When I met Mr TS back in 1988 I was delighted that he too was vegetarian and even more delighted to get my hands on his well thumbed copy of the original Cranks Recipe Book. Cranks went on to play a massive part in our foodie lives over the next 27 years and that first recipe book is still one of my fall back favourites; my variation of Cranks Cheese and Lentil loaf is my children’s roast of choice on Christmas Day! When we married in 1994 our vegetarian caterer was none other than the absolutely wonderful Nadine Abensur who went on to write the New Cranks recipe book in 1996 and the Cranks Biblein 2001! So, you can imagine my absolute delight when Cranks got in touch recently to ask if they could feature my Polenta with Wild Mushrooms over on their website and whether I fancied collaborating a bit as we go into 2016!

Cranks brought the nut roast to the vegetarian Christmas table and it has never left mine – not for me the jumped up goat’s cheese salad, the noodles and tofu or the rice stack, I want something substantial and richly flavoured and I want to serve it up with roast veggies, gravy and bread sauce while wearing a paper hat and a tinsel scarf! So, alongside the compulsory cheese and lentil loaf I serve up a savoury nut roast shaped in a festive tin – something like this…

cashew nut roast

That beauty is my Cashew and Chestnut Roast, moist and delicious with the addition of butternut and carrot mash and completely and utterly vegan. I cooked it yesterday to welcome my vegan boy home from Uni for the holidays and it went down a treat. I jazz up festive roasts because I think we eat with the eye as well as the mouth and nose and this is a delight for all the senses so there you go, Chestnut and Cashew Nut Christmas Wreath…

nut roast

Chestnut and Cashew Nut Roast – Vegan Christmas


  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g/10oz butternut squash, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 200g/8oz carrots, roughly chopped
  • 150g/5oz cashew nuts
  • 150g/5oz cooked and peeled chestnuts
  • 120g/4oz breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp light tahini
  • 1/2 tsp each of dried rosemary, sage and thyme
  • 1 tsp yeast extract
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsps paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh herbs and cranberries to decorate


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
  2. Fry the onion in the oil until soft and just beginning to colour
  3. Add the garlic and fry gently for a further two minutes
  4. Steam or boil the carrots and squash until soft, mash thoroughly
  5. Grind the cashews and chestnuts in a food processor - not too much, you want ground nuts rather than nut flour
  6. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl
  7. Press into a greased 900g/2lb loaf tin or ring mould
  8. Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour
  9. Remove the foil and bake for a further ten minutes
  10. Leave to stand in the tin for 10 minutes
  11. Turn out onto a board (or glass cake stand as I have here)
  12. Decorate with rosemary sprigs, fresh thyme and cranberries
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vegan nut roast

We’ve already eaten this nut roast so I have another recipe up my sleeve for Christmas Day itself because you just can’t have too many roasts at Christmas! This one is a richly flavoured roast interspersed with layers of chestnut and red wine puree, garlicky spinach and butternut squash with chilli. I serve it in a brioche tin topped with chestnuts, cranberries and herbs like a great big midwinter crown – photographs of that one to follow soon!

If you want to keep track of all my vegetarian and vegan offerings over the festive period do follow me on Instagram and on Pinterest where I post pictures of all my dishes and recipes!

This post is my first collaboration with Cranks, I recently spent a very happy lunchtime in London at Richard Corrigan’s Mayfair restaurant with them and with some other lovely food bloggers, it was such a treat! You can read all about that lunch here.

Wishing you all a very Happy Veggie Christmas from all of us at Thinly Spread! 

I’m sharing this post with Meat Free Mondays at Tinned Tomatoes – do go and check out all the other vegetarian and vegan recipes on offer!

meat free mondays

Also shared with A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week



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