I’ve eaten Nut Roast once before this. At the first Christmas dinner at university, this was the only vegetarian option. I ate this thing with lots of onions, in a mushroom-cream sauce. It had a strange texture. The college head chef John had a big warm smile. And I suspect, only two spices in his pantry – salt and pepper. And cream. He doused everything with cream. Sometimes, he would add some dried herbs like rosemary or tarragon.
Those were the pre-Maria days. She was his Moroccan helper. That lady used spices and fresh herbs. And she went easy on the cream. The vegetarians, especially, loved her.
The nut roast made its appearance on the menu again, as the only vegetarian option, for another event. For fancy plated dinners, one had to sign up for the menu in advance. I picked Kangaroo Stew. No kidding. It was the height of the mad cow scare in Britain, and kangaroo meat was imported from Australia in lieu of beef – along with ostrich meat from South Africa.
For me, therefore, nut roast is associated with kangaroo stew. I liked neither and forgot about the nut roast – until Johanna wrote this post spiritedly in its defence.
If you’re wondering what a nut roast is, it’s the vegetarian cousin of the meatloaf. It’s mainly made of nuts and vegetables (often mushrooms) with some cooked grains/lentils, eggs and cheese to bind everything together. The vegan version may use tofu. It’s crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and very dense, unlike a flour-based loaf.
To get an idea of what the texture and wetness of the batter had to be like, I watched this video.
I had no particular list of ingredients in mind. I just tossed whatever I thought would work from my fridge and pantry into a bowl.
This recipe has sunny Mediterranean flavours. It stars sun-dried tomatoes. Plus, lots of fresh herbs from our garden, mascarpone and gruyere cheeses and roasted red peppers.
Of late, we’ve had a few disasters with batters sticking to pans. So I used cupcake liners and baked them in a muffin tray.
This is one delicious nut roast. I’m glad I tried it. Serve it with a salad, roasted potatoes or soup.
Mini Herbed Tomato Nut Roasts
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (we cut them with kitchen scissors)
3 tbsps chopped shallots (or red onion)
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup cashews
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
to a coarse paste, then add
2/3 cup mascarpone cheese (or low-fat cottage cheese)
and blend to a smooth paste.
1 cup breadcrumbs
**run old wholegrain bread in the blender for a few seconds
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp ground flax
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1/2 cup grated cheese (we used gruyere)
1/3 loosely-packed cup fresh chopped herbs or 1.5 tbsp dry
**we used pineapple sage, oregano, basil, thyme and marjoram
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 eggs or 4 egg whites (about 1/2 cup) lightly beaten
**or 1/2 cup blended silken tofu
2 tsps lemon/lime juice
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Mix everything together. The texture should be like that of a a very sticky dough.
Line a muffin tray and bake them at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes (until the top gets golden brown and a bit crunchy-looking.) Test with a toothpick. A whole loaf may take an hour or more.
This batter will not rise much. It just firms up and starts getting crisp on the edges. Unmould from liners and top with sunflower seeds.
Mini Herbed Tomato Nut Roasts are our entry for A Neb at Nut Roast @ Green Gourmet Giraffe.
**Since the Taste of India aggregator is having a problem picking up our RSS feed, please subscribe to it directly through the orange icon at the bottom of this post (or in the right sidebar). If you wish to get e-mail notifications of new posts on this blog, use the green icon.
If you’re wondering where the smilies in the comment form have gone, we refused to buckle to the smilie union’s demands and booted them out.
“How much is your grocery bill?” by Cynthia @ Forgive Me My Nonsense.
Filed Under: Basil, Cashew, Dairy/Cheese, Eggs, Flax seeds, Garlic, Grains, gruyere, Lemon/Lime, Marjoram, mascarpone, nut roast, Nuts, Oregano, pineapple-sage, red bell pepper, roasted-red-peppers, sun-dried-tomato, Sunflower Seeds, Thyme, Tomato, vegetarian recipes, Walnut