If you’re looking for a vegan or vegetarian Christmas dinner then look no further. This parsnip, chestnut and sage wreath is the perfect centrepiece for your roast dinner – at Christmas or indeed any other time of year. It’s like a classic nut roast but better – and using a ring shaped tin makes it look really Christmassy.
If you haven’t used chia seeds before you’ll find that they make a great egg substitute. This is the first time I’ve used them and I couldn’t believe the results. I have been put off buying them because they are really expensive in the supermarket but I saw a big bag for £1.99 in my local health food shop so I picked it up and started to experiment. To make them into an egg replacer you need to grind them. I found it easiest to either grind these in my pestle and mortar (although this is fairly labour intensive) or in a tall jug with a hand held stick blender rather than the food processor because they are so small. A spice grinder would probably do the job beautifully but I don’t have one. Once ground you simply add water and you have a sticky, gloopy mixture that is a perfect egg replacer.
Here’s how to make parsnip, chestnut and sage wreath:
- 400g parsnips
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 6 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 6 sage leaves, chopped
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 180g cooked chestnuts, crumbled or chopped
- 125g ground almonds
- Small handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp olive oil
- chopped sage leaves
- 40g wholemeal breadcrumbs
- 20g oats
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6. Grease a 20cm ring tin or plain savarin mould. (You could use a standard loaf tin but you may need to adjust the cooking time.)
- Peel and chop your parsnips and steam (or boil) them until soft. Mash.
- While the parsnips are cooking grind your chia seeds to a powder in a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar. Add the 6 tbsp water and stir until you have a gloopy paste that's a bit like glue. Set aside.
- Heat your olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onions until soft stirring often. Add the garlic, sage and nutmeg and continue cooking for a moment or two.
- Stir through the remaining ingredients, including your chia paste and parsnips. Warm through and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to your prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes check and cover with foil if it's getting too brown.
- Allow to cool in the tin for five minutes then pop a plate over the top, carefully invert and the wreath should slide out. If it's a little stubborn turn it back over, run a knife around the sides and try again.
- If making the oaty topping, just before serving heat the olive oil in a small frying pan, add the sage leaves and fry until going crispy. Add the breadcrumbs and oats and stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes then sprinkle over the top.
- Serve with roast potatoes, veggies and a vegan onion gravy.