Christmas recipe: plant nut roast with cavolo nero and apple cranberry compote

This dish is brilliant in the sense that it is a proper centrepiece and can be enjoyed by all, said Bettina Campolucci Bordi.

It is equally as yummy the day after you make it and can also be transformed into a hash or squeezed between slices of bread for a sandwich.

Ingredients – serves 8: for the nut roast
  • 2 parsnips (about 300g), peeled and cut into 3-4cm pieces 
  • ½ small swede (rutabaga) (about 200g), peeled and cut into 3-4cm pieces 
  • 1 small sweet potato (about 150g), peeled and cut into 3-4cm pieces 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 small leek (about 160g), washed and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, chopped 
  • 350g mushrooms (such as chestnut or oyster) chopped 
  • 50g herb leaves (such as rosemary, thyme and sage), finely chopped 
  • 120g cooked wholegrain rice (prepared according to the directions on packet) 
  • 200g cavolo nero or kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped 
  • 120g ground almonds (almond meal) 
  • 160g walnuts, chopped (plus an extra handful, toasted, to serve) 
  • 4 tablespoons cold-milled flaxseed 
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup 
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
For the sauteed cavolo nero
  • 200g cavolo nero or kale, torn into small pieces and stalks discarded 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil 
For the apple and cranberry compote
  • 4 red apples (such as Braeburn or Royal Gala), unpeeled, cored and diced 
  • 100g fresh or frozen cranberries 
  • 3cm piece of fresh root ginger, grated 
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup 
  • juice of 1 lemon 
  • 100ml water
  • Cook the parsnips, swede and sweet potato in a large saucepan of boiling water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well, then roughly mash. 
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) and cook the leek, garlic and shallot for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms, herbs and some salt and pepper, and fry for a further 5–10 minutes. 
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F/gas 8). 
  • Mix the vegetable mash, mushroom mixture, cooked rice, cavolo nero, ground almonds, walnuts and flax seeds together in a large bowl using a spatula until smooth. 
  • Line a 900g loaf pan with baking parchment, then add the mixture. You can also use a patterned, fancy, Christmas non-stick mould but I recommend brushing the inside with olive oil just for good measure (this cannot be lined with baking parchment as that would hide the pattern). 
  • Reduce the temperature of the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas 6), then roast the loaf in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes. 
  • Remove the loaf from the oven, then lift out of the pan along with the paper (if using). Turn the loaf upside down onto a baking tray (pan) lined with baking parchment. 
  • Mix the tamari/soy sauce with the maple syrup and mustard, then baste the loaf before returning to the oven to bake for a further 15–20 minutes. 
  • To cook the cavolo nero accompaniment, massage the leaves with a little of the olive oil and a pinch of salt until soft.
  • Preheat a medium frying pan (skillet), add a drizzle of olive oil and the garlic and fry the cavolo nero for 5 minutes. Add the tamari/soy sauce and sesame seed oil, then set aside. 
  • To make the compote, add the apples, cranberries, ginger, maple syrup and lemon juice to a large saucepan, then pour in the water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10–15 minutes until the mixture is soft and chunky, and all the liquid has been absorbed. 
  • Once the nut roast is ready, allow to stand for ten minutes before serving. 
  • Serve on a platter with the sautéed cavolo nero and apple, cranberry and ginger compote, then top with some toasted walnuts. 

Celebrate: Plant-Based Recipes for Every Occasion by Bettina Campolucci Bordi

Celebrate: Plant-Based Recipes for Every Occasion by Bettina Campolucci Bordi is published by Hardie Grant (£20). To buy from The Week Bookshop for £15.99, call 020-3176 3835 or visit


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