This Nut Roast recipe is packed with a deliciously sweet and savory blend of nuts, veggies, lentils, dried fruit and fresh herbs. Serve with cranberry sauce and/or gravy and enjoy! (Please see notes above for possible ingredient modifications too.)
- 1 cup (200 grams) green or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
- fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small white onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, cored and finely diced
- 8 ounces (225 grams) baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped*
- 4 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 2 large handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 10 ounces (300 grams) mixed nuts, finely chopped*
- 5 ounces (140 grams) dried apricots, finely chopped
- zest and juice (about 1/4 cup) of 1 small orange
- 3 eggs, whisked*
- Cook the lentils. Combine the lentils with 4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the water reaches a vigorous simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer, cover and cook until the lentils are completely tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain the lentils completely using a strainer, and set aside until later.
- Prep oven and bread pan. Heat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a 9 x 5-inch bread pan with parchment paper.
- Sauté the veggies and herbs. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onion, carrot and bell pepper and sauté for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are softened and most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated. Add the spinach, sage, rosemary, smoked paprika, and thyme. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat.
- Combine all ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked lentils, cooked veggie mixture, nuts, dried apricots, and orange juice and zest. Toss until the mixture is evenly combined.
- Taste and season. Before we add the eggs, go ahead and give the mixture a taste and season it with salt and pepper as needed. (The level of saltiness will vary considerably based on the type of nuts you used, but you will likely need to add a generous amount of salt and pepper, so don’t be shy!)
- Purée or mash part of the mixture. If you own a food processor, transfer about 1/3 of the mixture to a food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture is fairly puréed. (Or alternately, use a potato masher to mash about 1/3 of the mixture on one side of the mixing bowl until it is puréed.) Stir the puréed mixture back into the overall mixture along with the whisked eggs until everything is evenly combined.
- Press the mixture into the pan. Transfer the entire nut loaf mixture into the prepared bread pan, packing it down fairly firmly (which will help the loaf to slice more easily later).
- Bake. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the loaf is cooked through. (I also like to remove the roast about 5 minutes before it has finished baking to brush the top of the roast with a bit of melted butter or oil to help it crisp up on top during those final few minutes in the oven, but this step is totally optional. Alternately, if the top of the roast starts to get too browned during cooking, just gently lay a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the bread pan.)
- Rest the nut roast. Transfer the pan to a wire cutting rack and let the nut roast rest for about 15-20 minutes.
- Serve. Carefully lift the edges of the parchment paper up to remove the nut roast from the pan and transfer it to a cutting board. Use a bread knife to slice the roast into your desired size of pieces. Then serve warm with gravy or cranberry sauce and enjoy!
Chopping the veggies and nuts: As mentioned in the notes above, you are welcome to chop the veggies and nuts as finely or coarsely as you prefer. (I recommend a pretty fine chop, so that the nut loaf will hold together and slice better.) If you happen to own a food processor, it makes chopping the nuts (and veggies, if you would like) a breeze! Otherwise, you can place the nuts in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin or mallet, or just chop them with a knife.
Vegan flax egg alternative: To make this recipe vegan, feel free to whip up some flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 2.5 tablespoons water, per flax egg, whisked together and rested for 15 minutes to thicken) to use in this recipe instead. They work great!
Make-ahead instructions: If you would like to prep this recipe in advance, I recommend cooking the entire nut roast filling and refrigerating it in a sealed food storage container for up to 48 hours before baking. Then transfer the filling to the prepared bake pan and bake as instructed. Alternately, you can go ahead and bake the nut roast, let it cool completely to room temperature, wrap it tightly with beeswrap or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days (or freeze for up to 3 months). Then on the day you are ready to serve the nut roast, let it return to room temperature, place it in a bread pan, cover with foil and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 15-20 minutes until warmed through.