Vegetarians need a special main course dish for Christmas and other significant occasions. I think they miss out sometimes, because people just don't know what to cook for them. Roast of nuts is the dish I always make at Christmas time for the vegetarians in my family. It fits in well with a traditional Christmas meal with all the trimmings and with salads. You will find that the meat-eaters enjoy it, too.
250g raw mixed nuts of your choice (not peanuts)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 medium carrot, grated
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
1 cup fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
100g gruyere or vegetarian cheddar cheese, grated
1-2 tbsp sage, rosemary and thyme, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
extra toasted nuts and herbs, to garnish
I like to use hazelnuts, brazils, walnuts, almonds, cashews, macadamias and pecans. Instead, you could use a packet of unsalted mixed raw nuts.
Spread the nuts out on a tray and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. When cool, chop the nuts in the food processor until well ground.
Heat the olive oil in a frypan and gently fry the onion for about 10 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and carrot and cook for a couple of minutes and then add the tomato and seasoning. Tip the vegetables into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool.
Brush a loaf tin or terrine with oil or butter and line with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced.
Add the nuts, breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs, nutmeg, seasoning and eggs to the vegetables and mix together. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin or terrine and bake in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Stand for 10 minutes before turning out. Garnish with extra toasted nuts and herbs - as used in the dish. Serve with vegetables and salad.