Cashews add body, texture and meatiness to this tasty vegan dinner. The hearty roast, rich gravy and homemade cranberry sauce make this dish great for special occasions, but it's also easy enough to put together for a weeknight dinner.
Technique tip: The roast can be prepped in advance and stored (unbaked), covered in plastic, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bake directly from refrigerator.
Swap option: To make this gluten free, use gluten-free tamari, gluten-free breadcrumbs, gluten-free broth and gluten-free baking flour. Use store-bought cranberry sauce instead of making your own if you're short on time.
For the roast:1.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish with olive oil.2.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the onion, carrot, celery, cashews, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, and onion powder, and cook for about 1 minute more, until fragrant.3.
Transfer the cashew mixture to a food processor, reserving the skillet for later use. Pulse until just combined, then transfer to a large bowl.4.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the reserved skillet over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the tempeh and mushrooms and let cook for about 6-8 minutes, adding more oil if needed, until soft and lightly browned. Add the tamari and maple syrup and let simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.5.
Add the tempeh mixture to the large bowl and add the brown rice, breadcrumbs and broth. Let sit until cool to the touch, then mix using your hands until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning.6.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and firmly pat it down. Lightly brush or drizzle the top of the mixture with olive oil. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.
For the quick cranberry sauce:
In a medium saucepan, stir together the cranberries, brown sugar, ginger and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cranberries begin to pop and get saucy.
Remove the pot from the heat and add more brown sugar to taste. Let cool, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
For the country gravy:1.
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until softened.2.
Add the nutritional yeast and flour, and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute to coat the onion with the dry mixture.3.
Add the broth, tamari, garlic and rosemary and stir to combine, noting that the mixture will be very lumpy at this stage. Cook for about 3 minutes more, until the mixture is very thick.4.
Transfer the gravy to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth (be careful when blending hot liquids and always keep the top on your blending device).5.
Return the gravy to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve. If the gravy gets too thick, add a little more broth or water to thin it out.
Serve the roast in slices with gravy and cranberry sauce on the side.