Christmas Cashew Nut Roast with Cranberries, Red Chilli and Rosemary – vegan


I know there are a lot of Marmite-style love / hate feelings about nut roast in the vegetarian community. But so far as I’m concerned classic dishes never go out of fashion, and good nut roast is as classic as they come. For me a good nut roast has to be both firm but moist, as well as holding it’s shape and slicing nice and cleanly. This recipe (which I’ve adapted from HERE) works well on all fronts. I also like a nut roast to deliver distinctive flavours, and here I’ve included a robust trinity of fruity, herby and spicy elements in the form of cranberries, rosemary and chilli. Brought together these ingredients compliment each other very much like a perfect winter chutney against the savoury nut meat base.

As ever in the Penniless kitchen, I look to employ the most affordable ingredients available, and so the cashews I’ve used are from the generic supermarket ‘basics’ range which – at ASDA at least – come in at under half the price of the regular kind. If you don’t want the added salt, just pop them in a sieve and give a quick rinse under the tap then gently shake off the excess moisture in a clean tea towel before chopping (I don’t bother personally but I don’t mind a bit of salt). An added bonus to supermarket ‘basics’ cashews are that they come ready toasted, so there’s no need to go through that stage of preparation yourself.

Serve  this nut roast thickly sliced with all your favourite trimmings.

Cashew Nut Roast with Cranberries, Red Chilli and Rosemary – vegan


  • 80 g / 3 oz dried cranberries
  • 80 ml / 3 fl oz hot water
  • 250 g / 9 oz cashews, toasted and roughly processed 
  • 170 g / 6 oz breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 80 g / 3 oz flour
  • 200 ml / 7 fl oz light vegetable stock (I use Marigold bouillon powder)
  • 500g frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • A little soya milk to brush pastry


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C / Gas 5. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
  2. Roll out 3/4 of the pastry and line the loaf tin. Trim the edges.
  3. Put the cranberries into a cup and add the hot water, set aside to soak.
  4. Mix the breadcrumbs, nuts, chilli flakes and rosemary in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Heat the oil in a large deep-sided non-stick pan (I use a casserole dish). Add the onions and saute for several minutes until tender (I put the lid on so they steam / saute).
  6. Take off the heat and stir in the flour. Then pour the hot stock into the pan and stir well to form a sticky paste.
  7. Strain the cranberries and stir them into the bowl containing the cashew and breadcrumb mixture.
  8. Then tip the cashew, breadcrumb and cranberry mixture into the pan. Mix well so that everything is thoroughly combined.
  9. Pack the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Smooth down the top with the back of a metal spoon.
  10. Roll out the remaining pastry.
  11. Brush the edges of the pastry and add a lid to the loaf. Press down around the edge with the tines of a fork. Trim edges.
  12. Brush the lid with plant milk and prick lightly to release steam while cooking.
  13. Bake for 45 mins to an 1 hr.
  14. Cover the pastry with tinfoil when it gets brown to prevent burning.
  15. NOTE: Once baked, I prefer to leave nut loaf to sit in the tin for about half an hour before serving, as I feel it helps it to firm up for slicing.

Makes 8 thick slices


18 thoughts on “Christmas Cashew Nut Roast with Cranberries, Red Chilli and Rosemary – vegan

    • This is the first time I’ve tried including fruit in a nut loaf, and having now tried it I’m sold! It makes sense, after all they put fruit in lots of classic savoury winter foods such as cheese and raised pies and so-on, so nut roast seems a natural veg extension of that. Grated apple or chopped apricot would be just as tasty too, so I’m definitely going to be playing with this idea more in the next few months.

  1. woof! this has me drooling onto my (borrowed) computer! I love the freshness from the rosemary and cranberries and i imagine the chillies pack a little heavenly punch. I’ve been planning my nut roast recipe for weeks now but i may have to recalculate after reading this. Beautiful, beautiful work my dear xx

    • Ta! O/H said the flavours reminded him of vegan sausage-meat – which was kind of what I was aiming at, or one of those big raised meaty pies covered in glazed fruit that you often see in the deli counter. I was quite chuffed with the result, it definitely pays to be bold with your flavours with something like nut meat which while savoury is often a bit bland tasting I find. Fruits and spices are always great together anyway, I regularly do a ‘chicken-style’ Lemon, garlic and thyme blend, but will mix it up a bit more from now on.

  2. Pingback: A very veggie Christmas | Mrs Veg

    • Many thanks for sharing this on your FB page, that’s very thoughtful! I hope you had a good Christmas, I’m looking forward to eating a bit of brown rice and salad after all the roast spuds, rich puds and red wine!

  3. I really can’t eat cranberries as they make me feel very ill afterwards. However, your nut roast still looks wonderful to me. It is very similar in appearance to my own which I had again this year. Mine is flavoured with nutmeg and lemon and has a lovely stuffing which my daughter thinks is the best bit. I don’t toast the nuts first. It’s a good tip though to wash off the salt from ready roasted ones; I have done that with peanuts prior to cooking with them. My nuts at standard (expensive) prices came to about £5, but nothing else in the roast was expensive. I used half each of cashews and almonds. There were two of us eating it and it lasted us 3 days and gave really large portions. It’s a once a year treat. Traditional veggie food is wonderful and is far better than the plastic food you get in the freezer cabinets. Anyone who thinks a nut roast is dull is really missing out. I want to do a nut roast kind of plait with apple and sage maybe. You can also make very tasty roasts from lentils or beans but for Christmas it has to be a nut roast.

    • Hi Sara, I think dried apricots or apple would be equally as nice as cranberries, they just look colourful and seasonal. Funnily enough I was considering adding in nutmeg next time too, very nice idea! I also love lemon in a nut roast, I think it pays to use good flavours and why not, after all herbs, fruits and spices are wonderful! This nut roast is pretty frugal, and especially for Christmas; when I added it all up – using several of ASDA’s Smartprice range of basic ingredients as a reference and baring in mind my free homegrown rosemary and chillies – I was surprised to find it cost me exactly £2.17 to make, which allowing for six healthy servings worked out at only 36p per person. As you say it is once a year, so I think some extra pistachios in there for added colour and texture might be in order next time. I have to say I LOVE your fabulous idea of a vegetarian Apple and Sage Plait using a nut meat base instead of sausage meat, that would be right up my street! Perfect for a hearty picnic. Many thanks for sharing all your interesting thoughts, and I hope you have a good new year 🙂

  4. Lovely looking nut roast! I too am on a quest to find a really good nut roast and so tried 3 different ones over the festive season. I think I’ll try this out for a Sunday roast as I have a nice rosemary bush waiting to be used…

  5. Despite the fact that I’ve been vegan for two years, I have yet to make a nut loaf. I really, really should give this a try. I’m saving the recipe in my “to-try” folder and hope to get to it soon. Celeste 🙂

    • The one here, is a lot like a savoury Christmas stuffing – if you used to like stuffing with a roast dinner then I reckon you should like nut loaf. Thanks for commenting 🙂

    • I hope you enjoy it. I think distinct flavours do give a boost to the old nut roast. Thanks for commenting 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: