Recipe: Wintery Vegan Nut Loaf

The festive season may be over but that doesn’t mean that chestnuts cease to exist or that cranberry sauce must fade into oblivion for another eleven months.

I made this nut loaf as my Christmas Day main but its nutty, spicy goodness doesn’t need to be reserved for a once-a-year dish. This would be the perfect addition to a Sunday Roast or as a veggie main at a dinner party (although you do run the risk of perpetuating the myth that us vegos live solely on salad and nut roasts…).

I got my inspiration from BBC Good Food’s Parsnip, Cranberry & Chestnut Loaf, found ideas for veganising it from The Vegan Society’s recipe for Easy Nut Roast and mixed them together with my own stuffing recipe to create a delicious end result. I did cheat with the cranberry sauce as I used sauce from a jar but if you have the time, definitely make your own!

In all the Christmassy excitement, I forgot to actually take photos of the completed roast or my deliciously decked-out vegan Christmas plate so please excuse the sub-par photos. I promise it looked much prettier fresh from the oven.

I shared the loaf with my non-vegetarian, slightly wary dinner hosts and it went down a treat!

Vegan Nut Loaf with Chestnut Stuffing and Roast Parsnips

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Ingredients

The Stuffing
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 baby leeks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
200g cooked chestnuts
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 tbsp sage, chopped
Himalayan sea salt to season

The Loaf
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 baby leeks, chopped
1 tbsp sage, chopped
225g mixed pecans, cashews and almonds
2 tbsp ground almonds (almond meal)
100g breadcrumbs
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Himalayan sea salt and ground black pepper to season
2 tbsp Vegemite (or yeast extract of choice), mixed with 140ml boiling water
1 medium parsnip, peeled and halved lengthways
100ml whole cranberry sauce

The Topping
2 medium parsnips, peeled and halved lengthways
2 tbsp soy (or other non-dairy) spread
1 tbsp agave nectar

Method:

Start with the stuffing. Heat oil in small pan then sauté leeks for 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until just browned. Remove from heat. Combine dry ingredients in a food processor, add leek and garlic mix then pulse until well-combined but still course, not mushy. Set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin, grease lining as well then set aside.

Heat oil in large pan, add the chopped leeks and sauté over medium heat until softened. Add sage and stir until wilted. Remove from heat and tip mix into large mixing bowl.

Pulse nuts in a food processor until chopped. (Do not over-mix or they will start to turn into a paste.) Add to mixing bowl along with ground almonds, breadcrumbs, cayenne pepper, sea salt and black pepper then stir until combined. Add Vegemite mix and stir until just combined.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add parsnips then boil for 4 minutes – do not over-boil or they will go mushy. Drain and rinse. Chop two of the parsnips into lengths that will cover the base of the tin and dice remaining parsnip into smaller pieces. Mix diced parsnip pieces into nut mixture.

In a small bowl, mix together soy spread and agave nectar. Brush mixture generously over parsnip lengths. Spread parsnip lengths evenly across bottom. Top with 1/3 nut mixture and press down firmly and smoothly. Spread cranberry sauce over surface then top with the chestnut stuffing. Add remaining nut mixture and press down firmly again. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for remaining 20-25 minutes, or until loaf browned and parsnips golden and crisp.

Gently loosen around edges with a round-bladed knife if needed then turn loaf onto a serving tray. (Hint: If the parsnips are not quite browned, give the roast 2-3 minutes under the grill – parsnip side up – until brown and crisp.)  Slice and serve with extra cranberry sauce.

Stuffing (5)
Chestnut and sage stuffing.
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This is a re-heated slice and I promise the original looked better!

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