For years now, I’ve been dreaming of an epic vegan holiday main dish that heartily checks all the boxes. Something that is worthy of a centerpiece position on the table, with lots of satisfying protein, excellent flavor, and a pretty presentation.
Well! I think I’ve finally come up with something just awesome enough to qualify as an epic holiday main. It’s a riff on vegan wellington – a pastry-wrapped vegan “roast,” essentially. But this is not just any old vegan wellington, but a Mashed Potato Stuffed Vegan Wellington! And I’m so excited to share it with you today.
We start with what’s basically a chickpea meatloaf. With veggies, chickpeas, walnuts, Panko breadcrumbs, and a few ingredients for flavor (smoked paprika is never wrong). We form the loaf, leaving off about 1/3 of the mixture and creating a tunnel down the middle.
Why the tunnel? Mashed potatoes, of course! We whip up an easy-peasy little batch with buttery Yukon golds, and once they’ve cooled a bit, we form a mashed potato log, and lay it right the tunnel.
Create a lid with the rest of the chickpea meatloaf mixture, and gently seal it around the mashed potatoes.
At this point, you can wrap your loaf in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to wrap it up in puff pastry and bake. Or, just wrap and bake now!
Here’s the fun part: Wrapping and decorating your wellington! I use store-bought puff pastry, but this homemade vegan puff pastry looks like a glorious option too, if you’re down for it.
Lay the puff pastry on a piece of parchment paper, and eyeball your loaf. You want the pastry to be 2-3 inches wider than the loaf on either side, so roll it out a bit if you need to. Wrap the loaf, sealing at the bottom, then seal the ends like a present.
If you’d like, at this point you can use a fork to gently draw lines in the pastry, or even use extra pastry to decorate. For this one, I twisted a few “vines” and cut out a few leaves with a cookie cutter.
I brush my wellington simply with almond milk, but I’ve heard a glaze mixed with a bit of pure maple syrup lends an even shinier effect. Either way, the glaze is optional, but pretty, and it helps it achieve that nice, impressive golden brown color.
Once your vegan wellington is done, let it sit for a good 10 minutes. Then transfer to your serving platter, garnish with fresh herbs and cranberries if you want, and slice with a serrated knife.
Mashed Potato Stuffed Vegan Wellington
For the chickpea loaf:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion (diced small (about 1 cup))
- 1 medium carrot (peeled and diced small (about 1/2 cup))
- 1 stalk celery (diced small (about 1/2 cup))
- 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup walnuts (chopped fine)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more to taste
For the mashed potato core:
- 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 medium, peeled and quartered)
- 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk or almond milk
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter (I like Earth Balance or Melt)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper + more to taste*
For the pastry:
- 1 store-bought frozen puff pastry sheet (thawed (or 2 if you want to embellish the sides and top with extra pastry). Feel free to use your own favorite recipe if you prefer the pastry to be homemade!)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
For the garnish (optional):
- Fresh herbs such as sage and rosemary
- Fresh cranberries
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Set puff pastry out to thaw, if you haven't already.
- Make the mashed potato core. Add potatoes to a medium pot halfway with water and set over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. Add potatoes to back to pan (off heat). Add 2 tablespoons soy milk, 1 tablespoon butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. You want the potatoes to be rather stiff and moldable; if they need a bit more milk, add a teaspoon at a time until you're there. Set aside to cool enough to handle.
- Cook the veggies for the loaf. Set a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery along with a little pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for one more minute. Set aside.
- Mix together the remaining loaf ingredients. While the veggies and potatoes cook, mix together the rest of the loaf. To a large bowl, add the chickpeas and the tomato paste. Using a potato masher, mash the chickpeas and tomato paste together, leaving just a bit of chunkiness. Add the breadcrumbs, walnuts, soy sauce, flaxseed, mustard, onion powder, smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Finish mixing and mash together the loaf. Add cooked veggies. Mix together with a wooden spoon, and then dig in with your clean hands! It's the best way to get this loaf together. Squish and smoosh the loaf together until the ingredients are incorporated and it holds together fairly easily.
- Form the loaf. Set a sheet of parchment paper on your kitchen counter and place 2/3 of the chickpea mixture on the paper. Form into a loaf about 12" long. Gently press a channel into the middle, being careful to keep the sides and bottom thick and sturdy, and taking care to seal any cracks that form.
- Add the potato core to the loaf. Remove the mashed potatoes from their pan and, with your hands, form a log with them approximately the same length as the loaf. Set the log into the loaf. You want the top of the log to be level with the sides of the loaf, so you may need to remove a few pinches of mashed potatoes to achieve that.
- Finish forming the loaf. With the remaining 1/3 of chickpea loaf mixture, form a "lid." I usually do this in 3-4 flat pieces, then just lay them over the top. Carefully shape the loaf around the potatoes, taking care to cover them completely. But it doesn't need to be perfect, really! Rustic is always good.
- Wrap with puff pastry. Set the puff pastry on another piece of parchment paper. Roll it out with a rolling pin if it needs to be a bit longer (it should be 2-3 inches longer than the loaf on either side). Carefully transfer the loaf to the center of the pastry, gently flipping the loaf over so the top side is face down. Wrap the pastry around the the loaf and press together to seal. Flip the loaf over so the top side is now up. Seal the sides by wrapping like a present - sides go in first, then the top and bottom. If necessary, wet your fingertips to get the puff pastry to seal.
- Decorate puff pastry. If desired, twist long lengths of pastry into "vines" or cut leaves or other shapes out of a second sheet of puff pastry to decorate the loaf. You can also use the tines of a fork to cut lines into the pastry. Optionally, brush with almond milk for a more golden appearance once baked.
- Bake. Transfer loaf, parchment paper and all, to a large rimmed baking sheet. Place in preheated oven and bake until golden brown, 30-40 minutes.
- Cool. Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Garnish. Transfer to a platter or wood board and tuck herbs around the edges of the loaf. Decorate with fresh cranberries.
- Serve. Slice with a serrated knife and pass vegan gravy alongside.