Nut Roast Extraordinaire

April 14, 2008

nutroastwhole.jpg 

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“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]  

* * *

The first nut roast I ever made–or ever tasted–was for the romantic Valentine’s Day dinner I cooked up for the HH and me this year. Well, let me tell you, the specific holiday notwithstanding, it was definitely love at first bite (of the nut roast, that is–shame on you for thinking otherwise!  Besides, after eleven years, love for the HH had already been firmly established; no biting there for some time, now). 

And now, Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe has decided to host a blogging event, A Neb at Nut Roast, to honor that venerable dish of nuts, veggies, and spices; that meal-in-a-brick; that loaf to beat all loaves: the Nut Roast!  As soon as I read about it, I knew I had to come up with something extra special.

When I first baked up the Valentine’s Day roast, I dutifully followed Johanna’s original recipe; and while it was delicious, that wouldn’t do on this occasion. As I concocted my recipe for a main course consisting primarily of nuts, I felt quite vindicated by the process.  You see, in recent years, I’ve been told countless times by friends and family alike that my atypical dietary habits are, in their opinion, a little nutty. Finally, I can confirm that they are, indeed, correct in their assessment. 

It seems some of my friends and family just can’t get past the fact that I don’t want to eat anything from fast-food restaurants any more, or that I don’t want to use little packets of “seasoning mix” for my salad dressings, or that I don’t want to pig out on May Wests and Twinkies these days (Oooh.  Scratch that last one.  I really, really DO want to pig out on May Wests and Twinkies, but just can’t because (a) they spark a sugar-high gorgefest, in which I consume more in one sitting than any human should eat of them in a lifetime; (b) they cause me to me feel woozy (as opposed to tipsy, which can be pretty nice, come to think of it) and unwell; and (c) they are able to stay “fresh” for unnaturally long periods of time–say, 17 years–making me wonder whether they are animal, vegetable, or miracle-gro.)

I’m sure most vegans have shared this experience:  you’re invited to a big bash–some kind of holiday dinner, rite of passage affair (such as a wedding or bar mitzvah), or any other festive event.  The host(ess) acknowledges your “bizarre” dietary preferences and even makes a genuine attempt to accommodate.  When the rest of the gang sits down to a four-course dinner of pâte en croûte, oxtail soup, bacon, shrimp and scallops Bordelaise, and Wasabi Beef Wellington, you are the lucky recipient of a plate heaped with steamed broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and green beans. Oh, and if you’re lucky, a white dinner roll. (Well, at least it wasn’t a paper plate).

Okay, rewind and play that scene again, only this time omit wheat from the picture.  Not even the skimpy little roll, this time!  So despite my friends’ best efforts, I rarely get to socialize with them over dinner these days. (I do have to commend them for effort, though. )

This nut roast just may upset the status quo, however.  It’s a toothsome, meaty and hearty dish that can be enjoyed by virtually anyone.  For omnivores, it offers an appetizing flavor in a package resembling meat loaf.  For vegetarians and vegans, it offers a mouth-watering serving of protein that will leave you satiated. In fact, it was so tasty, so hefty and satisfying, that the HH, a tried-and-true carnivore, enjoyed it immensely and asked for seconds. I found it even more appealing the second day, after the flavors had melded and developed a bit.

Before cooking up the loaf, I began by leafing through my various cookbooks from the UK and Australia (since nut roasts seem to be much more prevalent there–we tend to favor patties and burgers over here in North America), just to see what the generic ingredients tend to be. As Johanna noted, most nut roasts contain a combination of nuts (duh), breadcrumbs or flour, and, most often, eggs and/or cheese. 

nutroastmeal.jpg Since eggs and dairy are out for me, I realized I was setting myself a tougher challenge than first anticipated.  What the heck, I decided, why not go whole hog (“whole tofu”?) and make it even harder–why not attempt to create a delectable, enticing, egg-free, dairy-free and GLUTEN-FREE nut roast?  Why not, indeed?!

Okay, so I was feeling a little nutty myself by that point (which, truth be told, is not that rare an occurrence). My head still reeling, I set to chopping (carefully) and processing (attentively).

If I thought I liked nut roast before, I have now developed eternal, till-death-do-us-part, adoration. This oblong object of my undying affection was robust, with a perfect combination of savory, herbed, and “meaty” tastes in a dense, slightly grainy and moist loaf with a crisped exterior.  Solid without being stiff, it easily maintained its shape when sliced; and the flavors were much enhanced by an evening in the fridge. 

I imagine you could also shape this into patties and use it for burgers if you were so inclined. We ate it with a simple kale salad, but you could, of course, serve it with the more conventional mashed potatoes and gravy for a divine meal–one you’d be comfortable sharing with just about anyone, no matter what their dietary preferences.

Nut Roast Extraordinaire

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

nutroastslice.jpg

This nut roast provides a filling, satisfying main dish to a special meal (or any meal).  The Brazil nuts and added wine contribute to the robust flavor, but if you prefer, feel free to substitute other nuts, or vegetable broth for the wine.

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

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24 Responses to “Nut Roast Extraordinaire”

  1. VeggieGirl Says:

    I’m quite envious at how gorgeous and firm your nut-roast looks – every time I try to make one, it crumbles!! Makes a great burrito filling, haha :0D

  2. Lisa Says:

    So much mushroomy goodness in there! Inspired by Johanna’s event, I experienced nut roast for the first time only recently. I made mine with puff pastry, but I’m curious to try one just like yours.

  3. atxvegn Says:

    I have had success with only a couple of meatloaves. I haven’t tried a nut version, but Ricki I need a shroom free loaf! Could you sub in an equal amount of beans? Actually I can eat shrooms, but my son won’t and I really shouldn’t eat an entire loaf myself!

  4. ... Says:

    It looks beautiful, but is not truly gluten free if it involves oats and bread.

  5. Johanna Says:

    your life will never be the same again now you have discovered nut roast! I know there are brits who complain about the dreaded nut cutlet but my experience of the nut roast makes me wonder why vegetarians (and vegans) get such boring and inappropriate meals when everyone else feasts on a gourmet dinner – my gripe is the same old stir fry or pasta while everyone else is having something wonderfully innovative. You nut roast looks wonderful and I love the addition of wine!

  6. Ricki Says:

    Veggie Girl,
    Oh, many a nut roast fell apart before I devised this recipe, don’t worry! I like the burrito idea, or you can always make breakfast crepes ! ;)

  7. Ricki Says:

    Lisa,
    I noticed your own nutroast post (hey! a little poem there!) and thought how similar they were with all those mushrooms! I thought yours looked very elegant with the puff pastry.

    atxvegn,
    I’m not sure how beans would work, as they’re quite dry and mushies are quite moist. The closest thing I can think of that would add a meaty flavor AND moistness is roasted eggplant–might be an interesting experiment!

    … ,
    I believe this nutroast actually still is gluten-free, even with the bread and oats. I used a gluten-free buckwheat bread, and, from what I understand, oats are now considered gluten-free (if uncontaminated by wheat or other gluten products.) Any GF eaters or celiacs out there who want to corroborate this?
    (As an example, take a look here .

    Johanna,
    I know what you mean–I feel I could eat nut roast almost daily (oh, the possibilities. . .!). Glad you liked this one!

  8. Jj Says:

    Why this looks absolutely fascinating. I never heard of a nut roast before, thank you for the great information and for sharing this most unique and appealing dish!


  9. Yum, Ricki! It’s going on my list of foods to try. :D

  10. Lizzie Says:

    A gluten-free, dairy-free nut roast? Ricki, you are my hero!

    I can’t wait to make it.


  11. YUM! YUM! YUM!

    (I esp. love that its gluten free!) cant wait to make it!

  12. Jessica Says:

    Wow what a stunning meal!

  13. Ricki Says:

    Jj,
    Thanks for your comment, and for visiting! This was a new experience for me, too, but I absolutely loved it. Always nice to try something different!

    Sally,
    Thanks! Hope you like it. :)

    Lizzie,
    Wow, thanks! (Does this mean I have to wear a cape next time I cook it?) ;)

    Happy Herbivore,
    I felt the same way (triple yum). Hope you like it!

    Jessica,
    Thanks for your comment–it’s much appreciated! And I must admit, we really did enjoy it :) .


  14. “whole tofu”—I love it! I’ve definitely been in the situation you described in your post… except I am usually not even lucky enough to get steamed veggies. No, around here, people only think of one thing that they can serve to vegans—iceberg salad!

    Thanks to Healthy Herbivore, I’ve been eating vegan roast quite often lately. Your version sounds delicious and filling; I’ll have to give it a go.

    And I cannot thank you enough for the amazingly wonderful comment you left on my blog. You are a genuinely sweet person, and the world would benefit from having more people like you.

  15. Monika K Says:

    Wow, I’ve got to try this recipe. My only question is about the flaxseeds (I’m not a fan of their flavor). Does this roast taste particularly flaxseedy? It looks beautiful!

  16. Lucy Says:

    Yes, way more delectable (and digestible) than mine. And cilantro, too.

    Delish, darls, just delish.

  17. Andrea Z Says:

    Nut roasts were one of the first vegetarian foods I learned to make more years ago than I want to mention. Sometimes they had lentils and other times mushrooms. I’d forgotten all about these delectable treats until I saw your post. Yours looks excellent and succulent and I can’t wait to try it. I used to love having leftover nut roast for sandwiches the next day. Perfect with a little dijon…

  18. Ricki Says:

    CCV,

    Oh, poor you–iceberg! Though I guess it’s sort of in fashion, these days. And thanks for your own touching comment–but you know, I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em! :)

    Monika,
    I don’t taste the flax at all–I used the seeds primarily as a binder so the loaf wouldn’t crumble apart. If you’re wary of the seeds, try it without–it just might not hold together quite as well.

    Lucy,
    As much as I liked this one, I’m sure yours was delish, too. . . each nut roast has its own unique charms, no?

    Andrea Z,
    Lentils sound like a great addition, too. But I love your use of “succulent”–yes, that’s exactly what it was! We couldn’t stop eating it. And sandwiches with dijon sound marvelous. Next time, when I have leftovers!

  19. LisaRene Says:

    Very well done! Your loaf looks very “meaty” which Is appealing in this type of dish. I like the dense texture as it must surely be a very satisfying meal.


  20. [...] Ricki’s Nut Loaf with Roasted Red Potato Chunks and Garlicky Steamed [...]

  21. Pen Says:

    This nutloaf was great! I’ve actually written about trying your recipe in my blog here (in case you’re curious to see), but just wanted to let you know that it was tasty and I’m very glad you shared it! It was not bad to use as a first time recipe. :o)

  22. Rebecca Says:

    I made this for Christmas and it turned out PERFECTLY! Very delicious!!! thanks!


  23. [...] The spread is perfect on muffins, scones, or even Quinoa-Oatmeal Croquettes for breakfast.  You could also mix this with a little spicy chili sauce for a great dipping sauce (try it with squares of Nut Roast–fantastic!). [...]


  24. [...] affect other dishes that harbor grains-in-hiding, such as my tofu omelette or fritatta, or even a delectable nut roast (which contains some breadcrumbs and flour).  What the heck will I eat for the next week?  Well, [...]


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