Monday 28 November 2016

Welsh nutroast with laverbread, leeks and cheese (vegan)

Back in April, I was sent a tin of laverbread, a Welsh seaweed, by the lovely Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen.  It sat on my kitchen bench for many months staring at me accusingly as I neglected to try it.  I knew I would use it before the use-by date of 2018.  I waited until the right recipe and the right moment came by.  Finally I realised I must bake it into one of my very favourite foods: nut roast.

I had been curious about laverbread for ages after seeing Shaheen feature it on her blog over the years that we have been blogging pals.  When she sent me a tin, I was so excited.  And nervous.  It sounded odd.  And I avoided putting it in a few meals because I was worried how Sylvia or other people wold react.  When I finally opened it, I was relieved it did not have a strong fishy smell.  It looks pretty slimy but tastes far milder than I expected but it is quite savoury and replaced some of the salt in the recipe.  I quite liked the taste but in my head, it still seems strange.

Given that I have only found laverbread on Shaheen's blog, I assume it is not widely known.  Laverbread is seaweed that has been boiled down and minced into what Wikipedia describes as a "gelatinous paste".  E laughed at the blurb on the box saying that Laverbread is traditionally eaten with "fried cockles, bacon, mushrooms and eggs".  He knows this is just so unlike the meals we eat.  Thank goodness I have read Shaheen's glowing praise or I might never have gone near the stuff!

The flavours of the nut roast are inspired by Welsh Rarebit and Shaheen's scones.  Leek, mustard and cheese are added to a fairly plain nut roast that is seasoned by both laverbread and vegemite.  (I just know that Shaheen and many of her Welsh compatriots would use marmite but I am Australian and only have vegemite in my kitchen.)

When Shaheen sent me the laverbread, she also sent me an amazing complex dragon biscuit cutter.  I have been wondering how to use it.  Possibly there could be some gingerbread dragons in my life.  Then when I was planning the nut roast it hit me that a puff pastry dragon on top would be perfect.  I love nut roasts but they are not the bonniest of meals.  Now I am wondering about trying to put some Christmas cut outs of holly on my favourite Christmas nut roast.

I had visions of making a full roast dinner.  Nut roasts are so delicious with roast vegies and gravy.  Alas I didn't have time.  I was happy to find time to make the nut roast.  It was enough to have some leftover salad and make a coleslaw.  Nut roasts are also brilliant with salads.  Or leftover in sandwiches.  This was so good that for a moment, I thought how wonderful it would be if I could make one of these nut roasts every week!

Having the leftovers meant that I could find time the next day to make it to the first school assembly I have attended all year.  Sylvia's school has changed its weekly assembly from Monday to Friday and I have a very small window to attend.  I was delighted to be there to see her attending an award.  (And I swear I wasn't sitting up the back distracted by chatting to parents I hadn't seen for a while!)  Afterwards when I congratulated her, she asked if we could go straight home.  When I told her I had to go to work, she burst into tears.  Oh dear.  Thank goodness for a kind friend who took her home for a play date.

Another moment of note last week was attending an Annual General Meeting.  We ordered our meals at the pub and then the president stood up and announced that we should start so that we had business finished before our meals arrived.  Now that is my sort of AGM!

Yes it has been busy times!  And only four weeks til Christmas!  It is the third last day of Vegan Mofo.  I have posted almost daily for Vegan MoFo and am looking forward to it ending.  I just don't have the time and energy to keep up.  Yet I am very pleased it has inspired me to try this nut roast.  Too many of my vegan nut roasts have been quite soft.  I am really pleased with both the texture and taste of this one and to have finally tried the laverbread.  I highly recommend it.  But as I am unlikely to have laverbread regularly in my kitchen I am planning to revist this recipe as a plainer vegan nut roast.  Stay tuned!

I am sending this nut roast to Rock Your Vegan Socks and Vnutrition for Healthy Vegan Fridays. to Tinned Tomatoes for Meat Free Mondays, Honest Mum for Brilliant Blog Posts, and Lavender and Lovage, Travels for Taste and Jo's Kitchen for Tea Time Treats.

More vegan nut roasts on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Glazed nut roast cupcakes (gf, v)
Green (pea) nut roast (gf, v)
Lentil and mushroom nut roast (v)
Parsnip nut roast (v)
Sweet potato and poppy seed nut roast with strawberry glaze (v)
Or just check out my complete nut roast list

Welsh nutroast with laverbread, leeks and cheese
Adapted from The Vegan Society
Serves 4-6

1 large leek, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp laverbread* 
1 tsp yeast extract/vegemite
1 tsp seeded mustard
250g coarsely ground mixed nuts
115g dried wholemeal breadcrumbs
100g grated vegan cheese (I used Biolife)
Pinch white pepper

Optional topping:
1/2 a sheet of puff pastry
milk to glaze

Preheat oven to 200 C.  Grease and line a loaf tin.

Fry leek in oil for about 5 minutes or until soft.  Mix together laverbread, vegemite and mustard.  Gradually add in 125ml (1/2 cup) of hot water and mix until vegemite is dissolved.  Stir together nuts, breadcrumbs, cheese and white pepper.  Stir in vegemite mixture and leeks. It should clump together when pinched.  If too crumbly add a tablespoon or two of water (I added two).  Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Tip mixture into prepared tin and smooth down flat with the back of a spoon.  If desired, cut Welsh dragon out of puff pastry, place on nut roast and brush with milk.  Bake for 30 -35 minutes.  It shoudl be golden brown on top and feel firm to touch in the middle.  Best cooled and reheated (20 minutes at 180 C was what I did) to get neater slices.

NOTES: If you don't have laverbread, you could add another tsp of vegemite.  And leave out the cheese too as it would be good without it.  Substitute onion for the leek if that is what you have.  And then you will have an excellent basic vegan nut roast. 

On the Stereo:
A Short Album About Love: Divine Comedy

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in November 2016.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2016 Vegan MoFo posts. 

Week 5's theme is Holidays.  Today the prompt is Holiday Bake Day.  Nut roast has to be one of my favourite holiday bakes.


  1. I love that big pastry dragon! I've also never had laverbread, so I was interested to see how you used it.

    Good work on Vegan MoFo - it's definitely a big commitment, but I hope you think it's been worth it. I've really enjoyed reading your posts every day!

  2. Aww Johanna. I absolutely LOVE it and there is a little tear in my eye of happiness, I am so pleased that you have captivated Welshness in this nutroast. Truly fantastic.
    I will def. be making this version of nutroast in the future and topping it off with a dragon too. I look forward to gingerbread dragons!
    I have like you blogged most days for VeganMofo but have struggled this year to keep up to date, no Vegan Mofo of festive ideas from me tonight I just wanted a lazy weekend and I did with a trip to Cardiff where the rugby match was on between South Africa and Wales, the Christmas market was in full swing with lots of entertainment on the street. I just marvelled. And the evenings are just to dark to take pictures

    1. Oh wanted to say you also described the smell and taste of laverbread perfectly, not fishy but def. salty and gelatinous in texture until combined with other ingredients. And a plus point that Sylvia did not snug her nose as I had expected.

  3. Well that looks yummy!! and I love the dragon!



  4. that looks great, I always love it when Shaheen blogs about Welsh things so I love that the dragon has made an appearance here!

  5. I'm so intrigued by the laverbread! I was expecting a bread I think. And how fab is that dragon cutter?

  6. How lovely of Shaheen and what a great dish you put it into. It was clearly worth waiting for the right inspiration and timing to come along.

  7. Wow! Just as my energies are failing for creative recipes, yours are cultivating. What a gorgeous roast. I love how you incorporated the cookie cutter with puff pastry to make a glorious topper for your roast! The roast sounds lovely - very perfect fall food which is what is needed in my part of the world now ;) I don't think I will track down laverbread of vegemite though, so I'll try something creative to make something similar.
    "I have posted almost daily for Vegan MoFo and am looking forward to it ending. I just don't have the time and energy to keep up."
    You said it haha! I honestly don't know how you did it with working and Sylvia. You are superwoman!
    Thanks for sharing at Healthy Vegan Fridays! I'm pinning & sharing =)
    Hope you're having a great week Johanna!

  8. This looks so wonderful! I have not yet made a nut roast but really want to for Christmas so I hope to give this one a try. I will have to find some vegemite for it!

    I love the Welsh symbol as well!


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