Croustade for Veganuary

North Devon Gazette

Vanessa Ebdon from Marshford Organic Foods:

January is almost over and the memories of Christmas are fading fast.

What a weird one it was! It seemed to be split between households full of food with suddenly no visitors and unexpectedly stay at home households with no food!

If you still have left over root vegetables lurking somewhere - and of course, the Christmas nuts - then this is the recipe for you.

This is a vegan version - for Veganuary - but if you also have cheese to use up, it works just as well... grate a little both into the crumb and on to sprinkle on top.

This is what I call a thinking-outside-the-box vegan recipe where the protein element forms an integral part of the dish in the crumb – not the usual meat substitute and three veg!

Serve with a jacket potato, home-made tomato sauce - tomatoes from a can is fine - and a green salad. You will need a 23cm flan tin or four x 13cm ones.

Nut croustade with roasted winter veg (serves four)

Ingredients

For the Croustade

155g breadcrumbs freshly made from two-three day-old bread

125g of mixed nuts broken into crumbs in a processor

50g coconut fat

1tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

For the topping

650g mixed root vegetables (carrot, parsnip, celeriac, squash and5 sweet potato are all good)

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

a few sprigs of sage or thyme

1medium leek (about 85 g) cleaned and cut into 1 cm pieces

1½ tablespoons cornflour

250ml non dairy milk

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

an extra slug of olive oil

To garnish

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

To make

Set the oven to 195ºC.

Wash the root vegetables and peel where necessary, you should have about 520g.

Blanch the carrots in a pan of boiling water for about two minutes as they will take longer to cook.

Cut all the roots into chunks about 1 cm and put them in an ovenproof tray, sprinkle with the garlic, herbs and 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Turn the veg in the oil and roast in the oven for about 35 minutes, until the are soft and beginning to caramelise.

While the veg are roasting, make the croustade.

Rub the coconut fat into the breadcrumbs with your fingers and when incorporated, mix in the other ingredients.

Reserve about one third of the mixture and tip the remaining two thirds into the flan tin, pressing down to form an even layer.

Bake for 20 minutes on a shelf under the vegetables, remove from the oven and set aside.

Sauté the leeks in the remaining olive oil on a low heat until they are soft.

Mix the cornflour in a mug with a little of the non dairy milk to form a paste, then incorporate the rest of the liquid.

Pour this into the pan with the leeks and stir continuously until it has thickened.

Season with the salt and pepper to taste.

All these steps can be done up to a day in advance and refrigerated until needed.

To assemble, fold the roasted veg into the leek sauce and spread over the base.

Sprinkle with the remaining third of the croustade mix, leaving it loose on top and sprinkle with the nutritional yeast flakes and the extra olive oil.

Bake in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden.

To make the garnish, mix the olive oil, lemon juice and chopped parsley together.

Serve this with the croustade.

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