Perfect Vegetarian Nut Roast (fool-proof recipe)
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A vegetarian christmas dinner classic, the humble nut roast has at times gotten a bad rep over the years for supposedly being bland and dense. Unfairly so, if you ask me!
While some people may balk at the prospect of no turkey with your Christmas roast, I think a delicious, moist, flavorful nut loaf is an absolute treat and the perfect meat-free centre piece!
What is a nut roast, first of all? If you haven’t had one before, imagine a vegetarian meat loaf, made with a nut mixture, legumes, vegetable stock and fresh herbs, baked in a loaf tin and served in slices.
There are a million different ways to make a nut roast depending on the flavor combination / texture that you are after. This nut roast contains cashews and peanuts and is flavored with oregano, thyme, parsley and basil. It’s my absolute favorite to whip out on special occasions.
The other great thing about nut roasts is that they are super easy to put together. A few ingredients have to go in the food processor or be gently fried, but after that it’s mostly just a case of mixing everything together, whacking it in a tin, and baking. Simple as anything!
I love the rich flavor of cashew nuts and think they work super well in nut roast. However, they can be quite expensive, so feel free to swap them out for a different kind of nut, if that works better for you!
One of my favorite silly fun facts is that peanuts aren’t technically nuts, they are legumes like beans and lentils! However, in culinary terms they are used as nuts. For this recipe, you can use plain roasted peanuts or shake it up a bit and use a bag of spiced peanuts.
Bread crumbs help to bulk out the roast and absorb the flavors. I would recommend making bread crumbs from stale bread and most shop-bought bread crumbs will be too fine.
Eggs play the important role of binding the nut roast together. If you are vegan, you can use flax eggs or chia eggs instead.
Vegetable stock adds flavor and moisture to the dish. For this recipe, you can either mix the stock with water, or, if you have it, with marmite! Marmite adds an extra kick of umami.
I use oregano, parsley, basil and thyme to season this nut roast. Fresh is always best, but dried works well too of course!
I like to stir in a bit of cheddar to add a bit of tang and some gooey goodness. You are welcome to use a different type of cheese if you have a preference, but I would recommend sticking to hard/semi-hard cheeses and steering clear of soft cheese like brie or mozzarella.
How many calories are in this nut roast?
This nut roast contains 443 calories per serving, and it contains 19g protein per serving.
Here’s a quick overview of the nutritional data:
I’m not too fussed about the health benefits with this one – it’s the holiday season, I’m here to indulge in good food! So, while I haven’t monitored the macros as closely as usual, this is by no means an unhealthy dish! Especially compared with traditional meat based Christmas dishes.
For starters, nuts are super good for you and a great addition to any diet. Secondly, there is a solid amount of protein (19g) and fibre (5g) in each serving of this dish.
How to make the best nut roast
- Grind: crush the nuts either by hand or in a food processor. If making the breadcrumbs, process them now too. Mix nuts and breadcrumbs together in a large bowl. If crushing by hand, you can use the bottom of a glass bottle to crush the nuts in a bowl.
- Fry: Dice the onions, then fry them over a medium heat in a generous amount of olive oil. Add to the nut/breadcrumb mix.
- Add: Combine the rest of the ingredients (eggs, herbs, cheese, vegetable broth, garlic) and mix well.
- Rest: Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
- Roll: Roll it into a cylinder and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, or press into a prepared loaf tin. Cook for 40 minutes (check it at 30 minutes, to avoid it drying out!).
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Got questions? I’ve got answers!
Can I make this ahead of time?
Yes! You can make the nut roast mix on Christmas eve and store it in the fridge, to cook the next day. This is a great alternative to cooking everything on the day, as it frees up more time to enjoy yourself outside the kitchen on the big day!
How do I store and reheat this nut roast?
Leftover nut roast can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes! You can also cut it into individual slices and freeze those for up to a month.
What to serve with a vegetarian nut roast?
Tomato sauce or gravy are great drizzled over a nut roast. All your traditional Christmas side dishes go well with nut roast too – cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding!
What does a nut roast contain?
Nut roasts usually have a base of nuts, legumes, bread crumbs and sometimes mushrooms. They are seasoned with fresh or dry herbs and usually onion and garlic.
Are nut roasts healthy?
Depends on what you put in it! Most nut roasts are somewhat healthy because they are made with primarily whole food ingredients. They can be quite high in fat, because of the fat content of nuts.
However, nuts come with a whole host of other health benefits, so you could say it balances out! Either way, it’s Christmas – no need to sweat it too much!
What do you eat with a nut roast?
Normal Christmas sides (the vegetarian ones!). Gravy, roasted root vegetables, stuffing, brussell sprouts, cranberry sauce. Some people like to spread tomato paste on top of their nut roast, or prepare a smoky tomato sauce to drizzle over it.
Nut roast variations and alternatives
If you want this to be a vegan roast, you can replace the eggs with flax eggs or chia eggs and use vegan cheese instead of normal cheese. Alternatively, you could cut the cheese out altogether.
This roast can be made gluten-free if you use gluten-free bread for the breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you could use oats or ground almonds!
You can also switch up the ingredients – why not try pumpkin seeds or brazil nuts? Or give chestnut mushrooms or red lentils a go? If you try anything out, let me know what the best results you came up with were in the comments!
What our readers are saying
Another excellent recipe from this great team! Thank you. I substituted walnuts because I didn’t have any peanuts and it was really great.Paddy ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What a fantastic recipe and so easy to make too. We made this yesterday and it is by far the best nut roast/roll we have ever eaten. We made the whole roll, so as there are 2 of us we have enough for 3 meals and as you say we can freeze some.Susie and Martin ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I made this at the weekend and my son said it was the best nut roast ever! He’s taken the leftovers home with him – I made him the big 6 servings just for him 🙂Sue ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
More festive recipes
Check out our vegan christmas recipes, complete with set menus to inspire you! Includes recipes like our crispy brussel sprouts with balsamic vinegar , colourful christmas slaw and perfect roast potatoes.
- ¾ cup cashews
- ¾ cup peanuts (roasted or spiced)
- 5 slices wholegrain bread (whole wheat, crumbled; 5 slices = ca. 220g)
- 1 large onion
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ⅕ cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp oregano, dried
- 1 tsp thyme, dried
- 1 tbsp parsley, dried
- 1 tbsp basil, dried
- 5 oz cheddar cheese (mature cheddar is great)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350F.
- Crush or grind the nuts (you can use a food processor to save time) then mix with the breadcrumbs. If you don’t have all the proper equipment (we don’t) then use the end of a glass bottle crush the nuts in a plastic bowl.¾ cup cashews, ¾ cup peanuts, 5 slices wholegrain bread
- Dice then fry the onion in plenty of oil. When the onions have turned clear, add them (and all the oil!) to the mix.1 large onion, 3 tbsp olive oil
- Add in the eggs, crushed or grated garlic, salt, pepper, broth, herbs and grated cheese.2 eggs, 2 cloves garlic, Salt and pepper to taste, ⅕ cup vegetable broth, 1 tsp oregano, dried, 1 tsp thyme, dried, 1 tbsp parsley, dried, 1 tbsp basil, dried, 5 oz cheddar cheese
- Mix again then knead well.
- Let it stand for 15 minutes.
- Roll into a roll shape.
- Place in baking tray and cook for 40 minutes at 180°C (check it after 30 mins, you don’t want it getting too dry).
- Done! Enjoy your veggie replacement.
I hope you have enjoyed making this incredible nut roast and that it made an awesome main dish for your Christmas dinner! It’s one of my favourite ever vegetarian Christmas dinner recipes 🤗
Let me know what you thought in the comments! Nothing better than a delicious easy nut roast to complete a roast dinner!
I honestly have never heard of a nut roast before… and you are so right… this definitely looks bad donkey. Love it!
Me too! But apparently it’s big in the UK. At least that’s what Dave says 😉
I had no idea what to expect when i read the title. I actually thought this was roasted nuts. But I suppose this is sort of a loaf?
I would try to make an eggless alternative. Otherwise, it looks loaded with all the good and rich stuff! Like!!
Yep, actually I sold it to my flatmate as a mince loaf. She didn’t realize I there wasn’t actually any meat in it until I told her. Quite funny 😀 Why no eggs if I may ask?
This is probably a silly question, but can you substitute the bread crumbs for anything?? Perhaps coconut flour or tapioca flour? I have joint problems (R/A) and had to cut grains out of my already restrictive vegetarian diet. If you have any ideas I would appreciate it as this looks delicious!
Try cold mashed potato or if you can get it, then some dehydrated potato. It binds the mix beautifully.
Cool idea, thanks for sharing!
Hi Jamie, thanks for the question. In all honestly I’ve never tried making it without the breadcrumbs, but that’s not to say it can’t be done! I’d imagine coconut flour mixed with a bit of water or milk would work best, as it’s kinda nutty already. You’d want to cut down on the amount though, perhaps half? I hope that helps, let us know how you get on!
Would this be good cold, say as a sandwich filler with a spicy spread? Does it freeze well?
Sorry for the late reply, first of all. Yes I think that would be really nice cold, and also work as a sandwich filler.
Yep, you can freeze the nut roast too 🙂
Another excellent recipe from this great team! Thank you.
I substituted walnuts because I didn’t have any peanuts and it was really great.
Does anyone have any suggestions for using it in leftovers apart from in a sandwich?
Wow, thanks a ton for trying out our Nut Roast as well, Paddy! Hmm, I find the idea to put it in a sandwich pretty tempting. Other than that I do like to snack a slice in between meals 😉
Hi, This sounds really good. Just wanted to know if there is anything I can substitute eggs with as we don’t eat eggs. Thanks
Hey Kay, how are you? Yees, it’s a super delish dish, especially for those who usually eat meat. The thing is egg is quite essential in this one and I realyl can’t vouch for a good outcome without eggs unfortunately 🙁
You could try mixing chick pea flour with water to use as an egg substitute.
Oh, nice! Good idea Berta. A flax egg (1 tbsp flax seeds,3 tbsp hot water and stirred together) would also work. I’ll update the recipe now. Thanks a lot!
Can this be made the day before then cooked right before eating
Hi Marta, yes, for sure! Just keep it in the fridge and it’ll be absolutely fine 🙂
What a fantastic recipe and so easy to make too. We made this yesterday and it is by far the best nut roast/roll we have ever eaten. We made the whole roll, so as there are 2 of us we have enough for 3 meals and as you say we can freeze some. I do have a question, why do you need to rest the mix, we did so anyway, but just interested, how does it help, perhaps to blend the flavours?
Thank you so much. Are we able to subscribe to your listings? So we found your recipe all the way down here in New Zealand! Yes we have been vegetarian/vegan for most of our lives 40+years
Hi both! Really glad you enjoyed it so much! And awesome you have more left over 😀
Yes exactly, the kneeding and resting is to let the flavours seep in, as well as to help it rise, like bread. If totally rushed for time you could skip this step, but we always found better results with it. Hello to New Zealand from Germany! Certainly, you can sign up to our newsletter here: https://hurrythefoodup.com/hurrythefoodup-newsletter-sign-up/. Thanks for writing!
I made this at the weekend and my son said it was the best nut roast ever! He’s taken the leftovers home with him – I made him the big 6 servings just for him 🙂
AWESOME!! That’s a brilliant compliment if ever I heard one. So glad it turned out well for you, Sue. Thanks for writing!
I’ve tried several different variations of a holiday roast and this is the one I keep coming back to, so I felt it necessary to give this recipe a much deserved review. I have made this the past couple years for Thanksgiving/Christmas (and whenever the craving arises) and it is always excellent and easy! I have made it as the recipe states, but it is so versatile that you can change it up with different nuts, cheeses, spices, even different breadcrumbs, and still get great results. Thanks for the recipe and I am looking forward to making it again this year!
Ah wow, thank you, Natalie! Much appreciated that you stopped to leave a comment. I’m really glad you’ve enjoyed the nut roast so much! We’ve been wondering whether to cook the nut roast or the wellington (here in case you haven’t seen it: https://hurrythefoodup.com/vegetable-wellington-2/) for friends for a pre-Christmas dinner – and just decided yesterday to go for the nut roast! Really looking forward to it 😀
Thanks again for writing!
We have made this nut roast several times now and everyone, even non vegetarians think it is amazing. We are making a double size one for Christmas as we have veggie friends coming over for the day. So pleased we found your site and this fabulous recipe, thank you
would it taste just as good with walnuts? I’m not a big fan of peanuts (sadly) but also have pecans right now. Has anyone had luck with these variations?
Hey Michelle! In all honestly, I haven’t tried it myself, BUT I’d bet it would still work. You could always make a ‘practice’ one before Christmas if you’re planning on making it for a big group 🙂
I struggled to find a recipe without lentils or chestnuts, but this did the job perfectly.
We used cashews and Brazils as that’s what we had in. Think I forgot to add the stock but it was still great; had used most of my bread so topped up the breadcrumbs with a mixture of dried ones and done rye flour.
Nice cold too, and quite a meaty texture
Will be saving and using again.
Niceee, so good to hear you liked the roast!! It has quite the meaty texture doesnt it? 😀
Made this for our Easter Sunday roast and it was delicious! Unlike most nut roast recipes I’ve seen it’s not too expensive to make and I subbed the cashews with some other mixed nuts I had and it turned out great. Really rich and tasty.
Just made this and it is really good I used a bag of mixed nuts and added a green pepper and some celery both finely chopped, dried mixed herbs and baked in a loaf tin. It’s got a nice firm texture, slices well and tastes fantastic.
Any alternative to the Vegetable broth that I could make it Low sodium?
Hi Sandra! Hmm, I don’t have any good substitute in mind. Though I know there are low-sodium veggie broths around. Maybe that could be a good alternative?
Thanks for this recipe. Not a fan of the nut roasts with the fruit in them so this was perfect. Served with baked potatoes and minty mushy peas for a great Sunday roast. It was so simple to make. A new favourite
So good to hear, Joel!! Really happy to get every couple of days a comment that this recipe makes readers happy. It’s been one of our earliest 🙂
Absolutely delicious! Will make it again and again..the only change I made was to use Polish style sunflower seed bread and a pinch of cayenne pepper and turmeric.
Woohoo, glad you liked it – and the changes sounds great!! I’ll be making this again at Christmas and I can’t wait already 😀
Wow stumbled across this and made it for our Sunday roast today – it was unrealll! My boyfriend couldn’t even tell there was no meat in it. Used only cashews and popped a finely chopped carrot in it – so good with gravy. Got a load left over so gonna try it fried up some cranberry sauce. Thanks – this will be a regular for us now. Looking toward to experimenting with different nuts and breads 🙂
I made mine with walnuts, cashews, figs and dolcelatte cheese. Yummy.
How far in advance can you make it before cooking?
Hi Grace, oh nice!! I bet those will be great. I’d say because of the egg in this I wouldn’t keep it for more than a day before cooking ) and would keep it in the fridge. It’s good for a couple of days after cooking though 🙂
I add some dried cranberries just for that beautiful colour and sllght tartness.
Ah wow, yes I bet they tasted great in there!
Third time I’ve made this! First time exactly as the recipe, second with DF cheese and this time with flax eggs and no cheese, wrapped in puff pastry. Vegan friendly and delicious. Thanks for such a tasty and amendable recipe!
Thanks Sarah! Really pleased that you made it – and that it’s become a staple! Great to hear. I also love finding recipes that you can play about with and change to just how you like it (or switch in other ingredients if you need to/have forgotten something). Thanks for writing!
Just had this for Easter Sunday dinner, big hit with all of the family. Thanks for a great recipe! I might add diced red pepper next time
You’re very welcome, really happy to help. I’m glad it went well and that you had a great Easter meal. I’m sure red peppers would go well in there, especially the sweeter ones. Sounds yum! Thank you for writing 🙂
An excellent nut roast. I cooked it exactly as the recipe stated and it was really yum, all the children loved it. Also I’m a little smug as it came out the oven like a masterpiece.
Haha and well you should be! That’s awsome to hear 😀 😀
First ever nut roast, I wanted to make one rather than buy one for my Christmas lunch, easy recipe and absolutely loving it, will definitely make again
Ah yes, it’s a great one! Thanks for the feedback and enjoy your holiday!
Hi! Looking for a substitute for the peanuts as we accidentally ate them, forgetting they were for this recipe! I have sunflower seeds, pine nuts, almonds, macadamia if any of them would work? THank you!
Hi Jane! Doh’! I can very well picture a 50/50 mix of almonds and sunflower seeds. Not sure about the macadamia and pine nuts.
Good luck! I’m sure it’s fine though 🙂
perfect! Very easy to make and the nicest we have tasted. Used walnuts and roasted cashews.
Nice one Mel! Good choices. Really glad you enjoyed it and thanks for writing!
This looks amazing Can I just ask, do you need to toast the wholegrain bread before you add it so its dry and easy to crumble?
Hi Angie, no, toasting is not necessary! Just rip or chop into tiny pieces. However you can use older/harder bread that breaks easily. You can also give the bread a quick whizz in a blender to get it nice and small 🙂
My son wanted to try a Christmas meal (Christmas isn’t the norm in our house), so I have now made my first ever (early) Christmas meal. I made this nut loaf and it was very easy with a nice crust. Tasted lovely with some vegetarian gravy and roast vegetables. Thank you for the recipe.
So good to hear, Hannah!! Thank you for sharing this, really glad the roast turned out well! :-))