If you think nut roast is a boring vegetarian cliche, think again!
This little beauty is chock full of delicious nuts, seeds and spices that come together in a taste sensation. Don't be put off by the number of ingredients - most of these are lurking in the average spice rack and it comes together really quickly and easily. It works brilliantly as a roast dinner but also anywhere you would normally use mince, such as in a bolognese sauce, "meat" balls, rissoles, chilli or shepherds pie.
If you're making it for Christmas or Easter, you can add lots of allspice and nutmeg in addition to the named spices for a lovely festive flavour, and wrap the nut mixture in puff pastry to make a delicious Wellington-esque dish, or make sausage rolls with the mixture. The possibilities are endless! I hope you'll love it as much as I do.
BEST-EVER VEGETARIAN NUT ROAST
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 200g (1 large bag) walnut pieces
- 100g (half a large bag) whole almonds
- 200g other mixed nuts (I tend to use cashews, pine nuts and pecans)
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice
- Roughly 1½ cups breadcrumbs (add more if too wet)
- 1 egg
- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes, drained (reserve the juices for gravy)
- 2 large handfuls fresh flat leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons Vegemite or Marmite
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 1/4 cup grated strong vegetarian Cheddar cheese
- ¾ of a medium red onion
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grease and line a large loaf tin and set aside. If you're cooking the roast straight away (see further), preheat the oven to 180C (fan).
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, toast the nuts, seeds and spices, tossing everything to coat well. Be very careful and do not let it burn. Toast for a few minutes, or until the mixture is fragrant and starting to turn golden, then turn off the heat and let it cool slightly.
Add the cooled nuts and spices to the bowl of a food processor. Add all other ingredients. Blitz until thoroughly combined, or combined to your liking (it can be nice if left a little chunky). You might need to stop and scrape it down a few times. If it's too wet, add more breadcrumbs. If it's too dry, add a little water, reserved tomato juice or even a dash of red wine if you've got some handy!
Place in the prepared pan and ideally leave for a few hours (or overnight is even better) in the fridge to let the flavours deepen and the loaf firm up. If you're in a hurry you can cook it straight away, but ideally give it at least an hour's resting time.
Preheat oven to 180C (fan). When ready, cook the roast for 45 minutes to an hour until firm and golden. Allow it to cool slightly before carving then serve with gravy and all your favourite roast vegetables.