Here at Northern Soul, we’re gearing up for the festive period and, not surprisingly, starting to think about our annual yuletide feasts.

This year, star of the meat-free world and Welsh cookbook author Gaz Oakley, has partnered with plant-based food company Merchant Gourmet to encourage more people to include meatless meals as part of their Christmas celebrations. 

During the countdown to Christmas, we’ll be sharing delicious plant-based scran guaranteed to spark your appetite. This week, we’ve got a recipe for Braised Chestnut and Grain Wellington with a Charred Red Pepper Dressing and Caramelised Red Onion. 

Gaz Oakley’s Braised Chestnut and Grain Wellington with a Charred Red Pepper Dressing and Caramelised Red Onion

Serves 6

Cooking time: 90 minutes


1 Leek, chopped roughly
4 Cloves Garlic, peeled
1 Red Pepper, deseeded
10 Shiitake Mushrooms
2 Carrots, peeled & chopped roughly
1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
1 tsp Sea Salt
3 tbs Tomato Puree
1 tbs Dried Sage
1 tbs Dried Rosemary
1 Bay Leaf
2tbs Plain Flour or GF Flour
1/2 cup/125ml Vegan Friendly Red Wine
3/4 cup/195ml Vegetable Stock
2 tbs Soy Sauce
1 tbs Miso Paste
2 250g Pouches of Merchant Gourmet Spiced Grains & Chestnut
1 tbs Cranberry sauce

For the pastry

1 Roll Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
1/4 cup/30g Plain Flour


1/4 cup/60ml Milk
4 tbs Maple
4 tbs Oil
Pinch Sea Salt

Red Pepper Dressing

2 cups/350g Roasted Red Peppers, from a jar, drained
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 tbs Tahini
1 tsp Dried Sage
1 tsp Dried Rosemary
1/2 tsp Smoked Sweet Paprika
1 tsp Sea Salt

Caramelised Red Onion

2 tbs Rapeseed oil or water
3 Red Onions, peeled, halved & sliced fine
4 tbs Coconut Sugar or Brown Sugar
3 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
Pinch Sea Salt & Pepper
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme, chopped, plus extra for garnish

and, lastly, garnish with…

Crispy Sage Leaves
Vegan Feta (optional)
Pistachio Nuts
Pomegranate Seeds

Gaz Oakley’s Braised Chestnut and Grain Wellington with a Charred Red Pepper Dressing and Caramelised Red Onion


  • First up, make the filling (which I usually make the day before serving). Add the leek, garlic, red pepper, carrots and mushrooms to a food processor and blitz until they’re chopped small. Pre-heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, add the leek mix to the pan and sauté for 3 minutes or until golden.
  • Stir in the tomato puree, sage, rosemary, bay leaf, salt & pepper then add the flour. Cook the flour out by stirring constantly for about a minute.
  • Then de-glaze the pan with the red wine & vegetable stock. When the liquid comes to a simmer add the merchant gourmet chestnuts and grains, soy sauce, miso paste and cranberry. Let the mix bubble away for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has really thickened up, then transfer the mixture to a container to cool completely.
  • The day of serving, add all the glaze ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together. Dust your surface with flour and roll out your pastry approximately 30cm x 30cm then cut it in half.
  • Making sure your filling is completely cool (ideally fridge cold) spoon the filling into the centre of one of the pastry rectangles, leaving a 3cm boarder around the filling. Brush the border with a little of the glaze then place the other pastry rectangle neatly on top. Seal the border together with your finger, then trim the edges to keep it neat. You can crimp the edges with a fork and use Christmas-themed cutters with any off-cuts of pastry to top the wellington. Brush over a little glaze. Then set the wellington aside until you’re ready to cook it.
  • Meanwhile, add the red pepper dressing ingredients to a food processor and blitz until it forms a chunky paste. Set the dressing aside until serving.
  • To make the caramelised onions, in a heavy based saucepan over a medium add a touch of oil followed by the onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes stirring often until they start to soften and colour. Add the sugar, vinegar, seasoning and thyme. Stir well and turn the heat down very low. Cover the saucepan and allow the onions to caramelise for 15 minutes, stir/shake the pan every now & then.
  • To cook the wellington, place it onto the middle shelf in a pre-heated oven set at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes. Apply extra glaze 25 minutes through cooking.
  • Serve your wellington with lots of dressing, caramelised onions, crispy sage, pomegranate seeds, pistachio nuts and vegan feta and all your Christmas garnishes.

Gaz Oakley’s Braised Chestnut and Grain Wellington with a Charred Red Pepper Dressing and Caramelised Red Onion


Credit: Gaz Oakley in partnership with Merchant Gourmet