Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Vegan Christmas Nut Roast and Salad

I know.  I know.  It is not Christmas!  But I am holding a Neb at Nut Roast II event.  I am holding the event to encourage others to make nut roasts because I love them.  But I am also holding it as an excuse to try out nut roasts.  On the weekend, I finally got around to experimenting with a favourite nut roast.  I make this nut roast every Christmas, hence the title of this post, but have wondered about making it vegan for some time.

The idea came from Cindy of Where's the Beef?  I am not a huge fan of faux meat like Cindy, but I will unreservedly claim that she has the best ever Vegetarian Sausage Rolls.   She is also a whizz at converting at making her recipes vegan and gluten free.  So it was no surprise to see Cindy veganise her sausage rolls.  What surprised me was how simple she made it.  Her Vegan Sausage Rolls merely have silken tofu instead of eggs and cottage cheese.  Since my Christmas nut roast uses cottage cheese and eggs, I thought I could give it the same treatment.

My Christmas Nut Roast goes by the name of Cheese and Walnut Nutloaf.  It is a deliberately simple recipe that will not compete with the wonderful festive side dishes.  It has so little in the way of seasoning, that I was concerned that maybe the eggs and cottage cheese gave some of the flavour.  I added a little nutritional yeast flakes but I am not sure that it was needed.  The tofu worked well.  If there was any room for improvement in this version, it was quite soft and I wondered if I should have used a little less tofu.

I often love roast veg with a nut roast but on the weekend I had also decided I wanted to make the Energising Protein Power Salad that I saw Ange make on Oh She Glows recently.  It was a serendipitous choice.  In fact, the green and red of the vegetables would make a great festive accompaniment.

It's the first time I have ever used buckwheat groats in a salad and I am in love.  They were so soft and full of flavour but didn't dry out the way that rice does.  It was such a good salad that I went back for a third helping.  Admittedly the two extra helpings were quite small but the salad was so moreish.  It was packed with interesting flavours and textures.  Crunchy, soft, sharp, sweet.

I made a few changes from Ange's (which was adapted from a quinoa salad on Have Cake Will Travel).  I didn't have wheat berries so I used rice.  I used less lemon juice, more cider vinegar and still had to add a little maple syrup because it needed a little sweetening.  The biggest change I made came from not reading the recipe.  I have a bad habit of reading ingredients lists more than I read methods.  So I turned my nose up at the onion because I didn't have one and I hate raw onion in salads, except spring onion.  Later I read that it was to be fried and most of the salad was cooked on the frypan.  Oops! 

Lastly I had some beetroot and orange chutney on the nut roast.  It was a wonderful meal.  Perfect for Christmas.  Great at any time of year.  You still have until 5 May to send me a nut roast.  For more information about the event read the announcement and the rules.

I also want to send the nut roast to a couple of events.  This fortnight the Cookbook Challenge theme is  Celebration.  I had thought of a few ideas but struggled to find time for any and am now behind.  You can see what others have made on the Cookbook Challenge community page.

I am also interested in Claire of Chez Cayenne's event called House Favourites: Vegan.  The event encourages bloggers to post vegan recipes we have made at least three times, the premise being to encourage posting old favourites.  I have had this blog long enough to have posted many of my favourite recipes, though not all.  So I wanted to take this opportunity to send this vegan nut roast Claire's way.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Butterscotch Bounty from Ricki
This time two years ago: Tupperware, Arran and Tomato Soup
This time three years ago: Posh chocolate orange biscuits

Vegan 'Cheese' and Walnut Nutloaf
adapted from Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Cookery
Serves 4
  • 200-250g silken tofu (I used 250g but might use a bit less next time)
  • 50g (2 oz) walnuts, ground
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 cup (125g or 4 oz) dry breadcrumbs (I used 4 slices of wholemeal chia bread)
  • 8 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spoon into prepared loaf tin (I use 13 x 22cm loaf tin and line bottom with paper except if using silicone pan.) Smooth the top down with the back of a spoon. Bake in moderate oven for approximately 50-60 or more minutes until golden brown and springy to touch. Serve slices hot or cold.

Energising buckwheat salad
adapted from Oh She Glows
serves 4-6
  • 1 cup uncooked buckwheat groats (or grain like quinoa)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 400g tin of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large red capsicum, finely chopped
  • 100g green beans, chopped
  • 1 large stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (I used 1/2 cup but a few more would be good)
  • 75ml fresh lemon juice
  • 50ml apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • few shakes of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Cook rice and buckwheat in separate saucepans using your normal method, the instructions on the packet or as I did.  I cooked the rice in boiling water for 30 minutes and drained it.  I rinsed the buckwheat and cooked it in 2 cups of water until all the water was absorbed.

Chop vegetables.  Cook the green beans for 3 minutes in boiling water and then refresh in cold water.  Mix vegetables in a large bowl with beans and cooked grains.

Mix all the ingredients either by shaking in a jar or lightly whisking in a large jug.  Pour into the bowl of grains etc.  Serve at room temperature or lightly warmed.  Lasted for a few days in my fridge.

On the stereo:
(Where the power is):  Magazine


  1. Hello! This is the first time I've commented on your blog but I've been enjoying reading it for a while! : )

    I'm going to have to try this recipe - it looks gorgeous. My mum has an amazing pine nut, mushroom and pepper roast recipe that's been my Christmas dinner every year for nearly 15 years now - meat-eaters and veggies alike absolutely love it and it works as an accompaniment to a meaty Christmas dinner as well as being a great cold dish for Boxing Day buffets. If I had a photo I'd blog about it for the Neb at Nut Roast!

  2. This looks delicious! Thanks for sending it my way. I'm thinking it would be just the thing to have with some asparagus right now.

  3. Your christmas nut roast sounds wonderful, and I love the short ingredient list! The buckwheat salad looks great too, so colorful, and I'm always looking for new grain dishes!

  4. Talk about wonderful!!! And you have reminded me that I better get my act into gear and create a nut roast!

  5. So glad the nutroast worked out with the tofu! (I am still working on my recipe for the event, but I had really better get moving!). I love, love buckwheat. That salad reminds me of one of my favorites that uses buckwheat and quinoa, except yours has lots more veggies (and mine has no legumes). Delighted that you enjoyed it! Next up you must try kasha--buckwhat, sauteed onion and bowtie-shaped noodles--it is an all-time favorite and classic dish!

  6. I really like the sound of your nut roast - and so simple too! I have been struggling to get the texture of my nut roast right for your event (silken tofu doesn't seem to be working for me) but I'll give it another shot next week and send through my submission, warts and all. The salad looks really nice too!

  7. Pretty plating, Johanna! I'm obsessed with nutritional yeast at the moment, so I say it's always necessary. And you're so good at actually making the blog recipes you bookmark!

  8. We can totally have Christmas again if you want. Especially if it involves a nut roast. Looks delicious!

  9. I've never tried a nut roast, I feel like I'm missing out now! Meanwhile I'm totally going to look up her vegan sausage roll recipe :D

  10. Your nut loaf looks terrific! I am now convinced they would be good.

  11. Thanks Allie - glad you like the recipe - you are welcome to send in a recipe or link to a post without a recipe of your nut roast (and are welcome to send a photo at christmas for me to add) - sounds like a great recipe to share

    Thanks claire - indeed and asparagus would go wonderfully in the salad if only it was still in season here

    Thanks Jodye - yes the nut roast ingredient list seems strangely short for something so good - where does all the flavour come from!

    Thanks Lisa - would love to see you make a nut roast

    Thanks Ricki - I think I am falling in love with buckwheat - have always enjoyed the taste of the flour but this is my first packet of groats - must definitely try some kasha and pasta - never heard of it before but sounds wonderful

    Thanks Mel - good luck with the nut roast texture - it can be tricky but even soft crumbly nut roasts are good to me - I did wonder if ground linseeds would help mine firm up but wondered if it would change the texture too much - soy flour has worked well for me in the past in vegan nut roasts too

    Thanks Hannah - was quite pleased to find this plate - I think I bought it in north berwick - and yes I do make bookmarked recipes but I have so many bookmarks that I will never ever get through all of them though I like to think I get inspired by many more of them than I ever make (that's osmosis)

    Thanks Joanne - seeing our christmas is in summer I feel more like festive food once it is long past - that makes sense doesn't it

    Thanks Lorraine - of course you must try nut roast - it is one of life's joys and the vegan sausage rolls are amazing (well I usually make the vegetarian version which are on the menu for the weekend)

    Thanks Cakelaw - always glad to convert anyone to nut roast love :-) Hope you try one!

  12. Nice! This is the simplest nut roast recipe I've seen yet. And I LOVE the serving platter you've put it on.

  13. Hi Johanna, I've posted the April House Favorites wrap up. Thanks again!

  14. Glad you were able to successfully veganize one of your favourite nut roasts! That beetroot and orange chutney sounds like a delicious accompaniment to it.

  15. This sounds amazing - I am looking forward to trying this recipe out.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Caitlyn :)


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