Cashew Nut Roast

Recipe from David C. Flanagan
Submitted by Fledgling Press


2 large onions
4 oz ground cashew nuts
4-6 oz grated Cheddar cheese
One teaspoon mixed herbs (optional – smoked paprika)
Olive oil
2 oz fresh brown breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Optional – 1 teaspoon of yeast extract, or French mustard


Peel and chop the onions and cook in the olive oil until golden. Beat the eggs. Add to the remaining ingredients, mix well and spread in a greased baking dish. Cover top with foil and bake in oven at 200 degrees Celsius/gas mark 6 for 30-40 minutes. Foil can be removed for the final five minutes to brown top. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes and veg.

I became a vegetarian when I turned 16. As an animal lover who had always struggled to eat meat as a child, particularly if I gave too much thought to its origins, it seemed like a logical choice. I’d also lost my dad to a heart attack when I was seven, so the health benefits of vegetarianism appealed almost as much as the animal welfare aspects.

My mum, after a lifetime of cooking traditional Scottish mince and tatties, beef stews, roasts, sausages and a variety of fish dishes, took it all in her stride. Indeed, she opted to become vegetarian herself, obtaining a selection of slightly funky looking 70s cookbooks that were apparently written by ‘hippies’.

Many of the earnest recipes in those books were industrially healthy – heavy on wholemeal, or just heavy – and proved too much of a palatability challenge for even the most committed young veggie. But after weeks of experimentation, my mum had collated a selection of the best dishes, including a simple, but tasty, recipe for cashew nut roast.

I took the recipe with me when I went off to study journalism in Edinburgh and, when I wasn’t eating beans on toast, I’d cook the nut roast in my flat. Not only was it a taste of home, it probably kept me alive.

Decades later, I’m still making, eating and enjoying cashew nut roast. My wife – not a vegetarian – mostly cooks it these days and loves it. My mum, still vegetarian and now well into her 80s, has never tired of it either. For me, it represents family, comfort and, fundamentally, a lifestyle choice.

A journalist living in an island community, David C. Flanagan is the author of Board. Warm, funny, touching and honest – with a strong dose of adrenaline – Board explores loss, ego, fear and fatherhood, charting a quest for inner peace against a backdrop of thundering Atlantic waves.

David C. Flanagan is published by Fledgling Press.