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Parsnip Nut Roast

by Sophie Gordon from The Whole Vegetable

This moreish parsnip nut roast is the perfect vegan main course for any roast or festive celebration.

From the book

Sophie Gordon

Introduction

I ate a few nut roasts while growing up, but none stood out to me. We didn’t have ‘Sunday roasts’ that often, and if we did, my main priority was getting as much bread sauce on to my steamed carrots as possible. It was when I spent my first Christmas in Australia that our family friend Debbie rustled up a nut roast for the lunch spread, and it was everything a nut roast should be: textured, flavoursome, earthy but subtly sweet, moist from the parsnips… need I go on? In light of that memory, I couldn’t help but re-create and adapt! This one’s for you, Debbie!

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Ingredients

400g parsnips, thoroughly washed, roughly chopped, skins on
3 tbsp ground flax
8 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 white or brown onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
approx. 6 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
½–1 tsp grated nutmeg
approx. 200g mushrooms, minced in a processor
salt and pepper
180g either cashews, almonds, or a combination (you could also use hazelnuts for a twist), ground in a processor
2 tsp fresh rosemary sprigs, 1 tsp if dried
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, 1 tsp if dried
2 tsp miso paste
approx. 140g breadcrumbs (any kind, use leftover/stale bread)
2–4 tbsp wholemeal flour
3 tbsp nutritional yeast

Essential kit

You will need: a food processor

Method

Preheat your oven to 200°C fan. Grease a large loaf tin.

Put your parsnips on a baking tray and roast them dry for about 30–35 minutes, until they are browned slightly and soft on the inside. Roasting them dry prevents them losing any moisture. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, mash well and place to one side while you make the rest of your nut roast.

In a small bowl, combine your ground flax with the 8 tablespoons of water, creating a gloopyish paste. Put into the fridge to firm up.

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over a low heat and sauté the onion until slightly translucent and fragrant. Add the garlic and sage leaves and continue to sauté until they start to slightly brown. Add the nutmeg and mushrooms plus a dash of water and continue to cook a little, stirring well. Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Stir in the ground nuts, rosemary, thyme, miso paste, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of wholemeal flour, the nutritional yeast and your flax mixture. Add the mashed parsnips and combine well, using your hands. Season again here if necessary. If your mixture is still a little wet, add the other 2 tablespoons of flour.

Transfer the mixture to your loaf tin and pack it down tightly. Roast, on a low/middle rack, for about 30 minutes, checking it halfway through the cooking time. You want the top to become brown and crispy and the loaf to cook through. You can test it with a knife, making sure the mixture is not too loose.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then place a serving plate over the tin and flip, giving the tin a little shake to help the nut roast fall out.

Serve with your desired sides, as part of a roast dinner, with fresh greens, grains, etc.

Waste tips: Nut roasts are great fridge or freezer keepers. I often make a whole loaf knowing I can save it for another day to pair with other leftovers, or just make it ahead of time to serve with other ‘roasted’ items. You could change things up with the parsnips – for example, try adding some carrot, or potato, swede, any vegetables of a similar texture. It’s nice to have a combination of flavours and textures within the nut roast, and an orange vegetable of course adds great colour. Feel free to use any other flour you like or have in. I’d recommend using a coarser flour and avoiding finer ones such as coconut or buckwheat – they will still work, you may just need a tad more. I’ve also been known to add caramelised onions to this dish, either stirred in or on top, which adds a really great depth. Simply simmer a sliced onion in balsamic vinegar, with a dash of salt and sugar, and keep going until it becomes lovely and sticky.

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From the book: The Whole Vegetable

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