Yes nut roasts are cliched but personally I love them. As a vegan centrepiece to a roast, they tick all the boxes.
I have a lot of different nut roast recipes. I’ve chosen a really simple version (adapted from BBC Food) that can easily be tarted up with a mushroom marsala gravy, or covered in sherry soaked cranberries, or even marsala soaked prunes. I’m a purist when it comes to nut roast, I don’t like the base too fancy. But once you have the roast, you can do what you like with it. A friend once made a cracking nut roast that he shaped into a turkey but he had a lot of time on his hands!
Simple Nut Roast
- 300g/10½oz mixed nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans or Brazil nuts
- 1 vegan-friendly vegetable cube
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 1 leek trimmed and thinly sliced (about 100g/3½oz prepared weight)
- 2 carrots, coarsely grated (around 150g/5½oz prepared weight)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 tbsp cashew butter
- 180g/6oz cooked chestnuts, broken into small pieces
- 75g/2½oz dried cranberries
- 20g/ sage, thyme, parsley, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, finely grated zest only
- 3 tbsp milk alternative, such as oat or almond
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 heaped tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Put the nuts and stock cube into a food processor and blitz on the pulse setting until chopped into small pieces, but not fully ground. If you don’t have a food processor, chop all the nuts as finely as you can.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Lightly oil then line the base of a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking paper.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion, celery, leek and carrots for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds more.
Tip into a mixing bowl and stir in the cashew nut butter. Add the chopped nuts, chestnuts, cranberries, herbs, paprika, lemon zest, “milk”, soy sauce and salt. Season with lots of ground black pepper and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Press down with a spoon firmly to compact the mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until the loaf is hot throughout and lightly browned.
Remove the tin carefully from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before loosening the edges of the loaf with a table knife and turning out onto a board or platter. Cut into thick slices and serve hot with vegan gravy (most Bistos are vegan, if you’re stuck!).
This can be prepared before hand and stored in the fridge for 3 days. To reheat, cover with foil and cook for about 20-30 minutes in a medium oven.