Vegan Festive Cranberry & Chestnut Turkey Roll Recipe

 I’ve never cooked a nut roast in my life…how about a Vegan Festive Cranberry & Chestnut Turkey Roll instead?

Christmas is a time for celebration and a way of following traditions that have been passed down through family generations, from when to put your Christmas tree up to what food you are going to prepare and when and who you share this with.

Food as you can imagine has always been the main event in our household, coming from a family with not just professional backgrounds in cooking, such as Chef Ru, but also from a family home cook perspective.  

We are all huge foodies and embrace this planning and preparation. I can often be found lurking in the magazine aisles waiting for the Christmas Editions of BBC Good Food, Delicious and Good Housekeeping magazines from as early as October then spending hours looking at reinventions of classic bakes and savoury dishes but then coming back to our family favourites which have evolved over time.

Cooking for me has always been a way of showing just how much you love and care for those around you. And no it doesn’t need to be super complicated, it can be the simplest supper ever, but when prepared with the freshest of ingredients and a little time, can elevate this to a feast for kings!

Can Christmas Dinner Be Vegan?

Christmas dinner is no exception, supermarkets have started early. Lots of glossy brochures and catalogues showing us culinary delights, ready prepared, ready to order and ready to eat. Price wars are in place and yet the cost of food is still rising...not on a vegan diet I may add, but let me save this for another time.

What if you want to prepare the food yourself, whether for that family bonding experience or whether out of budget necessity. My children were taught from a young age how to prepare basic vegetables, make a gorgeous gravy and shape stuffing balls. 

Christmas Eve would be spent in the kitchen where all of us had our tasks to do with the obligatory Christmas Carols playing in the background, twee I know, but true.

These traditions are now starting to change where there is often a family member or friend who has a dietary allergy or shock horror decided to be vegan! So over to Vegan Christmas Dinner ideas.

Well I am happy to assure you that there are a few simple cooking adjustments, and I will hold my hands up and say I have never cooked a nut roast in my life and don’t intend to start now!

A nut roast conjures up the old stigma of ticking a box when feeding a vegan/vegetarian family member. I have eaten my fair share and yet to find one that is not dry and crumbly and just leaves you somewhat lacking in that indulgent food kind of way.

Plant-based Replacements To The Traditional Christmas Dinner

Speaking from a personal point of view, having embraced a vegan diet we want to eat exactly the same as everybody else but just without animal products. It’s that simple.

We want the ‘faux’ turkey roast with stuffing, the truffle & rosemary roasties, the creamy mashed potatoes, the sprouts with jewels of cranberries & chestnuts, bubbling bread sauce and last but not least the thick rich and unctuous gravy.

Thankfully there are plant based butter replacements, milks and cream which now make switches easy and simple but what about the main event you cry? The crowning glory, if you excuse the pun.

Well there are so many recipes and options for perfect plant based Wellingtons and Pithiviers, cooked veggies encased in a rich pastry, out there but not to be cooked in our household!  We want the ‘faux’ turkey but in a healthy, non processed kind of way, and so after a few tweaks and trials this has become a firm family favourite. Even our traditional meat eating family say this tastes better than the real deal.  

Of course the best part after Christmas dinner is that final supper sandwich when your guests have gone home. A Vegan Christmas Dinner Round two but in a bread roll, slices of the faux turkey roll, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, I have even been known to add an odd roasted sprout...mmm delicious.
So why not have a go of making our lovely Festive Chestnut & Cranberry Vegan Turkey Roll, you can get ahead and freeze them but a word of warning...these are so delicious that EVERYONE will want some so make at least double like we do.


Festive Cranberry & Chestnut No Turkey Roll

(Makes two rolls)

Quantity:                 8

Preparation Time:  45 minutes

Cooking time:       1 hour


100g chestnut puree

180g cooked chestnuts, chopped

100g dried cranberries

1 onion, diced

125g breadcrumbs

100g oats

2 tbsp vegetable oil

15g fresh parsley, chopped

2 x 400g tins cannellini beans

1x 400g tin chickpeas

2 garlic cloves, crushed 

1 tsp dried thyme

3 tsp onion powder

3 tsp dried sage

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp salt

½ tsp white pepper

6 tbsp nutritional yeast

225g vital wheat gluten

5tbsp vegetable stock


To Serve



1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

¼ tsp liquid smoke (optional)

A pinch of salt


1. For the stuffing. Add the onion to a saucepan over a low heat, sprinkle with salt and sweat gently for 8-10 minutes until translucent. Mix the chestnuts, cranberries, breadcrumbs, oats and parsley in a large bowl then add the cooked onions.

2. For the vegan turkey roll. Place the cannellini beans, chickpeas, garlic, thyme, onion powder, sage, dijon mustard, salt and white pepper into a food processor and pulse together until you have a coarse paste. 

3. In a separate bowl add the vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast and stir. Then add the bean paste, fold in to combine adding a little bit of stock to create an even, pliable but not sticky dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly until slightly stretchy.  When the dough feels firm to touch, roll out into a rectangle about 2cm thick.

4. Place the stuffing down the centre of the rectangle, lightly wet the joining edges with water and then roll tightly together to form a cylinder, then wrap in clingfilm, securing at both ends, (Chef Ru calls this a ballotine however it will look like a Xmas cracker!)

5. Place your rolls into a pan of boiling water, and then simmer for around 1 hour, weighing them down with a plate to ensure they stay covered in water.

6. When cooked (they should feel hot & firm to touch), remove and cool slightly still keeping the rolls in the clingfilm, before glazing.  At this point you could leave to cool in the clingfilm, chill until required or freeze,  and then reheat in water again for about 20 minutes before ready for roasting.

7. To make the glaze. Mix all the glaze ingredients together (see ingredients list).

8. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, add a splash of vegetable oil and then add the roast.  Turn regularly to get an even colour and once brown all round, add the glaze and roll the roast in the pan until evenly coated.

9. When cooked, serve immediately.

For the full PDF Version with the method download this link.



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