Are you still looking for a vegan main dish for your Christmas dinner? Search no longer and make this simple Christmas nut roast! It’s made with lentils, nuts and mushrooms (no chestnuts) and comes together in a food processor. This famous nut roast recipe is vegan and gluten-free to please everyone at the table (including vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers)!
What is a vegetarian nut roast?
Nut roast is a vegan or vegetarian meatloaf alternative made with nuts, grains, vegetables, broth and seasonings. It is baked in a loaf pan and served as slices. It is packed with nutty, earthy flavors that go really well with other vegetarian Christmas side dishes, such as my maple-roasted Brussels sprouts. The texture of a perfect nut roast is relatively soft and moist but thick enough to be sliced.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- This easy vegan nut roast recipe is allergen-friendly. It is perfect if you're hosting vegans, vegetarians or people with gluten sensitivity during the holidays.
- It's meat-free but SO DAMN GOOD. This specific nut loaf is so tasty and flavorful that even meat-eaters asked for a second round (especially when served with the right sauce, such as a cranberry sauce or this vegan gravy).
- Nut roasts are festive and look fancy. They are perfect for the holiday season and make a spectacular main dish on Christmas day or Thanksgiving. You can however also serve nut roasts as an alternative to a traditional Sunday roast or meatloaf.
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Nuts are the main ingredient of this vegan roast. You can mix them yourself or simply buy a a mix of unsalted nuts at the grocery store.
- Canned brown lentils help bind to the roast while adding moisture. I use canned lentils because they are really convenient, but cooked red lentils would work, too.
- Gluten-free oats and flax seeds hold the loaf together and thicken the mix to prevent it from being too wet. I like using oats as an alternative to bread crumbs to keep this nut roast gluten-free.
- Vegetables, including onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms provide texture and make this gluten-free nut roast super aromatic. You can use a yellow or red onion for this recipe. Feel free to use the type of mushrooms you want. I recommend white or chestnut mushrooms.
- Vegetable stock is used for added flavor and to keep the loaf moist while it’s cooking.
- Spices such as garlic powder, dried thyme and nutmeg add extra flavor. Feel free to add all-spice and cinnamon for a more festive touch.
You can brush the nut roast with a glaze once it's cooked if you'd like. To do so, you'll need a mix of ketchup, balsamic vinegar (or soy sauce) and maple syrup (or date syrup).
Tips to make the perfect nut roast
- Combine everything in a large bowl, not your food processor. If you were to blend everything at once, the nut roast would lack crunch. It is much easier to control the texture of the roast by blending the nuts, veggies, and lentils separately and combining them in a mixing bowl.
- Taste the mixture before baking. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Use a 9 x 5 inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan. Make sure the pan is not to wide to prevent the slices from being really short.
- Preferably make the lentil nut roast the day before (or at least 2 hours ahead of time) and reheat it before serving. This allows the roast to set and firm up and prevents crumbly slices when cutting it.
- Let it cool down before slicing. It's best to let it cool down completely and reheat the slice. If you didn’t make the loaf ahead of time, leave it uncovered on the countertop for 15 minutes once you take it out of the oven.
- Use a bread knife to cut the nut roast.
Step-by-step with pictures
Prepare the nut and lentil mixture
STEP 1: Crush the nuts. Add the mixed nuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until the nuts have the size of peas. You don’t want to grind them too finely. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
STEP 2: Add the lentils, oats, whole flax seeds (no need to make flax eggs), vegetable broth and spices to the food processor. Add a pinch of salt if you're using unsalted broth.
STEP 3: Blend. The mixture doesn't have to be perfectly smooth. Small pieces will add texture to your Christmas nut roast.
STEP 4: Pour the lentil mixture into the mixing bowl with the nuts.
STEP 5: Combine. You should obtain a thick, slightly wet mixture. Set it aside while you sauté the vegetables.
Cook the vegetables and bake the nut roast
STEP 6: Mince the onion and the carrots. Peel and cut them into chunks. Add them to the food processor fitted with an S-blade and blend until they turn into relatively small pieces. This will save you a lot of time. Transfer them to a large frying pan with a little olive oil.
STEP 7: Chop the celery and the mushrooms in the food processor. Add them to the pan with the carrots and onions.
STEP 8: Heat the pan and sauté the vegetables for 5 to 7 minutes over medium-high heat. Stir regularly to prevent them from burning.
STEP 9: Combine. Add the cooked vegetables to the mixing bowl with the nut mixture. Give it a good mix.
STEP 10: Spoon the mixture into a prepared loaf tin that you previously greased and lined with parchment paper. Flatten the nut roast mix with a spatula or the back of a spoon until it's even.
STEP 11: Bake the loaf for 50 minutes at 350°F (180°C). The cooking time is a critical factor to obtain a moist nut roast that is easy to slice but not too dry. If it’s undercooked it will be soggy or mushy and if it’s overcooked it will be extremely dry.
Watch the video!
What to serve with nut roast
I recommend serving the roast with a great sauce. This can be a traditional cranberry sauce, a red wine sauce, or a vegan mushroom gravy.
On the side, you can serve boiled or crispy potatoes and some roasted seasonal or root vegetables. I like caesar roasted Brussels sprouts, maple-caramelized Brussels sprouts or roasted Jerusalem artichokes.
Storage and reheating tips
If you have nut roast leftovers or if you made the roast ahead of time, you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can store individual slices in an air-tight container or wrap the whole nut roast tightly in cling film.
Cooked nut roast can be frozen for up to 3 months. You can freeze individual slices that were wrapped in cling film to prevent freezer burn. Alternatively, you can freeze the whole nut roast in the pan you plan to reheat it in. If doing that, let it defrost completely (preferably in the fridge overnight) and warm it up in a preheated oven at 350°F (180°)C.
To reheat a nut roast, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Slice the roast and place the slices on a baking sheet. Cover them with aluminum foil and reheat them for 10 to 12 minutes until warm.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, it is actually recommended to make vegan nut roast ahead of time. The nut roast continues to firm up as it cools down and can be sliced more easily. This prevents crumbly slices that fall apart. If you're making nut roast for Christmas, simply prepare it in the morning and reheat it in the oven shortly before serving.
Yes, nut roast can definitely be eaten cold and tastes delicious.
The nut roast may crumble and fall apart if the mixture wasn't pressed firmly into the pan or if it is overcooked. Make sure to use a 9x5 inch loaf pan. If you use a longer or wider pan, the loaf will be less high and may cook too quickly. You can also try reducing the cooking time by 5 minutes.
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Christmas Nut Roast (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
- Food processor or food chopper
- Large mixing bowl
- Pan or skillet
- 9x5 inch loaf pan
For the veggies
- 1 small onion
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 celery sticks
- 8 ounces (250 g) mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the nut roast
For the glaze (optional)
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or gluten-free soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or date syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350°F fan (180°C).
- Add the nuts to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse several times until they are roughly chopped. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
- Drain the canned lentils. Add the lentils, oats, flax seeds, vegetable broth, garlic powder, nutmeg and thyme to your food processor. Blend until combined. It doesn't have to be perfectly smooth. Add it to the mixing bowl with the nuts and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Wash the vegetables. Peel the onion and the carrots. Roughly cut all the veggies into pieces that fit into your food processor or food chopper.
- Mince the onion and the carrots in your food processor until you get relatively small pieces (see step-by-step pictures). Add them to a pan with oilve oil. Then, chop the celery and the mushrooms and add them to the pan.
- Sauté the vegetables over medium-high heat for 5 minutes while stirring continuously.
- Add the sautéed vegetables to the mixing bowl with the nut roast mixture. Stir until everything is well mixed. Transfer to a 9x5 loaf pan that you greased and lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the nut roast for 50 minutes on the lowest rack of your oven.
- If you're making the glaze, combine the ketchup, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Brush it onto the nut roast when it comes out of the oven.
- Let the nut roast cool down for 15 minutes before lifting it out of the loaf pan. Preferably wait at least 2 hours before slicing the roast. You can easily make it in the morning or the day before. To serve, reheat the sliced nut roast at 350°F (180°C) for 10 to 12 minutes.
More vegan Christmas recipes
If you're looking for inspiration for your vegan Christmas dinner (appetizers, starter, main dishes, sides dishes and desserts), check out our favorite Christmas recipes. This post also includes 2 full menus to make during the holidays.
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