So this is our very first vegetarian Christmas and I have been working hard to find a main dish for the big day. I wanted something that had all the flavours of a traditional Christmas dinner. Something that had a little wow factor. But most of all I didn’t want any of us to feel like we were missing out. So we decided that this nut roast en croûte was perfect for our Christmas dinner.
We’ve road tested this a few times so as to avoid disaster, and I’ve played around with the flavours until I found the right combination for us. I was so pleasantly surprised when everyone loved it, I can’t tell you how happy I was. This just means that we can have a Christmas dinner with all the usual trimmings but without the meat. And the best bit is that this nut roast can be served cold the next day too. A vegetarian cold cut if you will.
For Christmas lunch, we will serve this with all the trimmings. The trimmings include roast potatoes, roasted carrots and parsnips and Brussels sprouts, we’re skipping the stuffing as this nut roast is quite filling. A good cranberry sauce is also on the cards as it actually goes really great with a slice of this nut roast as is a good vegetarian gravy. For St. Stephen’s Day/ Boxing Day we will have this nut roast cold with some good red onion chutney. Christmas sorted!
How to Make Nut Roast en Croûte:
Right, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. I use a mixture of nuts including walnuts, almonds and cashews. I find that the cashews add a little sweetness and creaminess however you could use any nuts here. Pistachios and brazil nuts would work very well too. For the rest of the mixture, I used chestnut mushrooms, carrots and butternut squash. I like these to be chopped up a little on the rustic side, however, I have also chopped everything quite fine and that works very well too.
For the herbs, well it has to be rosemary and sage to get those Christmas flavours. I also add dried oregano. Store bought roasted chestnuts and feta complete the mixture. To bind everything together I add an egg and some breadcrumbs, two small slices of white bread will usually do the trick. The whole thing is encased in shortcrust pastry then baked until golden brown. I use a ready made ready rolled pastry, you can make your own pastry if you wish but it’s Christmas, it’s busy and I don’t have time for that. I make no apologies for making my life easier 😉
Can I freeze this nut roast?
Yes, you can freeze this nut roast. You can freeze it before you cook it if you want. You will need to freeze it on a tray for about an hour first then transfer to a freezer friendly container and it will keep for up to a month. Defrost completely the night before cooking. Please note that the consistency may alter slightly if you do freeze this. If you have any leftovers the cooked nut roast en croûte will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat it in the oven or microwave.
So, friends, this is my last recipe of 2018, thank you so much for reading and following along with us as we switched to a vegetarian diet. I’m going offline for about two weeks to enjoy the holidays with my family and friends. I hope you are planning some downtime too. From my family to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year Xx
Nut Roast en Croûte
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion (200g) finely chopped
- 2 carrots (230g) peeled and finely chopped
- 200 g chestnut mushrooms wiped clean and finely chopped
- 400 g butternut squash cut into small cubes
- 3 fat cloves of garlic minced
- 1 heaped tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 150 g mixed nuts, I used walnuts, almonds and cashews
- 1 x 180g pack of roasted chestnuts
- 1 large egg
- 80 g feta cheese
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 small slices of white bread turned into breadcrumbs in a food processor
- 1 x 320g roll of ready rolled shortcrust pastry + more for any decorations or patching up
- 3 or 4 tbsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 200/180 degrees 392F. I use a fan assisted electric oven please adjust temperatures according to your own oven.Lightly grease a baking tray with olive oil.
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan, add the onion and carrot and cook until the onion is soft over a medium heat, for about 10 minutes.Then add the mushrooms, butternut squash and salt and pepper and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Now add the garlic and herbs and crumble in the chestnuts. Cook for about 5 minutes then take it off the heat and leave to cool.
- While that mixture is cooking toast the nuts in a large frying pan for about 5 minutes. Once you see them browning remove from the heat then add to a food processor and blitz until they are a rough crumble. Add those to the squash and mushroom pan.Add the breadcrumbs and egg to the mixture and mix well, then add the feta and mix again.
- Unroll your pastry then using a rolling pin roll it out a little more.Place the mixture onto the pastry and using your hands shape it into a sausage shape leaving room on the edges and leaving pastry to fold over. Please see the photo.
- Fold over the pastry, then fold up the edges. Turn the en croûte upside down onto the baking tray.Now is the time to add any pastry decorations you wish to add or to patch up any rips or holes in the pastry.
- Brush the pastry with the milk then place on the middle shelf in the oven and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, turning the tray around halfway through cooking.Once the pastry is golden brown all over then remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before removing from the tray.
- Serve straight away with all the trimmings.
- You can make the filling a day ahead of time, just keep it covered in the fridge.
- Make your life easier and use ready made ready rolled pastry.
- Cold hands are sort of essential when handling pastry if you're like me and have warm hands then rinse your hands under the cold tap for a few minutes. I know this is slightly painful but it will be worth it.
- Please do a test run of this beforehand if you are planning to have it for Christmas dinner. Just to make sure you like it.
- This can easily be veganised, omit the cheese, use your favourite vegan shortcrust pastry. Use a flax egg to bind the mixture and use a plant milk to glaze the pastry.
More festive vegetarian recipes:
- Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries
- A Warm Winter Salad of Roasted Kalettes and Stilton
- Puff Pastry Mince Pie Squares
- Christmas Chocolate Bark
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