Cooking for vegetarians can be a slightly daunting task. Especially when you come from a long line of meat-consuming ancestors the idea of a meat free celebratory meal such as Christmas dinner can be a little foreign. When I took up the challenge I wanted to avoid such things as Tofurkey or soy meat substitutes so I enlisted the help of a workmate who has been vegetarian for a long time. She suggested the rich alternative of the nut roast. Nut roasts can be vegan (this one is not) and are perfect for vegetarians who do not like meat substitutes (as they can be too much like real meat). This recipe combines the rich flavour of pine nuts with the sweetness of carrot. It is quite simple to make and combined with a rich sauce it is so delicious that you won’t miss the meat.
Ingredients for roast
- 25 grams butter
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 225grams of finely grated carrot
- 225gram of pine nuts finely grated (or coarsely ground with mortar and pestle)
- 2 sticks of celery finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
- squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 eggs (free range is the best)
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4
Fry onion with the butter for 5 minutes and then add the carrot and celery and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the pine nuts, parsley, lemon juice and eggs. The mix may appear very sloppy, this is good, as nut roasts can be a little dry so being sloppy means a moist roast.
Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Pour into a greased 500gram/1lb. Loaf tin. Bake until golden brown and firm in the centre.
The original recipe I used has a mushroom sauce but not being a fan of mushrooms I have not road-tested the sauce recipe. I used a white sauce with brie melted in it and pan-fried mushrooms in half for the mushroom-lover. Sneff the wonder-chef also suggested roasted tomato dressing.
Ingredients for mushroom sauce
Put the mushrooms and water in saucepan, bring to the boil, remove from heat and soak for 40 minutes. Drain but keep the liquid.
Chop the mushrooms.
Fry the onion in butter until lightly browned.
Add the mushrooms and gently cook for 30 minutes until tender.
Mix in cornflour with the set aside liquid, wine and shoyu then add the mushroom to the liquid. Bring to the boil stirring until slightly thickened. Season to taste.
Slice up the roast and drizzle with your chosen sauce. Serve with your choice of roasted vegetables and enjoy.
When I served this meal I began with goats’ cheese and cranberry parcels as the entrée and rounded it off with mince pies.
Thank you to TenMinJoe for cooking suggestions and StrawberryFrog for taste-testing the recipe.