The best ever nut roast with pistachios and cranberries

Nut roast is the vegetarian’s turkey, some crave something different but for others it’s not Christmas without it. A lover or a hater – this one is different, a flavour packed mushroom risotto base, sticky cranberries sit on the top a bit like a savoury upside down cake. When I have meat eaters and veggies together for Christmas this is always gone before the turkey… just saying! You can make the nut roast mixture the day before and keep it in the fridge, just don’t add the eggs.  For vegans you can easily omit the cheese and the eggs as the mixture will still hold together, or if you like use a vegan alternative.

SERVES: 8-10

A small handful of dried porcini
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks of celery peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
150g of risotto rice or pearl barley
100ml of white wine
500ml of good hot vegetable stock
200g of mixed wild mushrooms
100g of pistachios, toasted
100g of almonds toasted
a handful of breadcrumbs from good bread
125g of good cheddar cheese
1 red chilli, finely chopped
the zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten
2 sprigs of each, sage rosemary, thyme, leaves picked and chopped
200g of fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar

First make the risotto base.

Soak the dried porcini in a little boiling water. Add the olive oil to a large pan, add the onion and celery and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Turn up the heat and add the rice, cook the rice for a minute or so until you hear it snap, crackle and pop, then add the wine and stir until it has all bee absorbed.

Drain the mushrooms, sieve any grit from the liquor and add this to the risotto pan stirring until it is completely absorbed. Finely chop the soaked porcini and add these to the pan too.

Then add ladle by ladle of stock, stirring each one in until it has been completely absorbed this will take 20 minutes or so. Stir as much as you can this is what will make it creamy. Once the rice is al dente (when you break into a grain it should be almost cooked through but still have a little white fleck in the middle). Once you are happy put in a bowl to cool.

Heat the oven to 180C.

Fry the mushrooms in a little olive oil on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until they are just starting to crisp and smell lovely and woody. Bash the nuts a little to break them down, you can do this in a food processor, you want coarse pieces not a powder.

Once the risotto is cooled add all the other ingredients apart form the cranberries and sugar and mix and mix well.

Put the sugar into a pan the cranberries and cook for a minute or two, then tip them into the bottom of the loaf tin and even out. Pile on the nut roast mixture and pack down with the back of a spoon.

Butter a 20cm loaf tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.

Cover with the whole thing with foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes. Once it’s golden brown on top remove from the oven and leave to settle for 10 minutes. Lay you serving platter or board on top of the tin then cover your hand with a tea towel and courageously flip the whole lot over, use a knife tolosen the tin then carefully lift off. Serve with all the trimmings.

Recipe originally published in Jamie Magazine
Image: Jonathan Gregson

Posted: 21.10.15 47 Comments


Posted by cate at 12:22 on the 08.11.15

there doesen’t seem to be an oven temp for the roast ?
love the recipes

Posted by Jane at 8:37 on the 12.11.15

Would it be ok to make this then freeze it – either cooked or uncooked?

Posted by Anna at 11:27 on the 24.11.15

Hello Cate, apologies, it should be 180C.

Posted by Anna at 11:28 on the 24.11.15

Jane – you should be able to freeze it before it’s cooked. Then defrost it before cooking. Hope that helps.

Posted by Jenny Holland at 1:41 on the 29.11.15

This looks a lovely variation on the nut roast and pleased to see that it can be frozen. However we don’t like cranberries, can anyone suggest another topping? Thanks

Posted by Allison at 1:57 on the 27.12.15

I made this tonight. It was delicious and easy to prepare. I think next time I will put more mushrooms in it, and add some marjoram, but that is just personal taste. Thanks for this posting!

Posted by Diane Moreton at 9:51 on the 29.12.15

We had this as our Christmas main course, quite easy to make and utterly delicious. It was also very good because it came out of the tin in one piece and sliced very well. Cold it was equally as nice, if not better so was a key feature of our buffet too.

Posted by Emma at 4:03 on the 29.12.15

I made this for Christmas (with pearl barley & no cheese) this year and it was a big hit – should have known it was your recipe (I found it on the Jamie site)! We were only a few on Christmas day so I’ve frozen leftover slices to pull out for easy meals. I’ve discovered it’s great crumbled over a salad too!

Posted by Tansy Gammie at 6:38 on the 29.12.15

I made this for Christmas for my 26 year old veggie daughter, and it was utterly delicious. Most nut roasts I have tried before have been a bit heavy, but this was modern, fresh, and enjoyed by meat eaters as well. Thanks Anna! PS Got your book for Christmas and love it! Have been trying recipes from your website, all with great success, so it was a gratefully received gift. (Jenny above, maybe some chopped soaked dried apricots would make a nice alternative?)

Posted by Lynn at 9:42 on the 04.01.16

This makes a brilliant vegan main on Christmas Day. Your recipes are a lifesaver when cooking for mixture of meat eaters and vegetarian/vegans. It’s just delicious food. Well done.

Posted by Bertle at 2:38 on the 07.05.16

I’m cooking this for vegetarian diabetics so the topping is going to be too sweet for them. What do you suggest as an alternative? Can I leave it out entirely? Thanks!

Posted by Anna at 9:23 on the 10.05.16

Hello Bertle. Yes, you can omit the topping/ you could perhaps substitute for wilted greens? Hope you enjoy. AJ x

Posted by Ian at 7:20 on the 18.11.16

Anna, please can I ask why should you leave the eggs out if you’re making it the day before? Is it a hygiene/health and safety issue, or will the eggs dry out?

Posted by Anna at 12:00 on the 24.11.16

Hello Ian. I prefer to add the eggs fresh to prevent the mixture becoming too sticky overnight. Hope you enjoy it

Posted by Ian at 12:20 on the 27.11.16

Hi Anna

Thanks for your reply. It’s amazing that you take the time!

The nut roast was incredible, possibly my favourite of your recipes (although your tomato pie is unbelievable!).

One more question, though – the ends held together perfectly but the rest was very crumbly and the slides collapsed. Do you have any idea why this was, and how I can make it easier to slice?

Posted by Anna at 1:07 on the 29.11.16

Hi again Ian. It’s quite crumbly by nature but bashing up the nuts well will help it stick together. Hope that helps. AJ x

Posted by Susie at 1:39 on the 08.12.16

Absolutely love this recipe and many friends have asked for a copy! I think the loaf tastes best served cold, so I bake it the day prior, refrigerate overnight in the tin, and then slice with an electric knife on the day. It will definitely be on our Christmas table again this year!

Posted by JC at 4:58 on the 17.12.16

Hi I made this last Christmas for a vegetarian and it is great, this year I need a vegan main and I am wondering do you think if I innit the cheese and replace the egg with a chia/flax seed in water mix it would still hold together? Or do you have any other suggestions to make this vegan? Thanks!

Posted by Kanela at 5:05 on the 18.12.16

We don’t have fresh cranberries here – can anyone suggest a substitute? Soaking dried cranberries in some water to rehydrate them a bit perhaps?

Posted by Susie at 5:02 on the 24.12.16

Hi Kanela – I just replace the fresh cranberries with dried ones (aka craisins) and follow the same method without rehydrating them first. The brown sugar caramelises the craisins during cooking and they taste great!

Posted by Aoife O’Shea at 5:14 on the 13.11.17

Hello, could you assemble this to the point before the cranberry topping the night before and continue and bake the following day? Thanks

Posted by Jan at 5:22 on the 17.12.17

Very tasty. I am useless at following recipes and weighing so ended up with too much for my loaf tin. Goody gave me a chance to do a mini version as well as full-size which I have frozen ready for Xmas day. Cooked the smaller version, reduced cooking time a little but gave us chance to try before Xmas day. Was delicious . Used a mix of fresh mixture mushrooms and dried. My son is only vegetarian but I think everyone will want this. Thankyou for posting this recipe.

Posted by Jacky at 9:18 on the 20.12.17

Hello all – what lovely comments! I love Anna’s recipes and am going to try this, despite my long-standing reservations about nut roasts (when i was a child in the 50s they were tasteless and dry!).
I’m sure that some of you must have tried this cold on Boxing Day, what is the verdict?or would I be better simply to heat it up?
Many thanks

Posted by Faith barker at 12:06 on the 21.12.17

We can’t get unsalted pistachios here so was thinking of replacing with cashews or pine nuts — do you think that would work or does anyone have another suggestion? Thanks!

Posted by Ian at 10:18 on the 27.12.17

Great recipe – works really well. For those looking for a less sweet alternative to cranberries, I layered the bottom of the tin with roasted and peeled red peppers. It looked pretty festive and provided the sweetness to balance the rich mushroom/nut/risotto. Also – on a second occasion, slightly short of wild mushrooms, I added some cooked, roughly chopped chestnuts and that seemed to work well too.

Posted by Kathleen M Mcconaughy at 2:53 on the 06.12.18

suggestions for replacement for the eggs?

Posted by Sarah at 5:49 on the 06.12.18

Anna, is it possible to halve the recipe (assuming we can find a 10cm loaf tin)? Alternatively, is it possible to freeze the leftovers after it has been cooked?

Looks beautiful!!

Posted by Teresa Shergold at 2:59 on the 07.12.18

Anna, made this last year and it was fabulous. I am serving it again for a big group of 12. So I am increasing the quarantines a little? But still putting it in big cake tin. However, real question is what do you serve with it? Bored of plain veggies? T

Posted by Jane Mepham at 12:47 on the 08.12.18

Has anyone made this in advance and frozen prior to cooking or cooked then frozen?
I need this for over the Xmas period but like to be ahead of myself!
Thank You

Posted by Ally at 5:23 on the 16.12.18

Has anyone tried the pearl barley option without eggs please? If so, does it hold together at all. I’m worried it will just crumble. Thanks.

Posted by Becky at 7:23 on the 19.12.18

Have made this nut roast several times and really love it. As we also love pastry I am thinking of wrapping it in pastry to make a nut roast wellington this year… would this work ok in terms of cooking times, and moulding it rather than in a loaf tin? think i will just give it a go!

Posted by Helen McCormack at 9:32 on the 22.12.18

Great looking recipe! Does anyone know if the breadcrumbs are meant to be fresh or dried?

Posted by Martin Harrison at 7:26 on the 23.12.18

Just put mine in the oven! Amazed all those ingredients fitted into a 20cm loaf tin, but perfectly level. It’s taken me two and a half hours to prepare, so it’s got to be good…

Posted by Alexandra Sara at 9:33 on the 25.12.18

I made this for Christmas dinner – it was absolutely delicious and was thoroughly enjoyed by the whole family. I might add more cheese the next time but I see this becoming a Christmas favourite. Thank you Anna!

Posted by Lavinia at 5:30 on the 04.11.19

Hi Anna. I’m going to do it this Christmas, do you recommend a nice gravy/sauce for it, my mum ALWAYS asks for a sauce!! Thanks.

Posted by Noelle thornton at 6:19 on the 19.12.19

Dear Anna, I am planning to make this recipe for Christmas, reading all the enthusiastic reviews! Would you recommend a gravy to go with it? Or would a nice cranberry relish go nicely with it? Or would that make too many cranberries? Thanks, Noelle

Posted by Jessica at 2:05 on the 20.12.19

I’m guessing you need to grease and line a loaf tin before pouring in the cranberries and nut roast mixture. Also, I’m not sure what you mean by sieve any grit from the liquor and add this to the risotto pan – is this the water from dried porcini?
Do you need to chop the wild mushrooms?

Posted by Chiara at 4:12 on the 01.12.20

Is there any suitable substitute for the nuts? Yes, I realise its a nut roast so to make without nuts might seem stupid however with the risotto base, I thought it sounded like it could be great without for those who have nut allergies. The nuts bring texture so perhaps some seeds? Any ideas would be very welcome.

Posted by Sue Miller at 7:25 on the 08.12.20

This sounds delicious and I’m going to make it for my veggie daughter on Xmas Day. I’d like to make it in advance and freeze it, but then how should I warm it up for serving after unfreezing? How long can I put it in the oven and at what temperature without it drying out or over-cooking? Thanks.

Posted by Sharon at 11:16 on the 14.12.20

I have made this on previous occasions. I find it best to freeze it before cooking, defrost overnight then cook as recommended.

Posted by Beth at 6:02 on the 15.12.20

Some of my family members are Vegan therefore can’t have the cheese or egg, this recipe looks fantastic and we really wanted to make it this year for Christmas. Do you know if we substitute the eggs for another binding ingredient whether it will come out the same? Many thanks!

Posted by Nicola Crean at 11:58 on the 15.12.20

I’ve made this twice for Christmas day dinner and it’s been delicious both times. This year I am trying a vegan dinner so i am wondering what are good replacements for the eggs and the cheese? Thanks.

Posted by Cerise at 7:06 on the 25.12.20

Anna, thank you very much for an absolutely excellent recipe. My sister cooked it yesterday and it was truly delicious.
Here we made it with gooseberries rather than cranberries, a mix of local (Icelandic) dried mushrooms, and apple cider vinegar rather than white wine.
It was a lot of work, made easier by preparing every component in advance, but appropriate for a special occasion. There was too much mixture for our 20cm tin, so we made a second, smaller one. Next time we’ll just use a bigger tin.
It seems like an extremely adaptable recipe, so for people asking about substitutes, with the caveat of not having try them, I’d say:
– replacing nuts with a similar amount of seeds, also toasted and crushed (roughly, not powdered), seems like it could work very well and be lovely.
– if you skip the eggs maybe skip the breadcrumbs too, and see it more as a baked risotto in a tin? It probably won’t hold together as well but it will still taste delicious.
– breadcrumbs: fresh or dry should both work! They’re there to help it hold together, I think (as in meatballs). Dry ones would be rehydrated by the mixture.
– other fruit than cranberries: anything that’s tangy and juicy, maybe even tart apples (without the added sugar)?
– we had a mushroom+blue cheese sauce with it, which was nice (made by someone else). Next time maybe Anna’s veg gravy? (Can’t remember which book it’s in)

Posted by Liv at 5:09 on the 19.10.21

I have made this every Xmas and it has been a roaring success. This year I plan to make it again but needs to be suitable for a gluten and dairy allergy. Can I swap the breadcrumbs with gluten free breadcrumbs and the cheddar with vegan cheddar ? Thanks

Posted by Victoria Sparkes at 12:51 on the 16.11.21

This looks like a perfect recipe to try this Christmas, just wondering about how to freeze in the tin – would you line the tin with greaseproof paper first and then seal over the tin with layers of cling film? Thank you

Posted by Anne at 4:34 on the 04.12.21

This sounds lovely. What would you recommend as a side dish, Anna? Mashed potatoes maybe?

Posted by janine at 9:37 on the 03.12.22

Hi. What can i use instead of mushrooms as I am allergic to them but am a veggie. thanks Janine

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