Parsnip, cranberry & chestnut loaf

Parsnip, cranberry & chestnut loaf

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(28 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 1 hr, 30 mins


Serves 4 - 6
A modern take on the nut loaf, this makes a great vegetarian centrepiece for Christmas Day or a special dinner

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian


  • kcal819
  • fat36g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs117g
  • sugars71g
  • fibre15g
  • protein14g
  • salt0.86g
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  • 4 tbsp butter, plus a little extra for greasing



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 3 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 15g pack sage, 6 leaves reserved, rest shredded



    Popular in both Italian and British cookery, sage has long, grey-green leaves with a slightly…

  • 200g pack cooked chestnut



    'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...' that kitsch old Nat King Cole song perfectly…

  • 100g walnut



    Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're…

  • 100g breadcrumb
  • ½ tsp mace
  • 1 egg, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 500g cranberry


    A tart, ruby-red coloured berry which grows wild on shrubs throughout northern Europe and North…

  • 175g caster sugar
  • 550g parsnip, choose long, thin ones if you can, peeled then halved lengthways



    The fact that the parsnip is a member of the carrot family comes as no surprise - it looks just…

  • 1 tbsp honey



    Honey is made by bees from the nectar they collect from flowers. Viscous and fragrant, it's…


  1. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large non-stick pan, add the onions and gently cook for 10-15 mins until very soft. Stir in the sage for 1 min, then tip into a large mixing bowl. Pulse the chestnuts in a food processor until chopped into small bits, then tip these into the bowl with the onions and repeat with the walnuts. Now add the breadcrumbs, mace, beaten egg, 1 tsp salt and some pepper and mix everything together well.

  2. Tip the cranberries and sugar into a pan and simmer for about 8-10 mins over a high heat. The sugar will melt and cranberries will pop and become saucy – keep bubbling until sticky. Set aside to cool. Grease a 900g loaf tin, line with a long strip of baking parchment that covers the bottom and two ends, then grease this as well.

  3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Throw in the parsnips and boil for 3½ mins. Drain well. From the thinner ends, cut off lengths of parsnip that fit widthways across the bottom of your loaf tin. Keep going until you have enough to snugly line the base of the tin. Roughly chop all leftover parsnip and mix into the nut mixture.

  4. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Mix the parsnip lengths with 1 more tbsp butter and the honey to coat, then fit them into the tin. Top with ¹/³ of the nut mixture – pack it down well and smooth the surface. Spread ¹/³ of the cranberry sauce on top, leaving a small gap around the edges. Top with the remaining nut mixture and pack down as before. The loaf can be made up to 24 hrs ahead, then covered and chilled, before continuing. Cover with foil then bake for 1 hr.

  5. To serve, melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter in a small pan and sizzle the reserved sage leaves for a minute. Splash water into the remaining cooked cranberries until saucy. Loosen around the sides of the loaf with a round-bladed knife if you need, then turn out. Drizzle with the sage butter and leaves. Serve in slices with extra cranberry sauce.

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Comments (35)

theodopolus's picture

Vegan version: replace butter with olive oil.
Instead of using egg as a binding agent simply make sure parsnip added to mix is quite well cooked, then vigorously mush everything together with your hands by taking handfuls and squeezing so the mixture comes out between your fingers. You may want to add more olive oil than the 1tbsp recommended of butter to keep things moist. I added about 3 and it was really nice and moist.
This is similar to how you make burgers without binding agent by just sqeezing the meat between your fingers.
Make sure you pack the mixture down well into the loaf and I'd advise not removing the foil at all or it will dry out.
It should come out of the tin fine but will be difficult to slice cleanly- your guests will have to accept a slightly crumbly portion.

littlemissmaccas's picture

Love this made it last Christmas and it was perfect. I did add an extra egg, thank you for the tip and it worked so well. I am doing it again for this Christmas and want to do it again for family in January. Can anyone tell me if they have tried freezing it and how it comes out? Would be easier to make both at the same time and freeze one if I can.

winicat1's picture

I agree with previous posts that this needed a bit more egg to bind. Made mine in a round tin and laid parsnip into cart wheel pattern. This also meant it was thinner which helped it t hold shape. Very effective and delicious!

grandmagrandad's picture

had this for xmas lunch - fabulous. will have this one again anyime. it was even great cold. lasted us three days. very economical for a xmas lunch. served with all the usual trimmings apart from sausages. added cranberry sauce with hazel nut and cranberry stuffing on the side. bliss for any veggie thank you for this recipe.

masterofnothing's picture

Oops! I forgot to give this recipe 5 Stars!!

masterofnothing's picture

Excellent! My vegetarian friends really loved this and are asking for the recipe!

wizzinn's picture

Can you freeze this ? sounds lovely want make it before I could. Thank you.

delilahrocks's picture

Can this be frozen effectively, do you think? Or how long would it keep for?

grandmagrandad's picture

looks like a posssibility for my daughter to cook for her veggie parents on xmas day

maiowbird's picture

Super tasty and oh so Christmassy!

We made a couple of alterations though; we added 2 eggs (thanks, Giddy Goose), 60g of breadcrumbs and some chestnut mushrooms. We also roasted (rather than boiled) the parsnips, with some honey which gave them a lovely colour. We'll use slightly less Cranberries next time though as even 1/3 seemed quite overpowering. We cooked it in foil for an hour and then uncovered for about 10-15 mins and it held its shape perfectly.

We're definitely making this for Christmas dinner with the carnivorous in-laws, delicious! ^_____^

jemsecrets's picture

I was a relatively new vegetarian this time last year and as christmas rolled around i was wondering if it would be as good without all the traditional dishes I was used to. My family were also out to tempt me from my hippy ways and made sure all my old favorites were on the table. So I retaliated with this loaf... It took ages as i weighed and checked and finely chopped obsessively, but it was so worth it!! I only got one piece, my family devoured it!!! There was a bit left over that didn't fit the loaf pan and I baked this the next day like a stuffing, and it was just as excellent! This will be a new tradition on the table! One up for the veggies! ;)

janerichardson's picture

Disappointed. Made it as veggie option for Christmas (for me and mum-in-law). Texture wasn't good, so it fell apart when served (I added extra egg and some stock as in a very similar recipe I've had success with before). Also the parsnips on top looked pale and unappetising, not browned. Leftovers served cold on boxing day were better - it held together well.

tracyanddella's picture

Made this dish exactly as recipe stated, as a practice for Christmas Day. It came out exactly as shown and was delicious. Will be making this on Christmas day. Thanks

giddy-goose's picture

I did a half portion test which was quite easy to prepare. Made it the day before as suggested in the recipe and baked it next day. It didn't hold its shape well and partly collapsed so didn't look like the recipe picture. Tasted good however so next time - for my siter in law's Christmas Day lunch I will adapt it by adding more egg to the mixture and maybe some mushrooms in the nut mixture to give extra moisture. Apart from that- another vege winner - cheers


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