Nut Roast (Vegetarian Main Dish)

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This Nut Roast is a hearty vegetarian main course that’s perfect for a big holiday dinner. I love the nutty flavor that walnuts and pecans add to this vegetarian loaf, paired with mushrooms for a remarkably “meaty” look and texture that everyone loves!

nut roast slices with mashed potatoes

What is a Nut Roast?

A nut roast is a vegetarian dish made with nuts, grains, and seasonings that is pressed into a loaf pan and baked as an alternative to a traditional roast. It makes a great vegetarian main course for a holiday meal!

Here are the main ingredients in this Nut Roast:

  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Brown rice
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Parmesan

The combination may sound a little unusual, but the resulting flavor and texture are remarkably delicious. It visually resembles a meatloaf, and the savory flavor goes perfectly with your favorite Thanksgiving vegetable side dishes.

nut roast slices on serving plate

Time-Saving Nut Roast Tips

This loaf is relatively easy to prepare if you have pre-cooked rice on hand. I use my Instant Pot to make brown rice (see my Instant Pot Brown Rice tutorial for directions), or you can use frozen cooked rice to cut-down on the effort.

Once you have brown rice on hand, all you have to do is chop some mushrooms— which is quick & easy if you use your food processor– and saute them with with onions and garlic, before you mix everything else together.

mushrooms in food processor

A few pulses in the food processor will break down the mushrooms so you won’t have any noticeable bites of mushroom in this loaf. (It really looks like “meat” in this loaf!)

You can use your food processor again to transform the nuts into a coarse flour for this vegetarian “meatloaf.” (No need to rinse the food processor in between processing!)

nut roast ingredients in a bowl and in loaf pan

Once everything is mixed together in a large bowl, you just have to press it into a loaf pan and bake until golden. It’s pretty hands-off at that point!

Why Use Nuts in a Vegetarian Loaf?

Nuts offer a great texture and heartiness to this loaf, without using breadcrumbs or lentils. (I already use lentils in my Vegan Meatloaf, if you need an egg-free or dairy-free recipe.) Avoiding breadcrumbs and flour keeps this recipe naturally gluten-free!

walnuts and pecans in food processor

Benefits of Walnuts & Pecans

This recipe uses a combination of walnuts and pecans, both of which are buttery nuts that will break down quickly and easily in a food processor. (Or you can chop them with a knife, if you prefer.)

Here’s what I love about these nuts:

  • Walnuts have high antioxidant activity, along with antibacterial and anticancer activities.
  • One study suggests that eating a meal rich in walnuts may help to prevent the oxidative damage of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Another study suggests that pecans do this, as well.
  • Walnuts are high in omega-3 acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an essential fat and may help to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Pecans are also high in antioxidants, and have over twice the flavonoid content when compared to almonds and cashews, according to
  • Pecans are a good source of manganese, which may help to regulate your blood sugar. It also helps to form collagen, which is can contribute to skin elasticity.

These two varieties of nuts are just a suggestion, so feel free to swap them for another option in your pantry, if you need to. Or, you can use all walnuts, or all pecans, in this recipe, if you only have one variety on hand.

nut loaf slices on a thanksgiving plate

nut loaf slices on a thanksgiving plate
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4.96 from 23 votes

Nut Roast (Vegetarian Main Course)

This easy Nut Roast makes a delicious vegetarian main course. Walnuts and pecans add the perfect texture and heartiness to this loaf, without using tofu, and eggs help to bind it while also adding filling protein to the dish.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword nut roast
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 slices
Calories 250kcal


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion , chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms (I used a mix of cremini and shiitake)
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup pre-cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 375ºF and line a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. (I like to spray the pan with a bit of oil first, to help the parchment stay in place.) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and saute the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • While the onion is cooking, quickly process the mushrooms in a food processor fitted with an "S" blade to break them down into an almost rice-like texture. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the onion in the skillet, and saute until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates, about 8 more minutes.
  • While everything is cooking, pulse the walnuts and pecans in the food processor (no need to rinse it after chopping the mushrooms) until they resemble a coarse flour.
  • Transfer the ground nuts to a large bowl, along with the cooked brown rice, parmesan, eggs, parsly, thyme, salt, and 5-6 grinds of fresh black pepper. Add in the cooked mushroom mixture, and stir well to combine.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan, and use a spatula to smooth the top. Cook the loaf at 375ºF until the top is golden and firm, about 45 to 60 minutes. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan, then slice and serve.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. The leftover loaf makes a great stuffing/filling for roasted squash, if you want to repurpose the dish!



Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 429mg | Potassium: 330mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 215IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 172mg | Iron: 1mg

Recipe Notes:

  • If you need a dairy-free loaf, you can try swapping the Parmesan for 3/4 cup bread crumbs instead to help with binding. In that case, I’d season the mixture with at least 1/4 teaspoon more salt to compensate.
  • For a vegan recipe, try my Vegan Meatloaf instead. Or my Stuffed Kabocha Squash for another vegan main-entree!

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too! We can all benefit from your experience.

Reader Feedback: Have you ever tried a nut loaf before? This is totally NOT something my husband would usually eat, but he tried this and told me he loves it! So I hope it’s a hit with your holiday guests, too.

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Benji KJ

Is the 1 cup of rice measured before or after cooking?


Is there anything that I can use in place of the Parmesan cheese or can I omit it?

    Megan Gilmore

    There’s a note below this recipe about possibly using breadcrumbs instead. I haven’t tested this without the cheese yet, so I’d love to hear if you try it that way!


Love this nut roast!! My husband is vegetarian and can’t tolerate lentils, so this is perfect for us. I made it this morning to make sure he would like it, and we’ve already eaten half of it between the two of us! Can’t wait to make it again for Thanksgiving.

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m so glad you both enjoyed it, Rachel! Thanks for letting me know.


This is perfect and hearthy. Taste is amazing. MUST TRY! thanx so much


I have tried several of your recipes already this month that have all been a bit! I can’t wait to try this out for Christmas Eve! This may be a strange question, but do you think this would work in a muffin pan? And if so, how would you adjust the cooking time? Just thinking it would be more appealing to my toddler in that shape and size and cutting down the cooking time would be great, too!


    *hit, not bit. Sorry!

    Megan Gilmore

    I think that’s a great idea! My guess is they would need to bake about 30 minutes in a muffin pan, but let me know if you try it!

Mia Williams

It’s delicious! So good. Do you think it can be frozen in slices? I’ve got a lot left over and would love to freeze it in portions. Let me know what you think. Thank you!


So good!!! I had my husband make this and he isn’t used to cooking so he got a bit flustered BUT the final product was amazing even without parsley or Parmesan cheese (I think he subbed some grated cheddar and bread crumbs but honestly don’t know- we didn’t have parsley and he didn’t sub anything). My only regret is that it’s a small loaf so next time I’ll double the recipe (we eat leftovers a lot in this house!!).

Julia D

I’ve been doing all your recipes this week from your new meal plan (plus the 30 min prep for lunch!) and all the meals have been SO good. This one was amazing though!! I’ve never had a nut roast before and was a little skeptical at first. However, even just baking it in the oven already smelled delicious, but I will admit I really love mushrooms. And then when I tried it the flavors were perfect. My husband can be very doubtful about healthier alternatives however he loved it too. Thanks!


I am looking forward to making this roast. I love that it is very low carb. as my husband has diabetes, and I also try to watch my carbs. I have a question about the cholesterol count. This must be with adding the Parmesan cheese. I am wondering besides the egg and cheese what other ingredients contain cholesterol? Thanks for your help.

    Megan Gilmore

    I believe all plant foods are cholesterol-free, so only the eggs and cheese will contribute to that.


What would be the best egg replacement for this recipe? (new to veganism)!


Made this before with great success; subbing oats for rice today as I forgot to have some ready. Let’s see how it turns out! I left them dry.

Laurie Hill

I have loved nut roast since the 80’s. I worked at a cafe where the owner created his own recipe. You version is the closest to his! Thanks so much! Laurie




Can a flax egg or chia egg be used as a substitute for the regular egg? Also, what could substitute for the mushrooms or can they just be omitted? Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes!

    Megan Gilmore

    I don’t think the loaf will hold together with a flax egg in this case. Maybe a powdered egg replacer could work, but I couldn’t say for sure without testing it. Since the loaf is so moist, it would probably need something dry as a binder to not use an egg. Maybe try my Vegan Meatloaf recipe if you want something without eggs and mushrooms?


I never comment but this turned out so delicous.Megan, thanks for your recipes, I have your books and tend to turn to them a lot!


I made for my family for Canadian Thanksgiving. I used a silicone loaf pan and just flipped it out perfectly. Everyone enjoyed, but suggested maybe a vegan gravy or chutney would be nice.


My husband and I have been trying to eat more plant-based meals. I made this several days ago, and he’s been raving about it to friends and family since! Looking forward to making it again!

Sue P

This is the second time I have made this nut roast recipe and my husband and I absolutely love it! I used 3/4 cup of pecans and 1/2 cup of hazelnuts for the walnuts as I’m allergic to them and it is very delicious. My only comment is that it takes longer than 15 minutes prep time when you have a pound of mushrooms to clean in addition to the time to saute the onions and then the mushroom mixture to reduce the liquid. That aside, the recipe is very much enjoyed by both of us and is a keeper. Thank you!


I made this last night and wow!!!! I just did a few changes, didn’t add the rice so increased the amount of mushrooms and used nutritional yeast instead of the parmesan cheese. Just wonderful! Thanks a lot!!! I’m your super fan…well, all my family is 😉

Kay Jackson

I think I will try this with Trader Joe’s Rice Mix…You can cook it or buy the frozen…

Elizabeth Merian

I made this last night for our Thankgiving vegetarian option and it was very good! LOVE this recipe!

anita patel

Can you make prep the loaf night before and then bake it the next day?


Can this loaf be made a day ahead and reheated on the day of serving?


Looks yummy! 🙂 I’d like to make this for Christmas – would it be possible to prepare the loaf and bake it the following day?


Delicious recipe! It was for xmas dinner, I made a mushroom gravy and even cranberry sauce to go with it. After reading the comments, I doubled the batch as another reviewer wished they had done and boy do I regret it. I have enough loaf to feed about 25 people! For the 2 of us it is far too much, just stick to a x1 recipe. The loaf is very filling! Also very tasty, perfect umami.


I follow your recipes with great interest and I have made many delicious dishes and desserts! Thank you for the inspiration! 🙂

I am trying to cut down on the carbs…I wonder if this recipe will work with quinoa or coliflouwer rice instead of brown rice…


This is one of my favorite recipes. It is easy to make and tastes delicious!


Love this! I’ve tried a few vegetarian “meatloaf” recipes and this is by far the best. Since I’m the only vegetarian in the house I cut the recipe in half and use a smaller size loaf pan. Works perfectly.


Oh my goodness this is so very good! I just made it for dinner tonight and have plenty left over for lunches for us both. Also made a mushroom gravy which was great with it. Thank you as always for your gift to the world of providing these easy to follow and delicious recipes!


Ok – I just need to say…you are a genius!! This is such a delicious loaf and, while a bit time consuming to clean all the mushrooms and cook out the liquid, was very easy to prepare. I will definitely keep in mind to prep more next time I make it. I did eyeball the mushroom and rice amounts, so it turned out on the soft side and kind of falling apart, but so so so delicious! Also for anyone avoiding dairy, I used nutritional yeast and it turned out great.

G Harris

I was impressed with this recipe. The look and texture were pretty close. The flavor was good. My friend who joined us for dinner asked for the recipe. I will definitely be making this again! Thank you.

Rosana Stimson

I made this for lunch today and wow, it is delicious! The flavor is truly fantastic! Thank you, Megan, for this wonderful recipe!!!


Megan! You did it again!! It was absolutely delicious! One guest was a vegetarian for the holiday get together and we all loved tasting this too:) I only had white rice and portobello mushrooms, but they were great substitutes!!
Thank you!!!

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