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.
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
For the topping (optional)
1 tsp olive oil
chopped sage leaves
40g wholemeal breadcrumbs
1. 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.)
2. Peel and chop your parsnips and steam (or boil) them until soft. Mash.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Stir through the remaining ingredients, including your chia paste and parsnips. Warm through and season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Transfer to your prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes check and cover with foil if it’s getting too brown.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Serve with roast potatoes, veggies and a vegan onion gravy.
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