A celebratory, show-stopping vegetarian nut roulade, with cashew and hazel nuts. Full of flavour and colour. Delicious as a hot ‘roast’ and also served cold with chutney.
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Stuffed Cashew Nut Roast – the Best Nut Roast Ever!
Think nut roast is just for veggies? Think again! This Stuffed Cashew Nut Roast is simply the best and my favourite nut roast ever… I would eat it over a meat roast any day. Sure, the humble vegetarian nut roast has a poor reputation, but this recipe is full of personality and flavour and has swayed the minds of the most ardent meat-eaters.
I say this from experience. It has been fed to guests of all ages and from all backgrounds and dietary inclinations. I have delivered it to party tables and served it as Sunday lunch. The recipe has been requested over and over again and has been adopted by many friends to be recreated in their own kitchens.
Indeed, it is one of the most popular and most visited recipes on the Gluten Free Alchemist blog, and deservedly so.
Whilst I have no idea where the recipe for this savoury nut roulade actually originated, I have been eating it for about 30 years. Sadly, I cannot claim it as entirely my own, although I know that I have altered it slightly as the years have progressed. But if anyone out there recognises it, please let me know and I will happily give both credit and gratitude to its creation.
The rise of the Vegetarian Nut Roast
Although it is difficult to trace the firm origins of the vegetarian nut roast, it has been around for over a hundred years, at least. Back in 1908, two recipes for ‘nut cutlets’ appeared in a book called Vegetarian Cookery by Florence George. Just four years later, the Golden Rule Cookbook (Maud Sharpe) included a seasonal (Michaelmas Day) recipe for meat-free Michaelmas Loaf, roasted in the oven and served with gravy.
The nut roast has since grown in popularity with vegetarians and is now traditional veggie fare at celebratory meals (Christmas and Thanksgiving being most popular). And let’s face it, whilst a nut roast may not always be the most appealing dish to look at, nuts (with their incredibly nutritious qualities and high energy boost) make an admirable alternative to meat.
Of course, there is no such thing as a single vegetarian nut roast recipe. Made with any combination of nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables, lentils, legumes and seasonings, each and every recipe is unique. There is a nut roast to suit every taste…
Stuffed Cashew Nut Roast – a queen amongst nut roast recipes
Although time consuming to make, this cashew roulade makes the best nut roast and is definitely worth the effort. It does not require a huge amount of skill (rolling is probably the trickiest bit), but sets itself apart as a true show-stopper. Other nut roasts rarely come close. Why?
A feast for the eyes
Well for a start, whilst vegetarian nut roasts are as varied as their creators, most of them look pretty much the same. Seriously! Google ‘nut roast images’ and you will find a gallery of largely brown blocks. Whilst I don’t dispute that most of them taste good, they are often unappealing and unexciting to look at.
Food (especially celebratory food) should look as good as it tastes. The best enjoyment comes when we can feast with our eyes as well as enjoy the aromas and flavours from the plate. Why settle for a brick of brown, when you can set your eyes and senses on the colourful, inviting swirls of the Stuffed Cashew Nut Roast?
Incredible contrasts of flavour and texture
This Stuffed Cashew Nut Roast also bursts with contrasts of flavour and texture. The fact that it has two distinct layers, each with a unique and complementary mix of ingredients, ensures a symphony of flavours on the tongue. Whilst I am sure many standard ‘block’ nut roasts also offer flavour and texture complexity, the lamination of this savoury roulade allows for unambiguous distinction.
A nut roast full of the most amazing ingredients, its base is a combination of cashews in the outer layer and hazelnuts in the stuffing. It is beautifully savoury and fragrant with the addition of a wonderful selection of Mediterranean herbs. It is richly cheesy with a goodly handful of sharp mature cheddar. The characteristic depth and nuttiness of the sesame is unmistakable and adds an almost oriental waft across the palate. And as a final treat, it has a hint of a sweet edge from the addition of a touch of honey and the sautéed, slightly caramelised veg.
The combination of flavours and textures is quite unique… The crisp baked outer coat encases a soft, nutty, cheesy under-layer, all twisted round a vibrant contrasting ribbon of honey-infused leak and carrot stuffing.
Can I make this Cashew Nut Roast in advance?
Most definitely yes! This is one of those dishes I make every year at Christmas… without fail. And I always make it days (and often weeks) ahead of time… Providing it is well wrapped, it can be frozen uncooked. Alternatively, you can leave it uncooked in the fridge for several days before roasting.
To counter the time that it takes to prepare, I generally make two cashew nut roasts at once. I figure if I’m going all out to make the best nut roast, it would be good to pop a spare in the freezer for another day. And because it is also fantastic cold, it is also perfect for taking on picnics and in packed lunches.
I confess, I have also enjoyed it way too many times for breakfast, grabbed straight from the fridge, held in hand and munched down without so much as a plate in sight. This is a vegetarian nut roast which is just perfect to scoff at Boxing day breakfast!
And it goes a long way. It will feed 10 to 12 people. If you are replacing for a hot ‘roast’, it is perfectly complemented with a tomato-based sauce and can be dressed up with baked fresh pineapple for a fruity twist. I personally love it ‘straight’ and cold as the centre-piece in a party buffet, served with a spicy chutney or tasty coleslaw.
Getting the Breadcrumbs Right (if you are gluten free)
Historically, I made this roast with usual wheat-based breadcrumbs. Since becoming a gluten-avoiding family however, I have made it with a number of different gluten free breads. In my experience, not all are equal. To get the best nut roast, I would advise using either a more moist homemade crumb. A good choice would be this gluten free Wholemeal Brown Bread recipe, my Fluffy Oat Bread, or this alternative Brown Bread recipe. If you use shop-bought gluten free bread (which tends to be drier and can make the roulade crumbly), add a little extra egg yolk to bind.
Whether making gluten free or not, this cashew nut roast recipe is a keeper. For those of you who venture to make it, I hope it brings many years and meals of enjoyment. As always I would love to know if you make it. If you do, snap a pic and tag me on social media. xx
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Stuffed Cashew Nut Roast
- measuring jug
- Kitchen scales
- sharp knife
- measuring spoons
- vegetable peeler
- large saucepan
- large bowl
- wooden/silicone spoon
- baking parchment/paper
- large baking sheet
Outer Roulade Layer
- 225 g raw cashew nuts finely ground
- 112 g fresh breadcrumbs gluten free if required
- 115 g mature cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp dried basil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 large egg yolk
- 140 ml milk
Roulade Stuffing Layer
- 85 g hazelnuts de-skinned & coarsely ground
- 1 leek finely chopped
- 2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
- 170 g carrots peeled & grated
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- ½ tsp dried sage
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- handful whole raw cashew nuts
Stuffing (make first)
- Sauté the chopped leek with the oil in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes.
- Add the grated carrots and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes until the carrots are soft – stirring frequently.
- Add and stir in the ground hazelnuts, sesame seeds, sage, thyme and oregano, salt and pepper and honey.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Outer Roulade Layer
- In a large bowl, mix the ground cashew nuts with the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, parsley, basil and salt and pepper.
- Stir in the egg yolk and the milk until all the ingredients have blended and you have a thick, sticky mixture.
Rolling and Cooking
- Cut a large oblong of non-stick baking parchment. Carefully spread and press the cashew nut mixture into an oblong shape on the parchment, about 1.5 to 2 cm thick.
- When cool, spread the stuffing mixture evenly over the top, leaving a gap of about 2 cm at each long side to allow for both starting the rolling process and sealing the final edge.
- Using the baking paper to help you. carefully roll the roulade from one long side, keeping the roll as tight as possible.
- Gently press the final edge together to seal and smooth with your finger tips. Seal the ends by gently squeezing together. Smooth any cracks that appear.
- Decorate the top of the roulade by carefully pressing whole cashew nuts into the surface.
- Wrap the roulade in baking paper and chill for at least an hour before baking.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and base-line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
- Place the roulade on the baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes until golden brown. Check occasionally and if it appears to be browning too quickly, place a piece of foil over the top to protect it.
- Serve with chutney or a gravy/sauce of your choice. It goes equally well with a tomato-based sauce or traditional vegetable-stock based gravy.
Stuffed Cashew Nut Roast Shared With :
- Cook Blog Share with Easy Peasy Foodie
- Creative Muster with Fluster Buster and Adoring Creations
- Full Plate Thursday #460 with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
- Meatless Monday with Confessions of a Mother Runner and A Whisk & Two Wands
- What’s For Dinner? #128 with The Lazy Gastronome
- Fiesta Friday #305 with Angie and Spades Spatulas & Spoons
This post was originally published on 7.1.2015 and updated on 26.11.2019