Our readers’ vegetarian roasts
Your inventive centrepieces give the tired old nut-roast a new lease of life
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
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
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.