Our read­ers’ veg­e­tar­ian roasts

Your in­ven­tive cen­tre­pieces give the tired old nut-roast a new lease of life

The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page - With Eve O’Sul­li­van If there’s no meat what’s the next best thing about a roast? The pota­toes, ob­vi­ously!

Grow­ing up in a veg­e­tar­ian house­hold, I feel well placed to pick meat­free al­ter­na­tives to Sun­day roasts; in fact, the recipe testing for this week’s theme was per­fectly timed with Mother’s Day, so the ul­ti­mate judge was also present.

Airinie Azhar-Kon­stan­tinidou’s but­ter­nut squash and chick­pea roast was flavour­some and hearty, and – un­usu­ally for a roast – had no nuts and only a hand­ful of bread­crumbs. The potato and mush­room bake from Diane Kitchen in­cluded all the best com­po­nents of Sun­day lunch – in­clud­ing wine – while Sus Davy’s aubergine and cab­bage rolls were light and del­i­cately spiced.

The win­ner though, was a hugely ap­peal­ing take on nut roast. Beth Gard­ner’s recipe is packed with ground nuts, ar­ti­chokes, chest­nuts and cheese. Meat eaters and veg­e­tar­i­ans (and moth­ers) will thank you for it.

THE WIN­NING RECIPE WHITE NUT ROAST WITH AR­TI­CHOKES

This is a de­li­ciously moist nut roast that goes bril­liantly with a sim­ple bread sauce. Thanks to my best friend’s mum, Maggie McPhee, for pro­vid­ing the orig­i­nal recipe. Beth Gard­ner, via GuardianWit­ness

Serves 8

40g but­ter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 gar­lic clove, crushed 225g mixed white nuts (Brazil, macadamia, pine nuts, al­monds) ground

125g fresh white bread­crumbs

Zest and juice of 1 lemon 75g sage derby cheese, parme­san or veg­e­tar­ian al­ter­na­tive, grated 125g canned peeled chest­nuts, roughly chopped ½ rough­ly390g can chopped ar­ti­choke hearts,

Salt and black pep­per

1 medium egg, lightly beaten

2 tsp each of chopped pars­ley, sage, thyme

1 Melt the but­ter in a pan and cook onion and gar­lic for 5 min­utes un­til soft. Put into a large bowl.

2 Add the ground nuts, bread­crumbs, lemon zest and juice, cheese, chest­nuts and ar­ti­chokes. Sea­son with plenty of salt and pep­per then mix in the egg. Stir in the chopped herbs. Pre­heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

3 Put the mix­ture on to a sheet of lightly but­tered foil and shape into a fat sausage, pack­ing it tightly. Wrap in the foil and leave to cool. (At this stage, the dish can be frozen un­til needed.)

4 Bake for 25 min­utes (or 45 min­utes from frozen), then un­wrap slightly and cook for a fur­ther 15 min­utes, or un­til golden brown.

BUT­TER­NUT SQUASH AND CHICK­PEA ROAST

This is a very soft and herby veg­etable roast. Airinie Azhar-Kon­stan­tinidou, via GuardianWit­ness

Serves 6-8 1 medium but­ter­nut squash Salt and black pep­per, to taste 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit more for the tin 1 tbsp thyme, fresh or dried 1 large red onion, diced 1 large leek, thinly sliced 2 gar­lic cloves, finely chopped 200g mush­rooms, roughly diced 2 car­rots, grated 2 tbsp soy sauce 200g chick­peas A large hand­ful of pars­ley, chopped 2-3 tbsp bread­crumbs, thick or panko 1 tsp dried oregano Juice from ½ a lemon

1 Pre­heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Cut the but­ter­nut squash in half length­ways, sea­son with salt, pep­per, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp of thyme (from the 1 tbsp), then roast for 40 min­utes, or un­til soft. Then take it out of the oven and leave it to cool.

2 In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil on a medium heat then fry the onion un­til soft. Add the leeks and gar­lic, cooking un­til the leeks are soft. Add the mush­rooms and grated car­rots, then sea­son with the soy sauce and a pinch of salt and pep­per and con­tinue cooking un­til the mush­rooms are soft.

3 Fi­nally, add the chick­peas, mash­ing

them lightly, and the pars­ley, then cook un­til the liq­uid has evap­o­rated. The mix­ture should be quite dry. Taste, and sea­son if needed. Leave to cool.

4 To as­sem­ble the roast, scoop out the but­ter­nut squash flesh and add it into the cooled veg­eta­bles. Add the bread­crumbs and mix thor­oughly. Add the lemon juice and the rest of the thyme and the oregano then mix well, us­ing your hands if you like.

5 Line a loaf tin with lightly oiled foil. Spoon the mix­ture into the loaf tin, and press down gen­tly. Cover the top with the foil. This will help the roast stay in shape. Bake for about 30 min­utes, cov­ered, then re­move the foil cov­er­ing and roast for an­other 15-20 min­utes un­til it has turned brown. Leave to cool, then serve.

ROASTED AUBERGINE CAB­BAGE ROLLS

This is a lovely al­ter­na­tive to a stan­dard veg­gie roast – per­fect for a show­stop­ping Sun­day lunch. Sus Davy, via GuardianWit­ness

Makes 6-8 rolls

2 au­bergines, halved length­ways

2 cour­gettes, roughly chopped

1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 gar­lic cloves, peeled

Olive oil

1 tbsp fresh thyme, rose­mary or mar­jo­ram

Salt and black pep­per

1 savoy cab­bage 1 tsp ground cumin or cayenne pep­per (op­tional)

1 tin can­nellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 Pre­heat your oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Put the aubergine, cour­gette, onion and gar­lic in a bak­ing tray, driz­zle with oil and scat­ter with the herbs. Sea­son with salt and pep­per. Toss to coat evenly, but leave your aubergine flesh-side down in the tray.

2 Cover with foil and roast in the oven for 35-40 min­utes, or un­til the cour­gette is soft. Then leave to cool.

3 Next, bring a shal­low pan of wa­ter to the boil. Dis­card the outer lay­ers of the cab­bage, then peel off 6 or 7 leaves, be­ing care­ful not to break them. Add them to the boil­ing wa­ter and steam (cov­ered) in the pan for 5 min­utes. Drain and rinse un­der cold wa­ter.

4 Once cooked, care­fully re­move the thicker parts of the cab­bage spine with a knife ( just the lower thicker sec­tion). Leave to one side.

5 Scrape the aubergine flesh out of the skin into a food pro­ces­sor, then add the roasted cour­gette, herbs, onion and gar­lic. Add cumin or cayenne pep­per if de­sired, then blitz in a food pro­ces­sor for 30 sec­onds. Add to a bowl and mix in the can­nellini beans.

6 Lay the cooked cab­bage leaves on a board, then add a large spoon­ful of the veg­etable mix­ture to the cen­tre of the leaf. Start­ing at what was the ste­mend, fold the sides in and roll up the cab­bage to en­close the fill­ing. Place the cab­bage rolls side by side, seam-side down, in a oven­proof dish.

7 Cover then bake in the oven for 35 min­utes. Serve on a bed of mash, with a big, warm help­ing of gravy.

ROAST POTATO AND MUSH­ROOM BAKE

If there’s no meat what’s the next best thing about a roast? The pota­toes, ob­vi­ously! This recipe went down so well that we even en­joy it when our veg­e­tar­ian kids are not at home. Diane Kitchen, Ilk­ley

Serves 6-8 900g medium pota­toes, washed, quar­tered 90ml olive oil 225g onions, peeled and diced 450g mixed mush­rooms (shi­take and brown cap), roughly chopped 3 gar­lic cloves, crushed 50ml tomato paste 25g dried porcini mush­rooms 10g fresh thyme, leaves picked 300ml white wine 300ml veg­etable stock 280ml dou­ble cream 400g fresh spinach, roughly chopped 175g gruyere cheese, grated 125g parme­san or veg­e­tar­ian al­ter­na­tive cheese 300ml Greek yo­ghurt 2 eggs, beaten Salt and black pep­per Flat-leaf pars­ley and thyme sprigs, to serve

1 Pre­heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Toss the pota­toes with 4 tbsp oil in a large roast­ing tin, then roast for 40 min­utes, or un­til golden.

2 Heat the re­main­ing oil in a large, heavy-based fry­ing pan. Add the onions and cook for 10 min­utes on a low heat, then add the mush­rooms and gar­lic and cook over a medium heat.

3 Stir in the tomato paste, porcini mush­rooms and the thyme and wine. Bring to the boil; sim­mer for 5 min­utes.

4 Add the stock and cream, bring back to the boil and bub­ble for 20 min­utes, or un­til re­duced. Pour all of this into a large oven­proof dish. Stir in the pota­toes, spinach and gruyere and half the parme­san cheese. Sea­son well.

5 Com­bine the yo­ghurt with the eggs and sea­son. Spoon dol­lops over the pota­toes and veg­etable mix­ture, then sprin­kle with the rest of the cheese.

6 Cook for 30-35 min­utes, or un­til the yo­ghurt top­ping is golden and the liq­uid starts bub­bling through. Gar­nish with the pars­ley and thyme.

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