During Christmas time we tend to consume more meat than any other time during the year. However, for those of our readers that are wary of the impact this has on our planet and have opted for a more vegetarian/vegan-friendly Christmas, this shouldn’t mean you miss out on any of the festivities. No need to make a meal out of side dishes this year. Below is a recipe for a delicious vegan version of the traditional beef wellington, served in so many homes during this time of the year. Hopefully it will turn out so good that even your vegetable-sceptic aunt and uncle will want to try a slice!
Instead of the traditional fillet steak, wrapped in a layer of pâté de foie gras, this variation is full of vegetable and nut goodness: a blend of mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, cashews, chestnuts and couscous. It takes about an hour and a half to make but it’s worth the effort! It goes really well with some gravy or cranberry sauce as a centrepiece on the Christmas table.
Measurements used are to feed 3 people*
1 vegan puff pastry sheet
2 cloves garlic
2 small red onions (or 1 large)
½ large parsnip
1 medium carrot
100g oyster mushroom (or any other kind you have – oyster mushrooms tend to be meatier)
50g couscous (cooked)
75g chestnuts (cooked) – only add if you like the taste of chestnuts, although they do add a great Christmassy taste to the dish
100g cashews (roasted)
1tbsp soy sauce
1tsp salt and pepper
*I’m the only vegan in the house hence the small amount; however, the recipe can easily be doubled or adjusted to your needs.
- Preheat oven to 180-200°C
- Prepare the vegetables and set aside: Chop the onions; mince the garlic; chop the mushrooms into strips; grate the carrot and parsnip; chop the roasted cashews and chestnuts into small pieces.
- Heat your pan on a high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, reduce to medium-high heat and add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes (until golden). If they start sticking to the pan, add a splash of water to deglaze the pan.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for around 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. When you notice the mushrooms have expelled most of their water and reduced in size, add the soy sauce. Stir all the contents to coat everything and cook for a further few minutes.
- Add the grated carrot and parsnip to the pan, alongside the couscous (cooked according to the packet’s instructions), roasted cashews and chestnuts (if using). Season with salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Prepare the herbs: Chop a small amount of sage and pick the thyme off its stalk.
- Add the herbs to the other ingredients and mix well. Cook for a further couple of minutes.
- Move the pan off the heat and allow the mixture to cool down slightly.
To prepare the wellington:
You can either shape the mixture into a log, wrap it in foil or baking paper and allow to cool in the fridge for a while. This will help the wellington keep its shape better and the end result will look more like the traditional dish. This does add an hour or so of preparation time to the recipe, so alternatively you can start filling the pastry sheet straightaway.
- Slightly flour your surface, open the pastry sheet and, using a rolling pin, stretch it out slightly (try buying a rectangular-shaped sheet, otherwise try and shape it that way yourself).
- Set the sheet inside the oven dish you will be cooking the wellington in and start spooning your mixture onto the centre. Do leave a good amount of empty pastry on each side.
- Wrap the filling tightly by bringing both sides on top of the mixture and press the two edges together gently.
- Flip the wellington over to hide the seam and brush all over it with a little bit of your non-dairy milk of choice, to make sure it crisps up nicely in the oven.
- With a knife, score the wellington gently (make shallow slits) which allows the steam to be released while it’s baking.
- Add any decorative touches on the top – I attempted a Christmas tree.
- Bake in the oven for around 35 minutes, or until golden.
- Serve and enjoy with a side of roast potatoes.
About the author: Aidan W. Buttigieg is Deputy Managing Editor of WILD and is in his third year of studying English Literature at the University of York. He enjoys cooking vegan recipes in his spare time.
All image credits: Aidan W. Buttigieg