This vegetarian recipe is a cross between a nut loaf and a nut cutlet. I wanted to make individual portions so came up with the idea of making these in muffin tins. Cooking like this makes them a little crunchier than an ordinary nut loaf. Then of course, I can make a batch and freeze them for later. These were a run-away success for friends - none left to freeze!
Approximate Preparation and Cooking Time
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: serves 8
nutlets - mixed nuts and veggie cups
What you need:
1 onion, cleaned and diced finely
1 orange pepper, cleaned and diced finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1 small sweet potato, cleaned and diced into small cubes
1 cal vegetable spray
7 oz wholemeal breadcrumbs
6 oz mixed chopped nuts
1 carrot, grated
1 small courgette, grated
1 tub light soft cheese with garlic and herbs
How to make my nut and veggie cups
Clean and chop onion, orange pepper and sweet potato into small dices. The smaller they are the quicker they will cook and since they are being cooked in small cups, better smaller than larger chunks.
Grate your carrot and your courgette/zucchini. I actually just used my vegetable peeler catering to my laziness in getting out the grater. But I did make them very thin. Neither carrot nor courgette really need much cooking so can be added directly to the bread/nut mix.
Spray a griddle pan with 1-can vegetable oil. When hot enough griddle the onion, orange pepper and sweet potato to soften them and to give them that wonderful charred taste you get when you griddle. It will take about 5-8 minutes depending on how well cooked you like your vegetables. Remember they will cook more in the oven.
One minute before you finish frying, add the herbs and crushed garlic and cook for one minute. This releases the flavours without burning.
In a large bowl combine the breadcrumbs and nuts. Add the grated carrot and courgette and mix well - great to get your hands in.
Allow your griddle mix to cool a bit then add to the bowl. Use a fork to mix well. Add a little salt and pepper if you prefer, I usually add pepper but not salt.
Add your tub of low fat soft cheese with garlic and herbs. Mix in thoroughly with a fork. Make sure you really get it all mixed through. I find if I continually turn the bowl as I mix it works best.
Divide your mixture into separate muffin tins. There is enough for 8. Press down your mixture well.
Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree for around 30-35 minutes. Check a toothpick comes out clean when checked.
mixed vegetables, herbs and garlic in griddle pan
Use a griddle pan to soften the harder vegetables you use, you need very little oil and it gives the veggies a charred taste without spending ages waiting for them to roast in an oven. Cut into small cubes for faster cooking. Only add the crushed garlic and herbs for one minute right at the end. The heat releases the flavour wonderfully without burning. Makes your kitchen smell wonderful too!
Breadcrumb and nut mix in a bowl
In a large bowl mix together the breadcrumbs and mixed nuts. You can create breadcrumbs in a food mixer - I have a simple hand blender with attachment that is ideal, easy to clean and doesn't take up the same amount of room as a food processor. Slightly stale bread is actually better than fresh bread and I do recommend using wholemeal rather than plain white bread. I bought mixed chopped nuts but if you prefer, pick whole nuts in any combination that pleases you and crop finely in your processor.
Vegetable, breadcrumb and nut mixture
Carrot and courgette/zuchini don't need much in the way of cooking when they are grated. I just sliced mine very thinly with a vegetable cutter but to make a finer it is probably better to use a grater. Courgettes hold a certain amount of moisture which helps to bind your mixture. Grate directly into your breadcrumb and nut mixture for quickness.
Add soften onion, pepper, sweet potato, herbs and garlic
Allow your griddle mixture to cool slightly and add it to your bowl. I found using a fork the best way to mix it all together. You haven't used much in the way of oil so there is not a lot of added moisture. At this point you can add some black pepper and a little salt if you like. I don't actually add salt as the herbs, garlic and pepper provide plenty of flavour for me.
Soft cheese added to nut loaf mixture
Use a whole tub of low-fat soft cheese with garlic and herbs. This is what will bind you mixture together and give it a delightful taste. It takes some time to mix through properly. Use a fork and continually turn the bowl as you mix. Make sure you don't have large pockets of cheese.
with added soft cheese
Divide your mixture into muffin tins. Make sure you grease the cups first, I used light butter but you could also line them with grease-proof paper. Press down your mixture which also helps to bind them.
Cook in a medium hot oven - 180 degrees for 35 minutes. You can check they are cooked all the way through, probe with a toothpick if the toothpick comes out clean they are done.
Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them in the cups. Leave for a few minutes before you remove them or they may break up.