Gaz Oakley: A Vegan Christmas with all the trimmings

This is Christmas, all wrapped up… literally! The Christmassy flavours we all love are in this roast ‘beef’ Wellington. It’s so succulent and flavoursome.

The Ultimate Christmas Roast

Serves 6.

Cooks in 150 minutes.

Difficulty: 7/10


For the ‘beef’ – wet ingredients:

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 leek, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cracked black pepper

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of allspice

Pinch of paprika

Pinch of ground nutmeg

1 tbsp dried sage

2 tsp dried rosemary

30g dried cranberries

50g dried apricots

100g peeled and cooked chestnuts

240ml cider, from a 500ml bottle

240ml vegetable stock

1 tbsp miso paste

For the ‘beef’ – dry ingredients:

250g vital wheat gluten

3 tbsp chickpea flour

For the spice rub:

1 tsp cayenne

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp dried sage

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp dried tarragon

For roasting:

Remaining 260ml cider

1 orange

500ml vegetable stock

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

Handful of fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs

1 tbsp miso paste

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 tbsp cranberry and orange sauce (or just cranberry)

320g block ready-made vegan puff pastry

For the glaze:

3 tbsp maple syrup

3 tbsp non-dairy milk

4 tbsp vegetable oil

For the gravy:

2 tbsp cornflour

4 tbsp water


1. Make the ‘meat’ dough. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion, leek, garlic, seasoning, spices and herbs for 2-3 minutes.

2. Meanwhile put the cranberries, apricots and chestnuts into a blender and blitz until they’re all a similar size. Add these to the frying pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes until everything has softened.

3. Pour in the cider, stock and miso paste. Stir together and allow the mixture to simmer for 2 minutes before turning the heat off.

4. Combine the dry ingredients. Once the wet mixture has cooled slightly, mix with the dry ingredients. It should form a nice dough. If your mix is wet, add a little more chickpea flour. Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead for 10 minutes. Leave to rest.

5. Preheat your oven to 170°C.

Combine the rub spices in a bowl. Shape the dough into a sausage 10cm in diameter.

6. Sprinkle the rub onto your work surface. Roll the dough in the rub. Roll the dough in a piece of muslin, twist the ends tightly, then tie each end with cook’s string to secure it. Place the wrapped dough into a deep baking tray together with the rest of the roasting ingredients and bake for 2 hours on the bottom shelf, turning over half way through to ensure it cooks evenly.

7. Once baked, lift the roast out of the tray, reserving the roasting liquid, leave to cool slightly, then remove the muslin. At this point you can either chill it in the fridge for up to 3 days or continue. If you are not cooking now, make the gravy (below) and keep in the fridge, then reheat.

8. An hour before you want to serve, roll out your pastry into a teatowel-sized rectangle around 3mm thick. Cut strips a third of the width of the pastry on each side, so you can cross them to make a lattice. Spread the cranberry and orange sauce over the roast, lift it into the centre of the pastry, wrap it up, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Combine the glaze ingredients in a bowl, then brush over the top of the pastry. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.

9. While the wellington is cooking, strain the roasting liquid from the baking tray through a sieve into a saucepan, pressing to squeeze out all the lovely juices. Place over a low heat and simmer for 10 minutes until you have a thick gravy. Mix the cornflour with the water and add it to the gravy whilst whisking until it thickens to your desired consistency. Remove from the oven, carve and serve with the rich gravy.


Sexy Sprouts

Sexy Sprouts by Gaz Oakley. Photo: Simon Smith


Even if you’re not usually a sprout lover, I promise you will love these. Topping them with my coconut “bacon” bits just takes them to the next level.

Serves 4.

Cooks in 25 minutes.

Difficulty: 2/10



500g Brussels sprouts, trimmed

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

200g vacuum-packed chestnuts, halved

1 tsp fennel seeds

Handful of dried cranberries

Zest of 1 lemon

Pinch of sea salt and pepper

For the coconut ‘bacon’ bits: 100g coconut flakes

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp coconut oil


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

2. First up, make the coconut ‘bacon’ bits. Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well to coat the coconut flakes. Spread them out evenly over the lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Stir the coconut on the tray a couple of times during cooking to avoid it burning (which it can easily do).

3. For the sprouts, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Gradually add the sprouts to the water, making sure the water keeps at a rolling boil, and cook until tender and a vibrant green colour, usually around 3-4 minutes. Once the sprouts are cooked, drain and place them onto a tray lined with kitchen paper to soak up excess water if cooking straight away. Alternatively, you can chill the sprouts in the fridge at this stage until you’re ready to flavour them up just before serving.

4. Before serving, heat the rapeseed oil in a large wok over a high heat. Add the sprouts and sauté them for 2 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and continue to cook over a high heat, stirring often, for 3 more minutes. A little colour on the sprouts adds great flavour.

5. Once your sprouts are nicely coloured, throw in a handful of coconut “bacon”, saving the rest to sprinkle on top once you’ve dished up.

Gaz’s Best Ever Vegan Roasties

Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside… I love making (and eating!) these. Shaking them in the pan roughs up the edges – vital for crispiness.

Serves 6.

Cooks in 55 minutes.

Difficulty: 2/10

Gluten-free option (if gluten-free flour is used).


1kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper, peeled

4 tbsp plain flour (or a gluten-free flour)

4 tbsp rapeseed oil

4 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cracked black pepper

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

3 shallots, peeled and quartered

4 garlic cloves


1. First up, preheat your oven to 180°C. Cut your potatoes into similar-sized pieces, pop them into a large saucepan filled with water and add a pinch of salt.

2. Cover the saucepan and place it over a high heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the potatoes just start to soften on the outsides.

3. Tip the parboiled potatoes into a colander to drain, then return them to the saucepan to steam dry for a few minutes before sprinkling over the flour. Place the lid back on the saucepan and give the pan a good shake for 30 seconds. This creates the rough edges on the potatoes which is key to getting crispy roasties.

4. Pour the oils into a deep-sided, non-stick, metal baking tray and set on your hob over a very low heat. Add the potatoes before it gets hot and allow the potatoes to colour a little bit, turning them often, for around 3 minutes. Season the potatoes, and add the rosemary, shallots and garlic to the tray. Once they are lightly golden, transfer the tray to the oven for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are crispy and golden. I usually turn my roasties half way through cooking.

Extracted from Vegan Christmas by Gaz Oakley, published by Quadrille at €21. Photography © Simon Smith

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