The alternative name for this is ‘actually good nut roast’ because I have never been impressed with a vegetarian roast until now. It tastes great, slices perfectly – no crumbling – and makes a lovely veg centrepiece for a holiday table. Made with a mix of toasted nuts, red lentils, mushrooms, winter veg, herbs and spices, it’s savoury and delicious. I’ve been converted and I hope you will be too.
I’ve been serving it with dairy-free mashed potatoes, vegan gravy, lingonberry sauce or apple cranberry sauce, and something like a seasonal kale salad for a hearty winter weekend meal. If you’re serving for a holiday dinner, you could add vegetarian stuffing to the table as well; it’s a good pairing with the woody herbs.
This recipe is adapted from the BBC Good Food nut roast, but with several changes to make it seasonally appropriate for autumn and winter, gluten-free, and without cheese.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Nuts: use a mix of nuts for the different textures and too add a flavour boost. I like half-half walnuts and hazelnuts.
- Root vegetables: if you can’t get parsnip, replace it with extra carrot or another mild root veg like turnip or rutabaga (I haven’t tried with potato, and it might be too starchy).
- Oats: quick-cook oats are the most effective here but you can use rolled. Be sure to get certified gluten-free oats if needed.
- Chickpea flour: if you don’t have chickpea flour, substitute three tablespoons of oat flour in its place. If it doesn’t need to be gluten-free, three tablespoons of wheat or rye flour can be used.
- Lentils: I have not tested this recipe with any lentil but red. They cook faster and have a different texture from other types of lentils, so substitution isn’t straightforward. They must be dry red lentils and can be whole or split.
- Broth: any vegetable broth will work, including that from cubes or stock powder.
- Wine: if you don’t want to use wine, substitute some balsamic vinegar and extra broth instead. This is outlined in the recipe card notes below.
- Herbs: to use fresh thyme and rosemary, double the amounts listed to one teaspoon each and finely chop the rosemary.
How to Make a Nut Roast
Step 1: fry the mushrooms for several minutes, until browned. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
Step 2: stir in the garlic and grated vegetables and cook for another five minutes.
Step 3: stir in the spices and lentils. Deglaze with wine and add the broth.
Step 4: simmer for 15 minutes, covered. Set aside to cool.
Step 5: stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the eggs.
Step 6: press firmly into a lined loaf tin.
Step 7: bake until firm, 50 minutes in total.
Step 8: cool for ten minutes before slicing and serving.
To taste for seasoning, taste the lentil mixture before adding the remaining ingredients, but be sure not to get a lentil (they’re not quite cooked until after baking). Chickpea flour is absolutely foul when uncooked, never mind the raw eggs. You want it to be a little on the salty side at that point because quite a lot is still going into the mix.
I prefer to chop the nuts fairly finely, especially the harder hazelnuts, but this comes down to personal preference. If you like it to be quite chunky, leave them in bigger pieces. Halved hazelnuts look very nice but can overwhelm the bite a little.
The loaf tin and be lined with two crisscrossed pieces of parchment paper for neater corners. It hardly makes a difference for this recipe though so no need really.
You might add the broth to the lentil mix and think it’s not enough, it will be too dry, but remember that you’re adding three eggs to the mix later. It will all come together.
I have yet to make this in a fan-forced oven. Most modern ovens will adjust themselves to be at the right temperature regardless of the setting, but you may want to reduce to 170°C if yours doesn’t. A small oven thermometer is very useful if you feel your oven isn’t entirely reliable.
How to Store
Storage: keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It does dry out a bit during storage but not too much. I heat up individual slices in a frying pan or in the oven until heated through.
Freezing: place the cooled loaf in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating as usual. If freezing a whole loaf rather than slices, it can be reheated in a loaf tin until heated through, 15-20 minutes at 180°C.
- Cool the mixture: the end texture will be much improved if you let the lentil and vegetable mixture cool to room temperature or just about before adding the eggs. I did try mixing immediately and the roast turns out quite a bit softer.
- Add a sauce: the roast benefits from a bit of a tart sauce on the side. This can be something like cranberry but can also be ketchup.
- Season to taste: do this as outlined in the notes above. All vegetable broth types will have different levels of seasoning, and everyone has different preferences, so the added salt is a guide rather than a fixed amount.
- Keep the eggs: this simply doesn’t work with less eggs or no eggs, but there are plenty of vegan nut roast recipes available online. I did test with reduced eggs and the end result is soggy and crumbles easily.
If you make this Mushroom Nut Roast or any other vegetarian mains on Occasionally Eggs, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more OE, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, purchase the Occasionally Eggs cookbook, or subscribe for new posts via email.
Winter Nut Roast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 200 grams mushrooms finely chopped
- 1 large onion finely diced (~200 grams)
- 1 medium carrot grated (~100 grams)
- 1 medium parsnip grated (~100 grams)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 100 grams dry red lentils
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes optional
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 50 ml dry red wine see note*
- 300 ml vegetable broth
- 150 grams mixed nuts, toasted see note**
- 100 grams quick cooking oats
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
- 3 large eggs
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan or heavy lidded pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring infrequently, until the mushrooms are browned and any water has evaporated.1 tablespoon olive oil, 200 grams mushrooms
- Stir in the onion and cook for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent and fragrant. It may brown slightly and that's fine, but reduce the heat if needed.1 large onion
- Add the grated vegetables and garlic and cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally. The vegetables will stick a bit to the bottom of the pan, but will be lifted by the wine and broth later.1 medium carrot, 1 medium parsnip, 2 cloves garlic
- Stir in the lentils, spices, and herbs. Add the wine and stir well to release any bits that might be stuck.100 grams dry red lentils, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, 50 ml dry red wine
- Pour in the vegetable broth and be sure to scrape down the sides of the pot if anything has made its way up. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.300 ml vegetable broth
- Once the lentil mixture has cooked – note that the lentils won't be cooked through – taste and adjust seasoning (don't eat a lentil). Set this mixture aside to cool until room temperature or just warm. This will go faster if you transfer it to a large bowl or set in an unheated area. This is a good time to toast the nuts.
- Once cooled, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a 1.5 litre*** (2 lb.) loaf tin with parchment paper. stir in the nuts, oats, and chickpea flour. Mix in the eggs until very well combined. The mixture will look a little loose, that's normal.150 grams mixed nuts, toasted, 100 grams quick cooking oats, 2 tablespoons chickpea flour, 3 large eggs
- Transfer the nut roast mixture to the loaf tin and gently press the top with a spoon or spatula, making sure it's evenly spread out. You want to compress it as much as possible.
- Bake for 30 minutes, covered (I use a sheet of parchment paper). Remove the covering and bake for another 20 minutes to brown the top.
- Turn out onto a serving tray or cutting board and cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.