Nut roast. It’s one of those dishes that vegetarians and vegans dread. Usually the domain of unimaginative chefs (see my stuffed pepper post for the full rant) or boring old hippies that only eat bland, brown food and probably crochet their own underwear (let’s face it, we all know at least one). I’ve decided to reclaim nut roast for the mainstream. Nuts are tasty and nutritionally dense, it’s a travesty to waste them on something boring. Here they are in a delicious, colourful roast. Rich chestnuts are paired with crunchy walnuts and seeds, and jazzed up with herbs and a hint of spice. As well as forming the centrepiece of a traditional Sunday roast, alongside a mound of roast potatoes and a gallon of gravy, it can be used to stuff vegetables (I think squash would be amazing), or cold as a sandwich filling.
Recipe (serves 6-8)
- 1 tablespoon oil, plus extra for oiling the tin
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, finely chopped (a food processor will do a fine job of this, seeing as you’ll be using it anyway)
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed then chopped
- 200g cooked chestnuts
- 50g walnuts
- 100g fresh breadcrumbs or ground crackers
- 50g mixed seeds
- 150ml vegetable stock
- a big handful of fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used parsley and thyme on this occasion)
- half a teaspoon of hot chilli powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly oil a small loaf tin.
Fry the onion in the oil over a medium heat for about five minutes, until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and carrots, and cook for a further five minutes or so.
Put the chestnuts in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Tip into a large bowl, then repeat with the walnuts. It’s easier to control the consistency if you blend the two different kinds of nuts separately.
Add the fried vegetables and the rest of the ingredients to the nuts in the bowl. Mix well, and check the seasoning. Press this mixture into the loaf tin. Bake for around 30 minutes until nicely browned. Enjoy hot or cold.