To start, soak the cashews in freshly boiled water and set them aside in a small bowl to soften.
Prep the veg by finely chopping the onion, carrots, celery and leeks.
Add a big glug of olive oil to a large saucepan and, once the pan is hot, start sweating down the onion, celery and carrots over a medium heat. Season well with salt and pepper. Keep stirring so they don’t catch on the bottom and let them cook down for 10 minutes or so until they start to soften and become translucent. Then add the leeks, turn down the heat to a low-medium and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile finely chop the fresh herbs, taking the thyme and rosemary leaves away from any woody stalks before finely chopping these along with the sage leaves. Add them to the pan along with a heaped teaspoon of French mustard. Crumble in a stock cube and add the chestnuts and cranberries and give it all a good mix. If you’re happy that the vegetables are soft and cooked through, you can turn off the heat at this point and transfer the mixture to a large mixture bowl.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan)/400°F (350°F fan)/gas mark 6 (gas mark 4 fan).
In a food processor, add the drained cashews along with a dash of olive oil and blend for 1-2 minutes until the cashews have broken down and start to come together. You should have a chunky nut butter texture. This will be a delicious binder in the nut roast. Next, add the rest of the mixed nuts to the blender and pulse all the nuts together until you have a roughly chopped nut mixture. You don’t need to go as far as you did with the cashews – you want small nut pieces – but a bit of a variety will add lots of different textures to the nut roast.
Back to the mixing bowl, add in the breadcrumbs – you can make these yourself in a food processor by simply blending a couple of slices of bread (weigh them first to ensure you have the right amount). Add the breadcrumbs to the nut mixture. Mix well and check the seasoning, add some extra salt and pepper if you feel it needs it. The mixture should be quite sticky and easy to bind together. If it’s overly dry, add a splash of oat milk, if it’s too wet, add an extra 50 g of breadcrumbs.
Once the mixture is well combined, add it spoon by spoon into a lined 3 lb loaf tin, pressing it down well into all the corners so it becomes a compact mixture. Cover the top with a small piece of foil and bake in the oven for around an hour, removing the foil after 45 minutes. It should be cooked through and quite firm to the touch.
Serve with your favourite Christmas sides. We recommend roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sprouts and lots of gravy! This makes excellent sandwich leftovers for the next day with a dollop of cranberry sauce.
The best part about this Nut Roast is you can prepare it ahead of time and just pop it in the oven when your guests arrive on Christmas Day!