Let’s be honest, Christmas cooking can be quite stressful, right? If your family is anything like mine, there’ll be different family members wanting different things, refusing to give up the meat, playing oven-tetris with everything that needs roasting, etc. And before we even get to that point, there’s the food shopping. Loads of individual bits, all with different use-by dates all expiring just before Christmas. Gimme a break. Well that’s what this nut-roast recipe will do. It’s made from plant-based whole foods that you can store in your cupboards all year round (so no worry about things going out of date before the big day!) and takes just over an hour from mixing bowl to plate! Shop-bought nut-roasts often have a lot of unnecessary ingredients in them (honey, pffft please?!; a tonne of added sugar? WHY?!) and you can bet they won’t serve as many people as you need them to. (Serves 4? Sorry but there’s 12 of us. I ain’t buying three of the buggers, no no no.) You can make it fresh on the day, or if there’s no time or space in the oven (a real problem in our house!) you can cook it the day before and warm it up the next day, or even make it a week before, and freeze it before cooking. Totally stress-free, and completely delicious.
This trusty recipe has served me well through three festive seasons. I’ve made it countless times for friends and family at christmas meals, thanksgiving celebrations, and even for the occasional sunday roast. Meat-eaters, veggies, and vegans alike will tuck in and enjoy this beauty, (as I’ve seen from first-hand experience) and I’ve spent the last year perfecting the recipe. Trust in it, it’ll do you good this Christmas, I promise.
It’s made from cashews and pecans (though any nuts of your choice will work), with maple-roasted carrots and onions, a hidden sage and onion stuffing layer, and a cranberry glaze. It’s even easy to make gluten-free, and turns out just as well! (the nutroast pictured is a gluten free version). Perfect perfect perfect. So let’s get on with making it!
FESTIVE MAPLE-ROASTED SAGE AND ONION NUT-ROAST WITH CRANBERRY GLAZE
Prep time: 35 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
- 100g whole unroasted cashew nuts
- 100g pecan nuts [or any combo of nuts of your choice. You’re aiming for about 1.5 cups combined when they’re ground]
- 170g stuffing mix (I used a pre-bought sage and onion but any vegan flavour would work; Use gluten free if preferred)
- 1 jar (250g) cranberry sauce
- Small bottle of white wine (187ml; double check that it’s vegan!)
- 3/4 cup/180ml stock
- 3 cups breadcrumbs [you’ll see from the method that I like to use bread, toast it, and blend it. If you follow this, then you’ll need approximately 4 slices. Gluten free if preferred]
- 1 large carrot
- 2 small red onions
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
- Fresh rosemary and sage (optional)
- Grease your loaf tin [which is the best thing to cook the nutroast in. If you don’t have a loaf tin, a cake tin will work, but you’ll probably have to make several roasts, and things get a little complicated from there], and preheat the oven to Gas mark 6 (200C/400F).
- Dice the carrot and onions into small cube-shaped chunks. Place them in the roasting dish, and add the maple syrup, sage, and rosemary, and roast for approximately 25 mins. While the carrots and onions are roasting, you’ll be preparing the rest of the nutroast ingredients, so that the veg are ready to be thrown in at the last minute before baking.
- Prepare nuts: Blend the cashews and pecans in a high-speed blender for a few seconds until they are coarsely chopped. It’s up to you how finely you want to grind the nuts. I prefer a mix of complete powder and coarsely chopped because it gives the nutroast a really meaty texture, but you might like larger chunks of nuts. If you don’t have a blender, you can chop by hand, but be prepared for it to take longer. Once your nuts are chopped, add them to a large mixing bowl.
- For the breadcrumbs: If you’re using pre-bought breadcrumbs, then simply place them into the mixing bowl with the nuts. I prefer to make my own because it’s easier, and we always have bread in the house. And this way you can simply use gluten free bread if preferred. Toast 4 slices of bread, and add them to the blender. Blend for a few seconds until fine breadcrumbs are formed (you’ll need 3 cups total). If you think I’m totally weird for blending toast, hear me out! It’s the quickest and most convenient way of making breadcrumbs without waiting for bread to go stale. Note: if you blend bread without toasting it, you’re more likely to get mush. Always toast and then blend. Add the breadcrumbs to the chopped nuts.
- Make up your stuffing mix according to the instructions on the packet. Do this in a separate bowl, because you’ll be building up layers of nutroast and stuffing in the roasting tin shortly.
- Make up your stock using a stock cube and 3/4 cup water.
- At this stage you should have a bowl of mixed nuts and breadcrumbs, a separate bowl of stuffing mixture, and your wine and stock ready to be added. It’s time to prep the nutroast tin for the cranberry glaze. Add the entire jar (yes that’s right the ENTIRE jar) of cranberry sauce into the nutroast tin so it forms an even layer over the bottom. You’ll need to mush it and spread it out a little, but be generous with it. You’ll be adding the nutroast mixture on top of this so that when you turn it out of the tin after cooking, it’ll have a delicious cranberry layer on top. WORTH IT TRUST ME.
- Take the carrots and onions out of the oven (but leave the oven on) and add them to the mixed nuts and breadcrumbs.
- Pour the bottle of white wine into the carrot, onion, nut and breadcrumb mix, and add the stock on top. (The wine gives it a gorgeous flavour once it’s cooked out, but if you don’t want to use it, then simply double the amount of stock you use. The amount of liquid is VITAL in bringing the dry ingredients together).
- Mix it all together so you get a dough-like texture similar to the separate stuffing mix. At this point, you should have a tin prepped with cranberry sauce, a bowl of nutroast mixture and a bowl of stuffing mixture. It’s time to build the layers in the tin. Exciting!
- Half the nutroast mixture, and pour half into the loaf tin. Smooth it down as far as you can. Then add the stuffing mix into the middle. Again smooth it down as far as you can. (Don’t be afraid to squash it all in with your hands. The more you get in the tin, the firmer the texture when the nutroast is cooked). Add the remaining nutroast mix on top of the stuffing. [You might find that you have left over stuffing or nutroast. Don’t panic! It depends what size your tin is. If there’s any left, shove it in any other tin you have and cook it too! It makes great leftover sandwiches).
- You’re ready to bake! Put it in the oven uncovered for 40 minutes. Et voila. Let it cool slightly before you turn it out from the tin. You can then turn it out, and add some fresh rosemary (as pictured), and it’s ready to be sliced and enjoyed!
nb. If you’re preparing your nutroast to cook another day, then you have a number of options. If preparing the day before, then I recommend cooking for 30 mins and then taking it out of the oven, covering it in foil, and let it cool completely before putting it in the fridge. On the day you’re going to eat it, you can then cook it with the foil on for 20 minutes or so, and then take the foil off and give it the last 10 minutes it would have had when it was first made.
If you’re preparing it a few days in advance and want to freeze it, then don’t cook it before hand. You can freeze the mixture, but make sure it is fully defrosted before you cook it. You may have to take it out of the freezer the day before. You can then cook it as per the original instructions above (40 mins uncovered). Either way, it will still be just as delicious!
And there we have it! I hope you all have a wonderful festive season, and let me know if you make this recipe for your family! I’d love to hear how it turns out. Tag me (@veritevegan) in any of your instagram snaps of your creations, and as always if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to get in touch!