A simple, vegan feast to satisfy all this Christmas!
Here is a old school dish that I came up with last night, ideal for a Christmas day centre piece and only using two pans and a baking tray! I’ve also included quick recipes for the cooking veggie accompaniments – Chicory braised in sloe gin and pan fried Brussels Sprouts with Curly Kale and the creamy sauce is something everyone will enjoy. You are sorted for Xmas 2015!
I’ve had quite a few requests for a Christmas recipe that is both straightforward and seasonal. Being the BHK, we don’t plan things, we just let them leap out of the veg basket and we had to go parsnip this year. It has been ‘the year of the parsnip’ for us in many ways!
All of these ingredients most of us have around the kitchen at this time of year. I love the way that we can create feasts from simple plant-based ingredients, packed with bold flavours and interesting textures. We are spending Christmas this year with Jane’s parents and I think they’ll love this dish, a taste of more traditional British fare.
A vegan Christmas is a delight! I find that I cook lighter and more nourishing dishes than previous Christmas times. Xmas can be so packed with heavy, rich food and I can’t help feeling lucky to be stuffing myself with food that is delicious and won’t leave me in a food coma, snoring by the fire place. If I could tone down the red wine glugging, Christmas would be a highly healthy time of year! Jane and I will be making a whole host of vegan dishes on the big day and all across the festive season, the perfect time of year to let plants shine and inspire.
I like this recipe because it is fun for all the family, no matter what the tastes. The pastry is something everyone can get down with, crispy, flaky and then the filling is packed with flavour finished with a very creamy, slightly cheesy plant-based sauce that will be a surprise to some. Cashews are superheroes for plant-based creaminess.
This recipe suits is you are catering for a vegan/s over Christmas. It can be made in advance and warmed up in the oven on the day or you can prepare the filling ingredients and roll the roulade in the morning. I have to say that freshly baked it is tastier and the pastry has a better texture.
This roulade will be lovely with any veggies, but we’ve paired it with a few of our extra special favourites; chicory, kale and Brussels Sprouts. A few roast potatoes are never a bad idea! We also love red cabbage however it arises.
If you don’t have any nutritional yeast flakes the sauce will not be cheesy. Now may be a good time to invest in a pot of these wonderful, savoury flakes. Especially if you are planning on cooking vegan food regularly. Otherwise stir in some Dijon mustard or herbs. It will be delicious.
Cashew butter can easily be substituted by blending up cashew nuts, seasoning with salt. Soak two handfuls of cashews for 2 hours in plenty of water and then blend. They will form a smooth paste, perfect for adding to sauces and stews.
If you don’t have access to fresh herbs, that’s cool, lets go for roughly 3/4 teas dried rosemary and 1 1/2 teas dried thyme. You can always taste the leeks after cooking and add more herbs if you like.
This is the easiest method of rolling a roulade, you can go for a more traditional roulade roll if you are happy with that. This method is failsafe.
Many brands of puff pastry are vegan, have a quick check of the ingredients.
Chicory is generally quite bitter but when cooked with a sweet liqueur or even a fruit vinegar, will have delicious sweet and sour flavour.
Christmas is not complete without delicious Brussels Sprouts. Simply pan fried in a little oil, with sea salt is my favourite way to enjoy them.
Happy cooking and Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!
The Bits – Makes 12 slices (enough for 4-6)
325g/ 2 medium-sized parsnips (chopped into 1 1/2 cm wide batons – the longer the better)
2 big handfuls walnuts (roughly chopped)
3 teas maple syrup
1 1/2 teas lemon (zest)
1 head garlic (whole)
300g/ 2 medium leeks (cleaned and finely sliced)
2 teas fresh rosemary (finely sliced)
3 teas thyme leaves (picked from stems)
250g mushrooms (finely diced)
Black pepper and sea salt
2/3 500g vegan puff pastry block (roughly 350g)
3 tbs soya milk
Flour (for dusting)
Cashew Cream Sauce
100g/ 1 small leek (cleaned and finely sliced)
400ml soya milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
4 tbs cashew butter
2 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
Sea salt (to taste)
Preheat an oven to 200oc (180oc fan oven).
Place the parsnips and head of garlic on a baking tray, toss with a 2 tbs of oil and a large pinch of salt. Roast for 15 mins then gently turn over the parsnips, scatter the walnuts around the tray and drizzle all with maple syrup. Roast for 7 minutes, turn and check that they are not burning. Roast for 3 minutes more until the parsnips are totally. beautifully golden. The walnuts will also be nicely caramelised. Little explosions of flavour for the roulade! Scatter over the lemon zest and set aside.
While the parsnips are roasting, grab a large frying pan. Add 1 tbs oil and fry your leeks for 5- 7 minutes. When they are soft, stir in the herbs. Set aside. Rinse out the pan.
Now add another 1 tbs of oil to the pan and fry your mushrooms for 8 minutes on a medium heat until most of their moisture has been released. Mix with your leeks, season with salt and pepper, set aside.
Cut a piece of baking parchment/ greaseproof paper out that will snugly fit in a baking tray. Place on a cool work surface and lightly dust with flour, using a rolling pin, begin to roll out your pastry. Dusting regularly as you roll, it will help to turn the pastry over a few times while you are rolling. You’re looking for a rectangular shape around 14″ by 10″, nice and even. When your happy with the size, trim the edges of with a sharp knife.
Your filling ingredients should now be cool, if not leave them for a while. Begin to fill your roulade, leeks first. See the photo below. Now top with a layer of walnuts, pressing down lightly. Top with your parsnips. Using the baking parchment, roll your roulade. Lightly brush all of the edges, a 2cm border all around, with soya milk. Pull the top edge of the paper towards you, packing any filling back in as you go. Now spin the roulade around and pull the other side of the pastry up and over so the pastry overlaps slightly. Press gently and using the paper again, flip the roulade over so that the fold is on the bottom. Using your hands, shape the roulade into a neat, fat sausage shape. Now press and tuck in your ends, making sure they are well sealed. All of this is best explained by the photos below:
Cut slices into the top of the roulade and brush with soya milk. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes, turning once to get a nice even bake.
Sauce time. Simple. Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and warm until a low simmer, stirring regularly. Pop a lid on, turn the heat down and leave to slowly cook through for 10 -12 minutes. Once the leeks are soft, stir in the yeast flakes and blend with a stick blender, adding salt as needed. This sauce does not like to be boiled for a long time, a low simmer is ideal, keep your eye on it.
3 large heads chicory (cut lengthways into quarters)
3 tbs sloe gin, port or berry vinegar (like blackberry, blackcurrant or even raspberry)
Black pepper and sea salt
6 large stems curly kale (stems removed, leaves finely sliced)
400g Brussels sprouts
In your trusty frying pan, add 1 tbs oil and warm on a high heat. Lay in your chicory pieces, season with salt and pepper, fry for a couple of minutes until well caramelised and then turn over. Fry for another 2 minutes, drizzle over the sloe gin. Lower the heat, pop a lid on and leave to cook for 5-7 minutes, adding a splash of water if needed. The chicory will bes soft, set aside and keep warm. Rinse out the pan.
Adding 1 tbs oil, warm of medium high heat and add the sprouts. Toss gently and fry for roughly 6 minutes, until the sprouts are nicely coloured (the way you like ’em). Now add your kale and a splash of water. Lower the heat and leave to cook for 6 minutes. Try one (yum!). Season with salt.
You’re now looking good to serve your festive feast!
Place the golden roulade onto a nice serving platter (big plate) or chopping board and surround with glorious veggies. Using bowls to serve the leftover vegetables. Pour the sauce into a warm bowl/ sauce boat and enjoy the feast! This dish goes brilliantly with a spoonful of our Pear and Cranberry Chutney.