If my cheese and onion plait wasn't your thing, here's another vegetarian Christmas dinner idea - carrot and cashew nut roast!
A reader emailed me the other day (hello Faye!) and asked if I had a nut roast recipe, and it was only then that I realised that I had never, ever made a nut roast before. I've eaten it millions of times on Sundays in pubs (usually with lashings of gravy and plenty of roast potatoes), but had never made it myself. Since nut roast is such a great vegetarian go-to meal at this time of year, I thought I should make one straight away!
Instead of using loads of breadcrumbs to fill out my nut roast, I made sure it was crammed with plenty of nuts (cashew nuts, walnuts and pine nuts), as well as some carrots and leek, and even some cannellini beans. All killer, no filler! Plus, it has the added advantage that it ended up entirely gluten free. I used eggs to bind it all together, so I'm afraid it's not vegan, but you could always experiment with flax eggs or another egg alternative if you need your nut roast to be vegan.
I left my nut roast quite chunky, but if you prefer a finer texture then just chop everything up a bit more - the flavours will be the same!
The two of us obviously couldn't get through a whole nut roast in one go, so we had the leftovers the next day, and it reheated really well in the oven. Any loose nuts might get a bit too crunchy, but the bulk of the nut roast tasted just the same the next day. If you're cooking this for your Christmas dinner, it would probably be totally fine to cook it in advance and reheat it on a moderate heat before serving. Or if you're serving this for a less fancy occasion (i.e. to eat in your pyjamas on the sofa), it would probably reheat just fine in the microwave too.
Don't forget the gravy!
Carrot and cashew nut roast
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- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 medium leek halved lengthwise then sliced
- 1 large carrot grated
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 150 g cashew nuts coarsely chopped
- 50 g walnuts coarsely chopped
- 50 g pine nuts
- 400 g tin cannellini beans 240g when drained, drained
- 3 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1tsp dried, chopped
- Black pepper
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- Spray oil for greasing loaf tin
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and add the sliced leek, grated carrot and minced garlic. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until everything is soft and fragrant.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and add the three types of nuts, the cannellini beans, and the thyme. Season generously. Add the eggs, and mix thoroughly until everything is well coated.
- Line a loaf tin with baking paper or foil, and grease very thoroughly. Transfer the nut mixture to the loaf tin, and press it down into the corners of the tin. Smooth out the top.
- Bake for around 1 hour, or until the nut loaf is firm and golden brown.
- Carefully turn over the loaf tin, and remove the loaf. Peel off the paper / foil, and serve.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.