Tis the season to check weather forecasts; not for whether it’ll snow, no, we instead wonder how high the thermometer will soar. Will it be a balmy 25-28’C with a gentle breeze or will we swelter with a heat wave, ‘a stinker’ as described by Australian bogans (which translated means, a day that’s so hot you stay inside with the aircon blasting). Just checking the weather prediction now, it’s said to be 18’C and a little windy for our island. I’m hoping it’ll warm up a bit so we can dine under the shady tree in the courtyard. If not, this vegan parsnip, quinoa and sage roast and my Mother’s vegan mock turkey with cranberry, walnut and apple stuffing (see recipes>summer) with a delicious onion and quince gravy will be eaten in the dining room with roast potatoes and a few summery salads. And maybe while the heater is purring, we’ll finish off the meal with a vegan fig and orange Christmas pudding with creamy warm cashew custard (see recipes>summer). Thinking, I might make a frozen vegan dessert too, as you can never be sure with fickle Mother Nature.
I cannot stress how easy this roast is. The only stress point is to make sure you mill the chia seeds in the blender just before you need to include them in the roast. And make sure you apply quite a bit of pressure on the mixture after spooning into the tin so the mixture doesn’t fall apart when slicing to serve. The gravy has a touch of sweetness with the quince jam adding a festive hint. You could also use cranberry jam.
· The most important health benefits of parsnips include their ability to lower the chances of developing diabetes, reduce cholesterol levels, and improve digestive processes. Parsnips also prevent depression, promote proper growth and development, strengthen the immune system, and lower blood pressure to protect the cardiovascular health.
· Quinoa is one of the world's most popular health foods. It’s gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fibre, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.
· The health benefits of sage include its ability to improve brain function, lower inflammation, prevent chronic diseases, boost the immune system, regulate digestion, alleviate skin conditions, strengthen the bones, slow the onset of cognitive disorders, and prevent diabetes.
CHICKPEA, QUINOA & SAGE ROAST
V, DF, GF
Makes 15 x 25 cm tin (6 x 10 inches)
400 gram tin organic chickpeas
½ cup red quinoa grain
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 medium sweet potato, finely chopped
1 parsnip, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tamari
3 tablespoons fresh sage, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sumac
½ cup walnuts
3 tablespoons chia seeds, milled in blender
8 sage leaves
Wash the quinoa grains and rinse. Bring the quinoa and 1¾ cups of water to boil and reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Take the saucepan off the heat and let sit with the lid on for 5 minutes. Fluff the grains with a fork and allow cool.
Preheat oven to 180’C/350’F/Gas Mark 4. On a medium heat in a large frypan, sauté the finely chopped onions until translucent. Add the celery, sweet potato and parsnip, and continue to cook until the celery is translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a minute. Take off the heat, and mix in tamari, sage and sumac. Roughly chop the walnuts and add to the mixture. Slightly mash the chickpeas. Combine the vegetable nut mixture with quinoa, mashed chickpeas and milled chia seeds, and stir to combine. Season with Himalayan salt and ground black pepper. Spoon the mixture into a loaf tin greased with coconut oil, and press the mixture down very firmly into the tin. Arrange sage leaves diagonally on the mixture and press. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake a further 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. To serve, gently remove from the tin and place on a platter. Serve with onion, sage and quince gravy.
ONION & QUINCE GRAVY
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons cornflour or flour
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari
2 teaspoons quince jam
1 cup vegetable stock
Saute onions and garlic until translucent. Reduce to low heat, add flour and stir to combine while cooking. Add the apple cider vinegar, stirring well to work out the lumps. Add the tamari, sage, quince jam and vegetable stock. Gently simmer to reduce and thicken for up to 15 minutes or longer. Remove from heat, strain through a colander. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for future use.