If you are looking for a vegan main dish for a special occasion, from Sunday Roast to Christmas dinner, a vegan wellington is the one for you.
I started to get closer to vegan cuisine and life just a couple of years ago. I would have never thought one day I would have proudly cooked and happily eaten vegan food.
A nut roast has always been a mysterious dish to me, what is it really about? Is it a bowl of roasted nuts? What does it taste like?
I can now tell you that a nut roast is a mix of chopped nuts (often chestnuts, walnuts, and pecan), breadcrumbs, and a type of vegetable (mushrooms, pumpkin, onions, and spinaches to name a few). It is all combined with vegetable broth, and it is lots of fun to make and super simple. The taste will remind you of meat but it’s also a totally different thing, dare I say it’s more flavourful? It’s nutty, rich, and full of umami.
The first time I tried it I bought it at the supermarket, and it was simply disgusting, I felt I was eating plastic.
I was very discouraged and thought that nut roast was simply not for me. A few Christmases ago, I was looking for different dishes to cook, more sustainable and yummier. I wanted a centerpiece, something that would stand out and please meat and non-meat eater. The nut roast came back to my mind.
I have read around 50 recipes (for real!), and then I wrote a new one adapting it to my taste, and started experimenting.
This is my own version of nut roast with mushrooms, chestnuts, and spinach. It is infinite times better than something store-bought. It is also very easy to make and a great way to surprise and delight your guests – or treat yourself as we don’t always have to cook just for others #becauseyouareworthit
I dress the roast up for the holidays in puff pastry so to resemble the famous Wellington and I always have fun scoring the pastry with whatever decoration comes to mind.
A Wellington is an English dish of a tenderloin wrapped in pastry. The dish is probably named after the first Duke of Wellington; however, it is very similar to the French filet de bœuf en croute so it’s more likely that this dish is just a patriotic rebranding of a continental dish. This is very common in all cuisines, where food is influenced by history, politics, and culture – and vice versa. Often national dishes have been stolen from other countries, cultural appropriation and copyright infringement have always been a thing. It’s all just lies 😂
This short and probably reductive explanation is also to prevent negative comments on this recipe, such as a vegan wellington is sacrilegious – food is in constant evolution. We wouldn’t have so many wonderful dishes if people always ate the same thing over and over.
Okay now that I’ve finished the whining explanation, let’s get back to our main dish. If you are in a rush, you can also serve the nut roast without its pastry dress, just cook it for ten minutes less.
I use two puff pastry sheets because one is not enough to cover the roast and so this avoids the roast from exploding and going everywhere while baking. If you only have one, go ahead and make the dish more of a tart, but bake it for 5 minutes less. This will only change the appearance, the flavours will stay the same.
Lastly, adding mustard to the mushrooms is a way to add an acidic flavour to the dish so to better taste the other components – this is a trick you can use across so many dishes, have it a go!
I really hope you give it a try and proudly serve your vegan Wellington at the centre of your Sunday or holidays tables. Enjoy!
Vegan Nut Roast WellingtonCourse: MainsDifficulty: Easy
If you are looking for a vegan main dish for a special occasion, from Sunday Roast to Christmas dinner, a vegan wellington is the one for you. My version is a nut roast with chestnuts and walnuts, enriched with spinach, and mushrooms and dressed up with puff pastry. My secret ingredient is Dijon mustard!
4 medium portobello mushrooms
200 g baby spinach
1 large red onion (or four shallots)
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground sage
1 rosemary stick
150 g chestnut mushrooms
150 g chestnuts (already cooked)
100 g walnuts (or pecan nuts)
50 g breadcrumbs
1 tbsp soy sauce
half a spoon of granulated stock or half a cube of stock
3 spoons of boiling water
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
500 g (2 rolls) of puff pastry
2 tbsp plant-based milk
- Kitchen cupboard
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil
- The Nut Roast
- Boil the baby spinach (tip: directly pure some boiling water on the spinach, stir them and drain immediately). Let them cool down and make sure to squeeze ALL the water out of them.
- Bake the portobello mushrooms for 15 minutes at 180 C (fan oven) with oil, salt, and pepper (you can also cook them in a pan for 10 minutes, turning them after 5 minutes)
- Mince the ingredients in separate batches with the help of a food processor (if you don’t have one, don’t worry, it’ll just take you a bit more time). First, onion and garlic. Then, nuts and bread. Last, chestnut mushrooms. Set all the ingredients aside in separate bowls.
- Brown the onions and garlic with rosemary and sage for 2 minutes
- Add the mushrooms and stir them in. Turn on the heat and make sure all the mushrooms’ water evaporate. This takes around 3 minutes.
- Add the nuts and bread mix, a spoon of soy sauce, and stir for 1 minute
- Add the stock and three spoons of water, this helps give extra taste to the mix and combine all the ingredients. Keep stirring over high heat for 5 minutes. Let the nut roast cool down.
- Wellington Nut Roast
- Roll the puff pastry and prickle its surface with a fork.
- Spread evenly the nuts mix at the centre of the puff pastry and give it the shape of a loaf – 2.5 cm high.
- Add a layer of spinach on top
- Optional: Spread as much mustard as you like on top of your glorious portobello mushrooms. Place them in a row on top of the spinach, upside down. In other words, the mushrooms hats need to face you – this will make the wellington really cute when you cut it.
- Close and seal your Wellington with another layer of puff pastry. Have fun and decorate it as you like but don’t forget to seal all the edges – you don’t want the filling to come out. Reuse the leftover puff pastry for other bakes.
- Brush with milk and bake for 35 minutes at 200 C (fan oven) – enjoy!
- This is a very simple bake; you just need to keep one thing in mind: squeeze the water out of all your veggies! Both the spinach and mushrooms lose a lot of water when cooked and could ruin your bake. Squeeze all the water out the spinach with the help of a fork or directly with your hand (it’s a great anti-stress therapy), be patient and keep squeezing until they are a tenth of their original size. For the mushrooms instead, let all the water evaporate while frying them – don’t skip this step, no one wants a soggy bottom.
- How to use the leftover puff pastry? Why not make some appetizers? Cut it in small squares, brush it with milk and sprinkle with sesame seed. Or use your favourite biscuit cutter and spread a bit of tomato paste and cheese on each biscuit – delicious! Both appetizers bake in 10 min at 180 C.