Sometimes on a Sunday I feel like making a family roast dinner. But I never think to pick up any joints of meat when I’m shopping on a Saturday and, in any case, there’s only two of us to eat such a decadent meal. Leftovers would be coming out of our ears. What do you do when you’re craving a vehicle for roast potatoes and gravy, but are missing a centrepiece? Recently I came up with this lentil nut roast as a spur of the moment roast dinner option. It was quite easy to whip up, comparatively speaking. No need for hours of basting. It’s pretty much made in a blender and a bowl. I think it’s a pretty good alternative to a heavy meat roast. My boyfriend even thought it was shop-bought, which is a great compliment.
This lentil nut roast should serve 8 people.
Breadcrumbs, 3 crusts worth
Hazelnuts, a good handful
½ red onion, finely chopped and softened over a low heat
1 tin green lentils, drianed
Cranberries, a small handful
Parsley, thyme, sage, salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a heatproof loaf tin. Whizz up the breadcrumbs in the blender (I always save crusts in the fridge for these occasions) and add the hazelnuts until everything has a crumbly texture. Chop your onion and soften it in some butter over a low heat on the hob.
Add the breadcrumb and hazelnut mixture to a deep bowl, along with the onions, cranberries, lentils and spices, and give it all a good stir. Now’s your chance to taste the mixture. Make sure it’s got enough salt and herbs in it, then add the eggs. Stir until combined – it should start sticking together – then add to your leaf tin and press down slightly so there’s no air in the mixture. Then bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until it passes the skewer test (the skewer should come out clean once inserted into the loaf).
I served this loaf with mushroom gravy, roasted carrots and roast potatoes. It was gorgeous; a little bit of what we fancied but without the time investment of a full roast dinner. I even had leftovers in salads and sandwiches for lunches in the week. The loaf tastes really good with chutney.
Do you have a go-to roast dinner recipe? Have you ever tried nut roast before?