Skip to main content

Festive Nut Loaf with Cranberry Topping

A delicious and attractive centrepiece for a festive dinner, full of flavour and texture. Although it takes a bit of time to prepare, it is well worth the effort! Thank you to Gillian for sharing this festive recipe.

Time 45 mins prep + 50 mins cooking time
Skill Level Intermediate

Ingredients List


Serves 8
  • 200 g cranberries , fresh or frozen
  • 4 tbsp light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tbsp milled flaxseed
  • 400 g pack of butternut squash , fresh or frozen, diced
  • 2 tbsp heaped fresh rosemary , chopped
  • 2 tbsp heaped fresh thyme , chopped
  • 1 red onion , finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery , finely chopped
  • 250 g chestnut mushrooms , finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp miso paste
  • 200 g almonds , roughly chopped
  • 100 g cooked chestnuts , finely chopped
  • 100 g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley (one or two), finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil , plus extra for roasting
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)


  1. Lightly oil your loaf tin and line with baking parchment.
  2. Set the oven at 350 F / 180 C / 160 C fan.
  3. Warm the cranberries and sugar in a small pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes until the sugar has melted and the cranberries are starting to soften. Put a layer of the cranberries into the bottom of the lined tin and put on one side. Keep any leftover cranberries for extra garnish.
  4. Mix the flaxseed with 6 tbsp of cold water and set aside.
  5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and combine the squash, rosemary and thyme on the tray.  Season with salt and pepper. Spray with a little extra virgin olive oil, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the squash is soft but still holding it’s shape. Take out of the oven and reserve.
  6. Meanwhile sauté the onion, celery and mushroom in a solid-based, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. The mushrooms will give off quite a lot of moisture, but if the mixture starts to go dry add a little water to stop it sticking. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and almost all the moisture has evaporated. Approx 10 mins. Stir in the garlic and miso paste.
  7. In a large bowl mix together the almonds, chestnuts, breadcrumbs and parsley.  Stir through the flaxseed mixture, and 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil then add the the sautéd vegetables and squash.  Season well and mix until well combined.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the tin on top of the cranberries, carefully pressing down and smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. 
  9. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and back for another 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before carefully turning it out of the tin onto a serving plate.  Garnish with rosemary sprigs.
  10. I like to serve this with a selection of vegetables and a piping hot gravy.



  • You will need a 2 lb / 900 g loaf tin.
  • I use frozen butternut squash for convenience, but you can use fresh.
  • I use a very fine spray to add a little oil to my vegetables when roasting. 
  • You could substitute the fresh rosemary and thyme for 2 tsps each of dried rosemary and thyme.
  • The onion, celery, mushrooms, almonds, chestnuts and parsley could all be chopped in a food processor to save time. Equally breadcrumbs can be made in the food processor too.
  • Try varying the type of nut used, or use a mixture of different nuts.
  • You could assemble the loaf the day before then chill and bake the following day.


  • This also freezes well. After baking allow to cool completely then wrap well and freeze. Defrost overnight in the fridge then reheat in the oven, loosely covered in foil at 350 F / 180 C / 160 C fan, until piping hot.
  • Leftovers make great sandwiches – I love to add some extra cranberry sauce to mine!