No-Fail Nut Roast
I’ve been using this recipe, with various twists, for more than twenty years, and it’s never let me down. I don’t claim any credit for its creation. That goes to Amanda Sweet, author of the long-out-of-print Vegan Health Plan. If you can find this book second-hand, grab it. I’d rate it as one of the best books on vegan nutrition out there, and the recipes generally make good on their promise to deliver tasty and wholesome vegan food. It may appear to be a bit wholefoodish, but the end product is usually at least pretty decent and it’s definitely a firm foundation for creative vegan cooking.
- 175g (wholemeal) breadcrumbs
- 175g finely chopped nuts (one type or mixed e.g hazel, cashew, walnut)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tbs margarine
- 150ml strong stock
- 1 tbs tomato pureé
- 1 tsp yeast extract or miso
- Rind and juice of a small lemon
- 1 tsp each of dried sage and thyme
- Black pepper
Preheat oven to 190C and grease a 1 litre ovenproof dish or 1 kilo loaf tin.
Fry onion and garlic in margarine on a gentle heat until soft. Remove from the heat and add the nuts, breadcrumbs, tomato pureé, yeast extract / miso, lemon rind and juice and herbs. Season well with black pepper and mix thoroughly. If you’ve not made breadcrumbs before, it’s dead easy – just blitz chunks of fresh or slightly stale bread in a food processor / blender until they resemble breadcrumbs. It’s usually best done in two or three lots to stop the blade getting clogged up.
Add enough stock to moisten and bind the ingredients together – more for a moister roast, less for a firmer one that can be sliced. Just don’t make it too sloppy.
Press into the prepared dish, cover with foil and bake for an hour. Take the foil off for the last 15 minutes to brown the top.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes and remove from the dish ready to slice for serving (you can also leave it in the dish and serve it straight from that). Plate up with roast tatties, heaps of veg, lashings of gravy and a glass of whatever you like, scoff, burp and feel content with life.
It’s easy to play with this mix too – I often finely dice a couple of mushrooms and add ’em to the onion when I’m frying that then put a layer of thinly sliced raw mushroom in the middle of the loaf when I’m pressing it into the tin. I’ve done a similar thing with a layer of herby stuffing. A grated carrot or two makes a nice change, and the author also recommends trying a grated cooking apple (which I haven’t, yet).
The firm version really does slice well, and is great in a sandwich with a bit of sweet pickle. Reheating is easy in the microwave, or you can even fry it if you don’t mind a bit of extra fat.