A nut roast in a easy-to-slice loaf. Ideal vegetarian alternative to a meat roast.
This loaf tastes really good served hot or cold. We ate ours with petits pois as a healthy meat-free alternative to a Sunday roast, but it would also go nice with a green salad on a hot day, or some sauteed leek and savoy cabbage on a cold day. A nice tomato based sauce or a thick veggie or onion gravy would complement it quite well.
Please note that I mixed all my ingredients in a food blender as I wanted a nice smooth loaf that would be easy for my toddler to eat, but it would work just as well if mixed by hand in a large bowl so long as the ingredients were very finely chopped, or mashed where appropriate.
1 small clove of garlic
Enough butter to sautee the onion & garlic
A small amount of chopped fresh ginger - I used about a teaspoon full of English Provender Company's Very Lazy Ginger (the stuff in a jar). This is not just for flavour but prevents any windy after effects!!!
1 box of cooked chestnuts - I bought these at Xmas time as they were on offer but most large supemarkets sell them all year round with the savoury cooking ingredients or the stuffing mixes. A tin of chestnut puree would work just as well.
1/2 a tin of red kidney beans - drained and rinsed through in a sieve with cold water
2 tablespoons of Ragu - I would have used about a tablespoon of tomato puree and a tablespoon or 2 of water but discovered I didn't have any so had to improvise! Passata would also work just as well.
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Small handful of fresh basil leaves
Enough walnut halves to line your loaf tin plus a small handful to add to the main recipe.
2-3 tablespoons of cooked spelt grains - these are hard to get hold of so you could use pre-cooked rice, cous-cous, quinoa, millet, lentils or pearl barley instead.
1 loaf-shaped baking tin
Greaseproof paper or tin foil
A pan suitable for sauteeing
Mixing bowl or blender/food processor
Some spoons, a fork and a knife
A Pyrex dish or suitably sized oven-proof dish
Dice the onion, garlic and ginger and sautee in a pan with a little butter then tranfer to bowl/blender when done. Mix with the oregano, black & white pepper, kidney beans, Ragu/puree+water and the chestnuts.
Line your loaf tin with greaseproof paper or foil, grease well with butter, then arrange the walnut halves in the bottom of the tin flat side down. I put the walnut halves in as is (they will soften as they cook), but you could toast them in a frying pan with a little butter first if you'd prefer them crisp and crunchy. Place in the oven to warm the tin prior to adding the mixture.
Meanwhile, add the egg (beaten if not using a blender), tear up the basil leaves and crush the remaining walnut halves and blend or stir well into the mixture. As the mixture will be slightly warm from the sauteed onion, the egg needs to go in at the end so it doesn't start cooking. The basil leaves will keep their flavour better if torn and added at the end, and the crushed walnut pieces makes it difficult to stir so this is added last to ensure the mixture is properly mixed first.
Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin. Sprinkle the spelt or other chosen grains over the top and press lightly into the mixture with the back of a spoon. This helps the loaf to stand up when turned out after cooking. Place the tin into a large dish (I used my Pyrex lasagne dish) and add boiled water to the dish so you have a kind of Bain Marie. This helps it cook through thouroughly and prevents the outer edges from burning. If your tin floats you'll need to remove some of the water first. Carefully place the dish containing the loaf tin into the oven just above the centre.
Cook on a high heat (about Gas Mark 7 or 425 deg) for about 45 to 55 mins. It should have risen slightly and will feel slightly spongy when gently tapped with the back of a spoon. Leave to stand for 5 mins before turning out onto a plate to serve and enjoy.