Being the only plant-based in an omni family can solve the typical Christmas overeating issues. I mean, since quitting meat, I have not been feeling stuffed after a Christmas dinner. Which is good. But also a bit sad. In the last years, I have found myself eating lettuce while the other ones where enjoying their foie gras, seafood, and turkey. A french cliche in all its glory! So here we go, this year I’ll be making a nut roast with roasted veg and onion gravy! As I really want my nut roast to be delicious for my omni family to enjoy it too (all right, also to impress them a bit…) , I have been doing a few trials in the last weeks. I can now share with you my ‘easy and versatile’ recipe, as well as some Dos and Don’ts so that you don’t do the same mistake I did.
See onion gravy recipe below, after the nut roast recipe. For the roasted veg, my favourites are potatoes, parsnip and pumpkin, cut in wedge and baked for 30 minutes with olive and a pinch of rock salt.
Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t use a silicon tin. You want something rigid to end up with a compact loaf. And let it cool down before removing from the tin, otherwise it won’t stick together.
- I use grated potato as a binding agent. If your mixture is not sticky enough, you can add 2 tbsp of flour. You can also use the classical vegan egg replacement: 2 tbsp of ground linseeds mixed in 4 tbsp of warm water.
- You don’t have to use a crazy amount of nuts. 150 grams of mixed nuts & seeds together with 150 grams of lentils gives enough crunch while being high enough in protein.
- Yeast extract is quite an important ingredient to get this umami taste. I encourage you to use it even if you don’t like the taste as you won’t really feel it. If you don’t have it, use some vegetable stock to cook the lentils – it won’t make the same effect, but at least it will bring more flavours to your roast.
- Don’t chop the nuts in small piece, you want to have big chunks. To give you an idea, I chop the cashew nuts roughly in half and I don’t chop the sunflower seeds.
- As always, be creative with the veg and the spices – use what you have and like. Traditional recipes call for carrots, pepper and mushroom, but I did some delicious nut roasts with Jerusalem artichoke, cabbage, and kale. Grate all the roots vegetables, shred the leafy greens and follow the recipe below.
- You can use dry fruits such as dates, but it is not mandatory, it depends on your taste.
- The exact quantity of water you’ll need depends on the veg and the lentils you are using. It is better to add less and then add more during cooking. In case you added too much water, just let it cook until all the excess of water has evaporated.
- Nut roast recipes often call for breadcrumbs. I am not a fan but you can add them to this recipe. Use 50 to 100 grams.
Easy nut roast recipe
- 150 grams of mixed nuts and seeds, roughly chopped (cashew nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds…)
- 150 grams of lentils (red splits, green or brown), soak for at least half an hour
- 400 to 500 milliliters of water
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1 medium/big potato (200 grams), gratted
- 100 grams of mushroom, sliced
- Half pepper (red, yellow, or green), chopped
- 1 medium/big onion, chopped
- 1 stick of celery, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of mixed herbs
- Half tablespoon of yeast extract
- Half tablespoon of mustard seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- A pinch of salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan with mustard seeds. When the seeds start to splutter, add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and let it cook for another 30 seconds.
- Add the pepper, celery and mushroom and let it cook until the mushroom soften and start to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the veg and let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the yeast extract and mix well to coat.
- Rinse and drain the lentils and add them to the pan. Mix well.
- Add the water, the nuts, the mixed herbs and salt and pepper. Start by adding 350/400 ml of water, to barely cover the mixture as in the picture below. Add more water during cooking if needed.
- Let it cook stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes, until the lentils are cooked and all the water absorbed. Final consistency must be sticky. (If using green or brown lentils, cooking time will be longer – 20/30 minutes).
- Grease the inside of a loaf tin with olive oil. Place the mixture into the tin and press it down to compact it.
- Bake for about 40 minutes. Cover with foil or parchment paper during the first 25 minutes to avoid burning. Let it cool down before removing from the tin.
Onion Gravy Recipe
In this recipe, I use yeast extract to get a gravy-like colour. Therefore, to avoid to get an over-salted gravy, I highly recommend you to use a low-salt stock, and to under-dose it – I use 1 cube of stock for 1 litre of water.
- 1 litre of low salt vegetable stock (made with only 1 cube)
- 1 small/medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of gram flour (you can also use corn starch or wholewheat flour)
- 1 tablespoon of yeast extract
- 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (optional)
- Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook for 10 minutes at low heat. If needed, add a little bit of water to avoid burning.
- Add the flour and mix well to coat.
- Add the stock, the yeast extract dissolved in water and the nutritional yeast.
- Bring to a boil and stir well until thicken.
This recipe is inspired from the following recipes: