Despite being a vegetarian for nearly 30 years, until recently I’d never made a nut roast. I’ve eaten plenty; most of them fairly bland and flavourless to be honest, a bit dry, and screaming of being something of an afterthought on the Sunday lunch menu. Roast rump of beef, tick, shoulder of pork with stuffing and crackling, yep. What about the vegetarians? Let’s rustle up a quick nut roast, that’ll do. Nobody likes to be an afterthought do they? Show the veggies some love, please!
A couple of Sundays ago, after an all too rare Saturday night out drinking ALL the wine, the kids were demanding some park time on their bikes. We agreed to take them, on the understanding that we’d try to chase away our hangovers with Sunday lunch at the pub next to the park, https://thewaggonsheffield.co.uk/. The veggie option was, you’ve guessed it, nut roast! But this wasn’t an afterthought nut roast – this was simply delicious; moist, packed with flavour and texture and a fabulously chunky slice to boot, it easily held its own against the meaty options on the menu. Served with roast potatoes, seasonal greens, honey glazed root vegetables, cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding (as big as your head) and lashings of gravy, it was the ultimate hangover cure, particularly when washed down with a mimosa, (or two). Plus they serve children’s portions with all the trimmings, meaning the kids get a decent meal and don’t end up with something and chips – bonus!
The ultimate hangover cure, particularly when washed down with a mimosa!
I was totally inspired to try and recreate the nut roast at home, and came up with my own version, which I think is just as tasty. Featuring walnuts, cashews and pine nuts, and packed with vegetables, with no breadcrumbs or other fillers, its the perfect veggie Sunday centrepiece. Its easy to make ahead, then reheat just before serving, leaving you free to concentrate on making roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings to go with it!
The BEST nut roast, serves 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek halved lengthwise, then sliced
1 large carrot, grated
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
150g cashew nuts, coarsely chopped (I used my food processor)
50g walnuts, coarsely chopped
50g pine nuts
400g tin cannellini beans, drained (240g beans)
1tsp dried thyme
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and add the sliced leek, grated carrot and chopped garlic. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until everything is soft and fragrant.
3. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the nuts, cannellini beans, and thyme. Season well with salt and pepper.
4. Add the eggs, and mix thoroughly until everything is well coated.
5. Line a loaf tin with baking paper or foil, and grease well. Tip the nut mixture into the loaf tin, and press it down well and smooth out the top.
5. Bake for around 1 hour, until the nut loaf is firm and golden brown.
The perfect veggie Sunday centrepiece, served alongside roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower cheese, green beans and root vegetable mash
I used walnuts, cashews and pine nuts, as that’s what I happened to have in the cupboard at the time, but I also really liked the mix of bitterness from the walnuts, creaminess from the cashews and sweetness from the pine nuts. You could use whichever nuts you like – pecans would be a good substitute for the walnuts, and hazlenuts would work well too. The cannellini beans could be swapped for another bean; haricot beans or even chickpeas would work well with the nuts and vegetables too.
Give it a try, and let me know what you think!
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