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Xmas dinner for Unexpected Vegetarians

by Trish on November 24th, 2013


It’s a few days before Christmas, there might be a shop open somewhere but you don’t care, you believe you’re all sorted.
What do you do IF you find out you’re having another guest for Christmas day and they’re vegetarian OR an existing guest announces a conversion to not eating meat and no, they can’t wait till New Year to kick off?

Not to worry!  You’ve probably got everything you need to make a very basic nut roast already in your cupboard.

You’ll need:

  • about 4 slices of bread (wholemeal for preference)
  • vegetable oil, olive oil or sunflower oil
  • an onion or a leek
  • marmite
  • some dried herbs and spices, whatever you have will do
  • some nuts (it’s Christmas, there are probably nuts in the house – not including the ones you live with)
  • A blender OR amazing amounts of patience

Here’s what you do:

  1. Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180°C / 350°F
  2. Oil a baking sheet, doesn’t need to be a huge one
  3. Turn the bread into breadcrumbs by throwing it into the blender a few slices at a time – this experience may be quite soothing, unlike breaking it into bits with your hands, which definitely isn’t – throw the resulting breadcrumbs into a big bowl
  4. Measure out 235g of nuts – really any nuts you can get your hands on are fine: chestnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews – if they’re salted, omit half of the marmite from later on in the recipe and don’t add any more salt
  5. Pull ALL of the nuts in the blender and blend till they also resemble crumbs.  If you don’t have a blender, put your nuts inside a clean plastic bag inside another carrier bag, tie securely and either stamp up and down on or bash the heck out of with a rolling pin – then put nuts in the bowl with the bread
  6. Add about a tablespoon of mixed herbs, or whatever you have, and a shake of cinnamon or cayenne pepper or whatever else you have (remember, this is an emergency recipe)
  7. Add pepper and salt (so long as your nuts weren’t salted to begin with) and give it a stir to mix everything together
  8. Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a frying pan and fry your onion (chopped) – if you have any garlic, bung a clove of that in too, also if you have any celery that has no current purpose in life, chop up and throw a stick of that in too – fry till soft but not browned (hint: lower the heat after about a minute)
  9. Add onion mixture to bread and nut mixture
  10. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of marmite (only 1 if your nuts were salted) in a quarter of a pint of boiling water and throw that into the bowl as well
  11. Mix all ingredients with a spoon – by now it should smell quite nice 🙂
  12. With CLEAN hands, form into a long loaf shape and place on your baking tray – decorate a few spare nuts if you can be bothered
  13. Bake.  The roast will take anything from 30 – 45 minutes, depending on your oven – try 30 to start and keep checking on it
  14. You can make the roast a day in advance and then warm it up on Christmas Day


 The rest of the Christmas meal is fairly easy to adapt.  Potatoes should be roasted in olive oil.  They won’t want any stuffing that’s meat based – stuffing you can buy as powder in shops is usually veggie-friendly, though so have a quick look at the label.  Obviously avoid serving them the pigs in blankets!!!

Gravy is fairly straightforward: Fry a tablespoon of flour in oil then add some veggie stock (use green OXO cube or marmite again) – bay leaf, mustard powder and some more herbs make it taste nice, soy sauce or balsamic vinegar will help it be nearer the right colour but keep tasting to make sure you’re not making it too salty.

Oh, and if you’re a meat eater, try some of the nut roast yourself (this recipe makes plenty) either with Christmas Dinner or cold the next day.  For an emergency recipe, it’s actually OK 🙂

From → Mains, Vegan, Veggie