The ultimate vegan wellington?! Possibly so! A flavorful chickpea-walnut loaf with a buttery mashed potato core, all wrapped up in flaky-golden puff pastry and baked to perfection. The perfect holiday table centerpiece!
For the chickpea loaf:
1small oniondiced small (about 1 cup)
1medium carrotpeeled and diced small (about 1/2 cup)
1stalk celerydiced small (about 1/2 cup)
2medium cloves garlicminced
115-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1/2teaspoonkosher salt + more to taste
1/4teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper + more to taste
For the mashed potato core:
1/2poundYukon Gold potatoesabout 2 medium, peeled and quartered
2-3tablespoonsunsweetened soy milk or almond milk
1tablespoonvegan butterI like Earth Balance or Melt
1/4teaspoonkosher salt + more to taste
1/8teaspoonground white pepper + more to taste*
For the pastry:
1store-bought frozen puff pastry sheetthawed (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!
2tablespoonsunsweetened almond milk
For the garnish (optional):
Fresh herbs such as sage and rosemary
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.
* Feel free to substitute black pepper, it'll taste just as good; I just like how the white pepper keeps the potatoes white.