This lovely and moist Festive Nut Roast recipe by Amelia Freer is a wonderful Sunday lunch alternative to the meat roast or just a delicious meal to share with friends. The great thing about it is that you can prepare it all in advance and just pop it in the oven one hour before serving – it is a must-have dish to make this Christmas.
Amelia Freer says: ‘This is definitely my kind of cooking for a crowd. If there are any leftovers, it’s just as delicious cold for lunch with a salad. Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, so I often encourage people to eat a small portion each day.
‘For vegans, they are a valuable source of protein too. Nuts are calorific and so need to be enjoyed in a savvy, not fearful way. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients here as there is nothing complex and all are easily sourced. But the wide variety does lend to the deliciousness of the final dish.’
• 2 tbsp good olive oil
• 1 red onion, diced
• 3 carrots, small diced
• 2 parsnips, small diced
• 3 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 heaped teaspoon ground turmeric
• 2 tsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp ground coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 100 g cashew nuts – soaked a couple of hours and drained
• 100 g almonds – soaked a couple of hours and drained
• 100g walnuts – soaked a couple of hours and drained
• 50 g dried apricots (preferably un-sulphured), finely chopped
• 200 g cooked quinoa
• Juice and zest of 1 lemon
• 25g green herbs: parsley, coriander or dill
• 2 tbsp dried oregano
• 1 tin of chickpeas, drained (or use 200g chestnuts roughly chopped as a sub)
• 3 medium free-range eggs (for plant-based use 2 tbsp chia seeds, mixed with 100ml water)
• Fresh chopped herbs, dill, parsley or coriander
• Crumbled feta (optional)
For the tomato sauce:
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 2 tins (400g) of cherry tomato
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 190 /170°Cfan/gas 5. Grease and line a 24cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper.
Use Merchant Gourmet for quick pre-cooked quinoa, but if you need to boil yours, add 100g of quinoa to a pan with double the amount of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes until its cooked.
In a frying pan, on medium heat, cook the onion for 3-4 minutes, then add the diced carrot and parsnip, cook for a further 6 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the four dry spices and a splash of water so they don’t catch on the bottom, cook for a minute more only, then set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the nuts briefly until they are coarsely ground, you want texture, not a powder. Tip into a big bowl with the cooked vegetables, apricots, quinoa, lemon, fresh herbs, oregano, chickpeas, and eggs. Mix until they are combined.
Tip the mix into the cake tin, pressing down gently and bake for 60 minutes. Cover the top with foil halfway through to stop it browning. Leave it to cool slightly for 10 minutes before serving.
While the nut roast is cooking, make the tomato sauce. In a saucepan on a medium heat, sauté the garlic in a little olive oil for 1-2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cinnamon, plus one more can of water (400ml). Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce thickens. You will need to partially cover this (for splatters) but not completely or it will not reduce.
When the nut roast is cooked, top with a scattering of toasted nuts, some fresh herbs and a little feta (optional). Serve in wedges with the tomato sauce and a nice light crispy green salad, or steamed greens.