Every year as Christmas approaches I debate with myself whether to have some kind of meat-free “centrepiece” with my Christmas dinner or not. Since I’m the only veggie in my family I often go with the not option, mainly to avoid having more leftovers than I know what to do with. Instead I have all of the veggies along with maybe a few vegan pigs in blankets leftover from our Christmas eve buffet. However, after experimenting a little, I think I might have found the perfect vegan Christmas dinner option in this Maple Parsnip and Chestnut Wellington.
To make this dish I roasted chopped parsnips, chestnuts and red onion together then wrapped them in puff pastry. Shop-bought puff pastry is usually coincidentally vegan and saves a whole lot of time so that’s what I’ve used – it’s one ingredient I think there’s no shame in buying ready-made! To take this up a notch and really bring out the natural sweetness in the vegetables, I added a little light maple syrup part of the way through roasting them.
To serve alongside the maple parsnip and chestnut wellington, I popped a few mushrooms and a red pepper into a separate dish with a little olive oil then roasted them alongside the wellington as it was baking. I also whipped up some vegan gravy to pour over – something I’d highly recommend whether you’re eating this with your Christmas dinner or at any other time!
I only recently learnt that there is more than one type of maple syrup. Medium syrup is the one we’re most likely to be familiar with and its pronounced maple flavour makes it perfect for drizzling over many a dessert (like vegan waffles!). However, depending upon when in the season the syrup is harvested, maple syrup can range from extra light with a very delicate, sweet flavour that’s collected at the very beginning to the richer, flavourful amber maple syrup that is last to be harvested. For this recipe I used light maple syrup as its pure delicate taste lends itself perfectly to savoury dishes.
These little samples came from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, who work to protect the working standards of the small businesses who make up Quebec’s maple producers and are responsible for producing a whopping 71% of the world’s pure maple syrup. I’m looking forward to experimenting with the other varieties so watch this space!
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 4 parsnips, chopped into small cubes
- 2 red onions, chopped
- 200g peeled chestnuts, chopped
- 2tbsp light maple syrup
- ¼tsp dried rosemary
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- One large sheet ready rolled puff pastry
- 1tbsp almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas Mark 6.
- Pour the oil onto a large baking tray and place in the oven for two minutes. Now add the parsnips and red onions onto the tray, mix to coat them fully in the oil and return the baking tray to the oven. Roast for around thirty minutes until the parsnips have softened. If you have using uncooked chestnuts, you should add them now too; if you are using pre-cooked chestnuts then wait for twenty minutes before adding.
- At the twenty minute mark, add the maple syrup, black pepper and rosemary to the roasting vegetables. Mix to coat evenly. If you are using pre-cooked chestnuts, add them too.
- Unroll the sheet of puff pastry onto a clean baking tray. Keeping the middle third in tact, diagonally slice the outer thirds in 1-2cm thick strips. Remove the end strips from either sides - you can use these offcuts to create decorations if you like, such as the little trees here!
- Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and spread evenly along the centre third of the pastry. Starting at one end, wrap the strips of pastry from alternating sides up and over the filling until the whole thing is wrapped - tuck in the pastry at either end to secure. Top with the cut out trees.
- Brush the top with the milk and place in the oven. Bake for around twenty to twenty-five minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and slice to serve.
Find more last-minute vegan Christmas recipes here! What’s going to be on your plate this year?