Free From & Festive – 15th December – Vegetarian Main Course

After wanting to make nut roast for a long time, I’ve recently become a total convert, and now make one on a weekly basis. It’s a really nutritious meal, and also, you can pretty much be as creative as you wish and as long as you balance out your ingredients, I’ve found you can create some really delicious variations.

I know some people say it’s totally cliche to give a vegetarian Nut Roast at Christmas, however, I think if you’re willing to put in a bit of effort in the presentation and use some really wonderful seasonal vegetables, you can create a delicious vegetarian option that will have the meat-eaters questioning the turkey on their plate!

Because of my recent convert to Nut Roast, I’ve chosen to create a very Christmassy version for Christmas Dinner. And, I’ve created a side dish at the bottom of this recipe that will accompany this nut roast perfectly.

Cranberry and Red Pepper Christmas Nut Roast


Serves 4

100g Chana Dal (or Lentils)

1 x Vegetable Stock Cube (Knorr as their’s are Gluten Free)- make up 225ml Stock

1 x Bay Leaf

1 x Red Onion

1 x Chopped Garlic Clove

1 x Parnsip

3 x Medium Carrots

50g Chopped and Roasted Walnuts (roast in the oven at 220 C for 2 minutes)

1 x Tbsp Mixed Herbs

1 x Tbsp Lemon Juice

50g Breadcrumbs

1 x egg

2 x Red Pepper de-seeded and chopped into thick strips

40g Dried Cranberries

Spray Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to Season

Ingredients (Tomato Sauce)

400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp Mixed Herbs
2 dashes of Tabasco

To Serve (suggestions…)



Garden Peas

Brussel Sprouts (Keep a look out for my brussel sprouts recipe…)

Roasted vegetables

Any other Christmassy vegetables of your choice…


Preheat oven to 220 C

1. Cook the Chana Dal for 30 minutes, drain, rinse then put back into the pan, pour over the stock (add a little extra boiling water if needed), drop in the bayleaf, cover the pan with a lid and cook for a further 15 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside (this will allow the lentils to absorb the rest of the liquid if they haven’t already during cooking! If the lentils stick to the bottom of the pan, don’t worry, just add a splash more of boiling water and stir it up… If you do burn the bottom, just leave it and use what you have or, cook up some more if you’ve really gone to town on the char-grilling of the lentils!)

2. Half way through this cooking time, peel and chop carrots and cook til soft (about 20 minutes).

3. Meanwhile, put the parsnips into to the frying pan and fry until browned – don’t put the pan on high and speed up the process or you’ll end up with burnt on the outside, raw on the inside parsnips, just cook slowly for 15 minutes and turn up the heat for the last 5.

4. Remove the parsnips from the pan and transfer to a dish, then fry the red onion and garlic in a few sprays of olive oil until just softened (5 minutes, tip into a bowl and set aside for later.

5. Drain the carrots and blend to a puree in a food blender.


6. As each ingredients is cooked, start to assemble all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, except for the egg, this must be done last so that it does not start cooking while you’re preparing everything else. When you have all of your ingredients ready, mix it all up, crack the egg over the top and check back through your list to make sure everything is added, including the herbs, seasoning, breadcrumbs and eggs, as well as the crushed and roasted walnuts. Make sure everything is combined thoroughly.

20111214-220348.jpg7. Transfer half of the mixture to an oil-sprayed loaf tin and smooth down the top. Layer on the chopped red pepper and sprinkle over the dried cranberries.20111214-220358.jpg8. Then, layer on the second half of the mixture and make sure the top is even by flattening with a spoon or spatula, cover with an oil sprayed piece of tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.9. After 30 minutes, remove the tin foil and bake for a further 30 minutes.

10. Warm up the sauce and cook your vegetables while the loaf rests for 10 minutes (this helps it to hold it’s shape and for the flavours to set in.)
11. Serve up with the vegetables of your choice, or with my brussel sprouts and vegetable, feta and quark layered dish.20111214-220417.jpg
Feta, Quark, Red Pepper and Courgette Layer
2 x Peppers (charred, softened, skins removed and chopped into large chunks)
2 x Courgettes (sliced lengthways and fried in Olive Oil Spray until lightly browned)
3 x Tbsp Quark
50g Apertina Arla Cheese (chopped into small chunks)
Salt and Pepper to taste
A dressing of: 1 x Tbsp Oil, 1 x tsp fresh Thyme and 1 x Tbsp Lemon Juice
1. Once you have prepared the vegetables, layer like this:
  • 2 small pieces of courgette, 1 x tsp of Quark, a piece of pepper, a chunk of feta
2. Repeat and mix up the order, adding cheese and quark on the same layer, but always have cheese or quark or both between each vegetable layer. Then, pour over the dressing and season to taste.
3. Serve this dish as it is, there is no need to warm it through, however, if you like, assemble in small oven-proof dishes and warm in a 200 C oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted, but it tastes wonderful served as it is.
Enjoy and have a wonderful Christmas!
Rubelle’s Moon


  1. This looks delish! Lentils and parsnips are 2 of my favourite things.

    Sorry if this is a dense question but what is ‘Ghana dal’? I googled it but couldn’t find. And if you didn’t use Ghana dal, what sort of lentils would work best in this recipe; green, yellow or red?

    1. Me too!! The parsnips are so deliciously sweet in it, I kept hunting them out and eating them first!

      Not dense, i’m the dense one. It stems wayyy back from me learning to make Lentil Dal and learning that Chana Dal (or Ghana Dal as I was led to believe it was called, but on research I have found it is spelled ‘Chana’ which is why you wouldn’t have been able to find it! I hate when that happens, but lesson learned for me too, also, I find so many variations of names these days I get so confused… Dhal, Dal, Dahl etc.) is a better lentil that just regular lentils. You should be able to buy it from the ‘world food’ aisle in any supermarket or, somewhere like Masala Mart (I don’t know if you have one of these or similar near you?). You can use yellow lentils, just make sure you cook them for long enough and soak overnight if needed. The great thing about Chana Dal is that it can be cooked for 40 minutes without the need to soak, so it’s a great time saver as well as being completely ‘authentic’ when making Dal. But for this recipe, either Chana Dal or Yellow Lentils are great.

      Hope that helps 🙂 x

  2. Brilliant, thanks for clarifying that! My years as a veggie mean I’m a huge fan of lentils but I’ve never seen or used chana dal. When I was a student I lived on lentil dal made with red lentils using a Rose Eliott recipe. I will have to search out some chana lentils and make this dish.

    Am also loving the feta, courgette and pepper layer….so colourful and fesh looking.

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