A nut roast is a fantastic alternative to a meat main course or traditional Christmas dinner. This delicious recipe is full of hearty veg – butternut squash, aubergine, red pepper – as well as nuts, herbs and green olives for flavour and texture. Cooked in a round tin, it makes a showstopper main with its bright pomegranate garnish. What’s more, it’s vegan-friendly, too.
- Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Grease a 23cm, round deep tin with a little oil and line the base with baking paper. Toss the diced butternut squash with the garlic cloves and 2 tbsp of the oil in a large bowl. Spread out over a large roasting tin and cook for 15-20 mins, or until soft, turning once halfway through cooking.
- While the squash is cooking, heat a large, heavy frying pan over a medium heat with 1 tbsp oil. Add the aubergine and cook for 10-15 mins until softened and well browned, then transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the remaining oil to the frying pan along with the shallots. Cook for 5-10 mins until softened, then add the pepper and cook for further 5 mins. Add to the bowl with the aubergine and set aside.
- Once cooked, add the squash and roasted garlic cloves to a food processor and pulse until you have a chunky purée, then transfer to the bowl with the aubergine mixture.
- Add the drained chickpeas, almonds, pistachios (reserving a few to garnish) and herbs to the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add to the bowl along with the chopped olives, breadcrumbs and lemon juice. Season well and mix everything together until thoroughly combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth over the top. Bake for 50-55 mins, or until the top is golden. Allow to rest for 5 mins in the tin, then loosen the edges with a knife and carefully turn out onto a serving plate.
- Garnish with the pomegranate seeds, reserved pistachios and thyme sprigs before slicing into wedges to serve.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines: Once the dish has cooled completely, transfer it to an airtight, freezer-safe container, seal and freeze for up to 1-3 months. To serve, defrost thoroughly in the fridge before reheating. To re-heat, loosely cover with foil and bake until dish is thoroughly heated through. Re-heat until piping hot.
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