Vitamix challenged me to make a main course fit for Christmas Day using my blender and, no, it couldn’t be soup! Scroll down just how easy it is to make nut roast in a Vitamix.
One of the most stressful meals you will ever cook is Christmas dinner. Fact. Suddenly your family has doubled in size. You’ve extended the table, got out the emergency chairs and got out the spare plates and cutlery. There’s not only the turkey to think about but all the trimmings too. Then of course there’s the tricky vegetarian…
I am well and truly a meat eater. I try to cut down on the amount of meat I eat but I could never give it up for good. Living with a vegetarian means its actually surprisingly easy to avoid eating meat and I’ve now got a HUGE repertoire of tasty vegetarian meals.
Creating a vegetarian main course that will rival a turkey is something I’ve always struggled with. Quorn roasts are fine (in fact even as a meat eater I really, really like them) but it’s just not the same as a juicy slice of turkey breast. Rather than try to replicate the meat I like to make something extra special. We’ve made our own nut roasts a few times. This year I wanted to take it to the next level creating three layers of flavours and textures using ingredients that just screamed Christmas!
Preparation is key!
Turning out a feast fit for a king is no mean feat and requires precision timing, hours of prep and lots of patience. I’m always looking for ways to cut down on the amount of preparation I have to do, whether it’s cooking my Christmas pud in a slow cooker, making my red cabbage weeks before, or using a gadget or two to speed up the whole process.
I only got my Vitamix a few weeks ago. You might have seen became obsessed with the hot soup function and shared my recipe for Parsnip and Chestnut Soup (a great dish to serve as starter on Christmas Day). But, the Vitmaix doesn’t just create smoothies and soups. It can also be used to dice, slice and chop!
This festive nut roast uses A LOT of different ingredients. There’s celery, carrot, onion, mushroom, nuts and breadcrumbs to name just a few. To dice each of these ingredients individually would take hours. That is unless you use a Vitamix. On the pulse setting, the blades will dice anything to your desired consistency. The only elements that didn’t get diced in my Vitamix? The lentils, cranberry sauce and the layer of parsnips forming the foundation of the dish.
The advice from Vitamix is to process a maximum of 175g at a time, though I think you get the best control and more even results with no more than 150g. You can chop different vegetables together to speed things up but in this recipe I’ve done each separately. The higher the speed you use the finer the chop you’ll get but I like to use the pulse setting which gives you a more rough and ready mix of sizes.
There may be a lot of different ingredients in this nut roast but they all play a part in making this an extra special Christmas main course fit for meat eaters and vegetarians alike! There are no less than five vegetables in this dish so you’ll get your five a day in just one sitting! The lentils and breadcrumbs add bulk, the fresh herbs give an earthy flavour and the cheddar cheese makes this extra rich. The spiced cranberry sauce cuts through the decadent nut roast and the parsnips on the base are a fun surprise when you serve up a slice to your guests.
You could buy a nut roast this Christmas but you’d be missing out! I’ve never come across a nut roast quite like this.
Don’t have a Vitamix? Don’t worry, you can chop all of the ingredients by hand. Just factor in an extra half an hour or so of preparation time. The end dish will be just as tasty and well worth the effort.
- 2 parsnips
- 50g butter
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 white onion
- 2 stick celery
- 1 carrot
- 200g chestnut mushrooms
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- Handful flat leaf parsley
- 100g red lentils
- 300ml vegetable stock
- 2 slices of white bread
- 200g mixed nuts (such as walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, almonds)
- 150g cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 150g fresh or frozen cranberries
- 50g brown sugar
- 50ml orange juice
- 1 star anise
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 grated nutmeg
- Begin by lining a 2lb loaf tin with grease proof paper and place to one side.
- Cut the parsnips in half lengthways and roast in the oven with half the butter and olive oil for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the nut loaf.
- Roughly chop the celery, carrot and onion by placing into the Vitamix (roughly 150g at a time) and pulse until you've achieved a rough, chopped texture.
- Place the chopped celery, carrot and onion into a pan with the butter and olive oil and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Next chop the mushrooms (again using the pulse setting of the Vitamix) and add to the pan along with the garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Remove the leaves of the rosemary and thyme from the stalks and add to the vitamix along with the parsley. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Again add to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the lentils and stock to the pan and simmer on a low heat until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Set the pan to one side and allow to cool completely.
- Next, place the white bread into the Vitamix. Turn it on a low, constant speed and blend until breadcrumbs have formed. Place the breadcrumbs into a bowl.
- Add the nuts to the Vitamix blender and pulse until you've achieved a coarse, chopped texture. Add these to the breadcrumbs.
- Lastly, take the cheddar out of the fridge (it's important its very cold when it goes into the blender). Pulse until the cheddar resembles breadcrumbs and add to the breadcrumbs and nut mix along with salt and pepper.
- Stir the breadcrumb mix into the vegetables in the sauce pan until fully combined.
- By this point the parsnips will be ready to come out of the oven. Place in a layer at the bottom of the loaf tin.
- Spread the nut roast mixture over the parsnips and smooth out until it is level.
- Cover the tin with foil and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, add the cranberries to a small pan with the sugar, orange juice and spices. Heat on low until a sticky sauce has formed.
- Once the 30 minutes is up, remove the foil from the nut roast and heat uncovered for 10 minutes or until the loaf feels firm to the touch.
- Finally, spread over the cranberry sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Serve with all the trimmings!
Why not serve with…
Maple glazed veggies are the perfect side dish for this festive nut roast.
More vegetarian mains
Christmas is a time for sharing, so here are a few links to other recipes you might like: