Parsnip, cranberry & chestnut loaf

Parsnip, cranberry & chestnut loaf

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(38 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


  • 4 tbsp butter, plus a little extra for greasing



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 3 onions, 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…

  • 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, questions and tips

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Susan Rollings's picture
Susan Rollings
21st Dec, 2019
I have made this for our last 3 Christmas meals. It is delicious and goes down well with vegetarians and meat eaters. I make it the day before and have it ready to put in the oven
22nd Dec, 2018
This will be the sixth year I have done it. Fab!!! My favourite nut roast since becoming a vegi.
Mo Steel's picture
Mo Steel
16th Dec, 2018
This has been our favourite Christmas vegetarian option for years now. It’s very special, and I always make more than one and freeze the rest. It freezes well.
8th Dec, 2018
Beautiful! turned out just like the photo and everyone commented on it. This is the 3rd time I've made it and it never disappoints.
30th Dec, 2016
The end result was very tasty, but it was very crumbly as mentioned previously, so didn't quite end up as the picture. It also took me much longer than 30 minutes to prepare.
9th Jan, 2016
This just didn't work for me at all, used all the tips in the comments but it just fell apart when serving it up. I had enough mixture for 2 so I cooked the next one uncovered to see if that might work better but it just went to a dark horrible mush. I did as someone suggested and had it as a pate with some crackers but that was about all it was fit for!
31st Dec, 2014
I've cooked this a few times now. It's always a hit and I am often asked for the recipe - no greater accolade! Highly recommended.
26th Dec, 2014
Looks and tastes fabulous! In a rush, I didn't follow the instructions properly and mixed the cranberry sauce in with the nuts & parsnips, so it didn't have the nice stripe when I cut into it, but it stayed together well and definitely no bitterness which is what the reviewer before me commented on , so maybe not such a bad thing
26th Dec, 2014
This was a hit! I took the advice and added an extra egg, sprayed the loaf pan, and used parchment paper to cover the bottom and all sides, and it stuck together perfectly and looked beautiful. I only used one onion because it was huge. I also roasted my own chestnuts, which apparently you have to really watch them. I recommend taking them out a couple minutes after you start to smell the aroma as over half of mine burned (but the wonderful aroma had just gone away a couple minutes before). I didn't have any more, so I added cashews to make up for it, and it was delicious. I also sliced my parsnips in quarter-inch strips and fit them in the pan before boiling. Didn't have caster sugar, so I used organic cane sugar, and the cranberries were delish! I'll definitely make this again.
3rd Dec, 2014
I obviously did something wrong as mine tasted horrible and bitter. By the previous comments I'm tempted to try again but not sure where it went wrong.


7th Dec, 2016
Can you make ahead and freeze and if so any good tips for doing it successfully? Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
9th Dec, 2016
For best results, we don't suggest freezing this one. We do however have a number of freezable nut loaves, like this fennel & chestnut loaf, a Persian pilaf nut roast and this mushroom nut roast. We hope one of these appeals.
12th Nov, 2016
Does this loaf freeze?
goodfoodteam's picture
15th Nov, 2016
Thanks for your question. We do not recommend freezing this dish but it can be made up to 24 hours ahead.
21st Dec, 2013
can I freeze the parsnip cranberry and chestnut loaf?
Zeno of Elea
29th Dec, 2016
Replace the processed sugar in the sauce with 1 peeled juiced orange and 1tblsp of honey. Also added 1tsp of Marmite to the nut mix. Went down a treat as a Christmas Turkey alternative. Nice hot, but better cold.
21st Dec, 2013
Do not even think about cooking your own chestnuts unless you happen to be at one with the little brown things. 300g uncooked turned into 175g cooked and after over an hour of painstaking effort I was not going to make any more! Those round brown demons will haunt my nightmares...
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