnuts, chopped (plus an extra handful, toasted, to serve)
- 4 tablespoons cold-milled flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper, to taste
1. Cook the parsnips, swede and sweet potato in a large saucepan of boiling water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well, then roughly mash.
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) and cook the leek, garlic and shallot for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms, herbs and some salt and pepper, and fry for a further 5–10 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F/gas 8).
4. Mix the vegetable mash, mushroom mixture, cooked rice, cavolo nero, ground almonds, walnuts and flax seeds together in a large bowl using a spatula, until smooth.
5. Line a 900g loaf pan with baking parchment, then add the mixture. You can also use a non-stick mould or brush the inside with olive oil.
6. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas 6), then roast the loaf in the middle of it for about 40 minutes.
7. Remove the loaf from the oven, then lift out of the pan along with the paper (if using).
8. Turn the loaf upside down onto a baking tray (pan) lined with baking parchment.
9. Mix the tamari/soy sauce with the maple syrup and mustard, then baste the loaf before returning to the oven to bake for a further 15–20 minutes.
10. Once the nut roast is ready, allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Cheese, cashew and walnut roast recipe:
This recipe is from head chef Carl Riley of Michelin-recognised restaurant The George at Alstonefield, in the Peak District.
It serves at least six – which means it’s the perfect centrepiece for special occasions, such as Christmas.
- 175g onion, finely diced
- 175g chopped mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium red pepper, finely diced
- 2-3 sticks celery, finely diced
- 1 tbsp mixed herbs
- 250g cooked brown rice (about 100g/3½oz before cooking)
- 110g walnuts, finely chopped
- 110g cashew pieces
- 5 medium eggs
- 175g cottage cheese
- 340g grated cheese (including cheddar, smoked cheddar and red Leicester)
- 50ml chopped fresh herbs (including parsley, rosemary and thyme)
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
1. Sauté the onion and celery in olive oil, until they begin to go transparent.
2. Add the mushrooms, garlic, red pepper, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Cook until mixture is soft, stirring regularly to avoid burning.
3. Combine the cooked ingredients with all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
4. Line a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin with baking parchment (the simplest way to do this is to use two pieces that will cross over on the base of the tin – a narrow one for the length of the tin and a wide one for the width). Fill to, at most, 7cm (3 inches) deep. Fold over paper, to help prevent drying out. If the mixture is too deep, the outside may get rather leathery before the inside is properly set. Avoid using ordinary, old-fashioned greaseproof paper as it lacks the non-stick properties of silicone parchment and this is a very sticky mixture. If you have to use it, make sure it is generously buttered.
5. Bake at 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) for 1-1½ hours until firm. A knife inserted will come out wet but relatively clean showing that the eggs have set. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for five to 10 minutes before turning out and serving. Garnish with roughly chopped parsley. Carve into generous slices. Can also be served cold.
Note: For a dairy-free version you can omit the cheese, and also the eggs if necessary. Instead add 250g of crumbled tofu to the mixture.
Best supermarket nut roasts:
For those who would rather have the hard work done for them, there are plenty of supermarket nut roasts on offer too:
Morrisons The Best Nut Roast, £3
Clive’s Nut Roast, Waitrose, £5.25
Sainsbury’s chestnut and mushroom roast, £3.50
M&S Plant Kitchen Butternut, Almond & Pecan Nut Roast, Ocado, £6
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