Thursday 11 September 2014

Sweet potato and poppy seed nut roast with strawberry glaze

I wanted to make a nut roast during this Vegan Month of Food.  As I chose The Letter S as my theme, it somewhat narrowed down the nut roasts I could make.  Initially I wanted a strawberry glaze, strawberries being cheap in the shops and jammy in my house.  I had all sorts of crazy ideas like using purple carrots, making a green spinach tofu filling or even a savoury chocolate nut roast but then my stolen car took up my energies.  Sweet potato and poppy seeds would have to be inventive enough.

I liked the look of Kevin's Roasted Strawberry BBQ Sauce on Closet Cooking as the inspiration for the glaze.  He said that the roasting tin should be lined with foil to catch the juices of the strawberries.  As you will see in the above post, catching strawberry juices wasn't something I had to worry about.  I was more concerned that I put too much mustard powder in the strawberry glaze.  It was too spicy when cooking but worked well on top of the nut roast.

Sadly the theft of my car also robbed my time to look over recipes for ideas.  Instead I spent time talking to neighbours and insurance company about boring stuff about cars.  So I just threw in ingredients that I usually use in nut roasts.  I find the texture most challenging with vegan nut roasts.  They are usually too soft.  As was this one.  Once baked the loaf was like warm sausage filling.  But nicer.  Which is not terrible.  (I hope I am not the only one who loved raw sausage filling as a kid!)

I was also concerned that I shouldn't have simmered the sauce for 10 minutes.  It looked rosy red when going into the oven but a little overcooked after baking.  Perhaps I just needed to cover it with foil.  Though my oven is slow to crisp and char the top of any bakes.  It didn't taste charred.  In fact the topping was the best bit of the loaf.  (NB the below photo is at night and the glaze looks much darker than the photo at the top taken in daylight.)

The glaze was great and I would repeat it.  I would like the nut roast texture to be more cooked.  What I think I got right was making the loaf quite firm to carry the glaze.  This is especially important if you want it to look appetising.  I have had my fair share of nut roasts that just collapse into mush and could not be transferred to a serving platter or sliced up.

All too often I get the side dishes right on the second night but throw side dishes together hastily on the night of baking.  This was no exception.  On the first night we had mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli with the nut roast.  It was a little plain.  The second night I served it with a colourful salad and some overnight focaccia.  So much better!

Nut roasts are good for the soul.  They nourish and comfort in the most satisfying of ways.  This nut roast was most pleasing despite the soft texture.  It sliced up well, which makes for excellent sandwiches as well as a prettier dinner.

I am sending this nut roast to Ros at the More Than Occasional Baker for Alphabakes, a blog event she runs with Caroline of Caroline Makes, challenging us to bake focusing on a different letter each month.  This month the letter is K and so I have K for kumara (aka sweet potato).

More vegan nut roasts on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Christmas walnut version
Golden beetroot nut roast
Lentil and walnut roast
Parsnip nut roast 
Purple nut roast
Tomato nut roast with buckwheat and seeds 

Sweet potato and poppyseed nut roast with strawberry glaze
An original recipe by Green Gourmet Giraffe
Serves 6-8

Strawberry glaze:
250g strawberries
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp strawberry chia seed jam (or 1 tbsp regular strawberry jam)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp strawberry vinegar
1 tsp smoked paprika or more
1 garlic clove (I forgot)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp mustard powder

Nut roast:
450g sweet potato - baked 1 hour til soft - cool, peel, mash
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 small parsnip, peeled and grated
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup almond meal
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tsp salt flakes
1/4 tsp stock powder

Ahead of time: 

Bake the sweet potato for about 1 hour at 180 C or until soft.  Cool, peel and mash.

Make the strawberry glaze: Roast strawberries at 210 C in a lined roasting tin at for 15 to 25 minutes until soft.  Place roasted strawberries and all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.  Puree with a hand held blender (or your regular blender).

When you are ready to prepare nut roast:

Preheat oven to 180 C and line a loaf tin with baking paper so there is a generous overhang of the paper over the long edges.

Fry onion over medium heat in olive oil for a few minutes until soft.  Add parsnips and carrot.  Fry for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft.  Stir in garlic cloves briefly and remove from the heat.

Mix mashed sweet potato, onion mixture and remaining ingredients to make a thick mixture.  Spoon into prepared loaf tin.  Smooth with the back of a spoon.  Pour the strawberry glaze over the loaf and spread evenly over nut roast mixture.  If your oven likes to burn the top of anything, cover with foil for most of the baking time.

Bake for 45 minutes.  Cool in the tin for 15 to 30 minutes.  Carefully life the loaf out of the tin using the overhang of the baking paper and place on a chopping board to slice and serve.

On the Stereo:
On A Clear Night: Missy Higgins

This post is part of Vegan Month of Food September 2014.  This year for Vegan MoFo my theme is The Letter S.  Today is S for Sticky Thursdays.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2014 Vegan MoFo posts. 


  1. Yum! I love the look of that glaze. If only my family would go for nut roasts or even sweet potatoes...

    1. There are only two at our place who'll eat sweet potato...and mushrooms...and pumpkin...and baked onions...

    2. Actually Veganopoulous I think that Sylvia had a little and was quite proud of herself for tasting it - I think the strawberry was the hook. And she is not keen on pumpkin and often lumps sweet potato in with it so I was v pleased. Linda - I feel your pain!

  2. You're involved in TWO blogging events involving letters this month? I like what you did with the sweet potato/kumara. That's really killing two birds with one stone. :-) The loaf looks really good. I haven't made one for a while, so thanks for the reminder.

    1. ha ha @linda - yes I thought I did quite well with one ingredient and 2 letters!

  3. Ah I was always a little unsure if sweet potatoes were kumara and you confirmed, I know what I will be making now for my alpha bakes challenge thanks to you. Also I have a bookmarked tart recip with sweet potato and poppyseed hope to make some time soon, but have to admit I do like the sound of this nut roast, and the strawberry glaze is v. Different, but good.

    1. @ishaheen i know the strawberry glaze would appeal to you and it was really good - would even just be good with tofu or tempeh I think

  4. This might have come with some challenges (car dramas during vegan MoFo is particularly unfair) but it looks and sounds lovely to me. The ingredients are all amongst my favourites, and I think I'd be quite happy with a softer loaf. The glaze looks gorgeous too. Really impressive given the context of when you made it!

    1. @ kari the car dramas are just what I don't need during vegan mofo and school holidays starting next week but am looking forward to my holidays - and I think the soft loaf was great comfort food if not quite the texture I usually associate with nut roast - need to work on vegan nut roasts' texture

  5. Since I am relatively new to your blog, I am just going to ask this straight away, OK? :-)

    Have you ever tried agar agar / carob gum / Psyllium seed husks to make your nut roast firmer?

    I was making a delicious vegan bread containing psyllium seed husks when it occurred to me those may be responsible for the firmness of that lovely bread - so I am going to try them next time I make a nut roast. They sure drink up all the fluids near them in no time! As an afterthought, I decided to try agar and carob as well - I use those often, too, and am quite satisfied with the results. (of course I am not going to put in all 3 at the same time :-)

    Love your today's nut roast and will be making it one day :-)

    1. @alcessa - these are great suggestions, thank you! I have started using psyllium husks occasionally and really like them but haven't used them enough to be that familiar with them - if you do find success with them in a nut roast let me know. I also haven't used gums a lot but am interested to hear about them too.

  6. Roast strawberry glaze sounds amazing. Even though I'm going to miss soups and wintery foods, I'm getting excited by the berries taking over the scene. Yum!

    1. @caeli - the glaze is great and could be modified into a general bbq sauce as that is where I got the idea originally

  7. You always intrigue me with your nut roasts Johanna. This one is no exception. Love the notion of strawberry glaze too. I will be trying them one day so please keep sharing your recipes and experiences:)

    Stole your car??? Oh my! That's just terrible!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Johanna...

  8. This seems to be another one of your successful nut roasts. Thanks for sharing!

  9. That looks sooo good! I've been vegan for ten years, I've been cooking for almost 20 years AND I went to culinary school yet I've never made a good vegan loaf. I'm seriously the worst at it. I'll just have to drool over yours on the sideline.

    1. Thanks Hannah B - I love making nut roasts but I started out on ones that are stuck together with egg and still not managed to find the right combo with vegan ones but am hopeful as I was having this problem with pancakes and finally found a good pancake recipe (what! didn't they teach vegan nut roasts at culinary school - if only)

  10. Oh No! Sorry to hear that some low life stole your car. This nut roast sounds really good - a little different from the usual.

  11. That glaze sounds and looks amazing, I would never have thought of that!

  12. Mmmm this sounds especially perfect for thanksgiving =) Warm, comfort, deliciousness.

  13. What an inventive recipe! I am intrigued by the use of sweet potato and poppyseed and strawberry! Sorry to hear about your car - I hope it's all sorted. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes

  14. It looks delicious and yes it really has held together well.
    Love the idea of the strawberry glaze, i can imagine it really bought out the sweet side of the potato :-)


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