Roasted Vegetable Terrine with Mock Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

If you’re hosting over the holidays, you may have at least one friend or family member requesting a vegetarian or vegan meal option. This roasted vegetable terrine is festive and makes a rich and hearty vegan option for those on special diets. And it tastes divine – food from the Gods in my opinion! Don’t omit the smoked chipotle pepper – it adds such great flavour! 

There is nothing difficult about making this terrine but there are three separate components that come together to make this dish what it is – the tomato pesto, the nut cheese and the roasted vegetables. Each of the individual components can be made ahead, and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the terrine. Make the mock goat cheese first as it needs 24 hours to ripen. 

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SERVES 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper
  • 1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into 14” slices
  • 1 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 14” slices
  • 1 bunch fresh chard
  • Smoked chipotle pepper, dried
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, coarsely chopped (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

  • 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked
  • 1/3 cup walnuts or Brazil nuts
  • ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp. crushed red chilli flakes
  • half of the coarsely chopped the fresh herbs

Mock Goat Cheese

  • 3/4 cup raw nuts (use one, or combine in any ratio: cashews, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts)
  • 2-3 tbsp. water
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • contents from 5-6 probiotic capsules
  • 1/2 tsp dried garlic powder

Directions

Preheat the broiler. Top and tail eggplant and zucchini and thinly slice. Line 2 baking sheets with foil and lay the vegetables side by side in a single layer on a rack over the foiled trays (eggplant on one, zucchini on the other). Sprinkle with salt and allow the vegetables to rest for 30-60 minutes. The salt will cause the vegetables to sweat and release their bitter juices.  

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After sweating, place the eggplant and zucchini in a colander and rinse thoroughly to rinse away the bitter juices and salt. Return vegetables to the racks and sprinkle sparingly with smoked chipotle pepper. The best way to do this is place a small amount of the spice in a fine-grained sieve and tap it gently and evenly over the vegetables. Repeat with more spice until all of the vegetables are lightly seasoned. Don’t overdo it.

Place the baking sheets near the top of the oven and broil until lightly browned, rotating the trays as necessary.  Flip vegetables over to brown the other side. Watch closely as they can burn or brown unevenly – you can even broil them with the door open. When vegetables are soft and evenly browned, set aside to cool.

Wash the peppers and place them on a foil lined baking sheet with only the water that clings to them after washing.

Position an oven rack close to the top of the oven and broil the peppers, turning as they brown, until evenly charred on all sides (10-12 minutes). Check them frequently as they cook. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cool for 20 minutes.

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Peel, core, and seed peppers; set aside. To save time, peppers can be roasted while eggplant and zucchini are sweating).

Wash the chard, shake off the excess water and place on a cutting board. Remove the thick centre stem and place the leaves in a large shallow pan over a medium heat. Add a couple tablespoons of water. Cook just until wilted and immediately shock the leaves in an ice water bath to maintain the colour. Squeeze dry with a kitchen towel to release as much water as possible and leave to sit on a few layers of paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

Tomato Pesto

Place sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in a bowl, and cover with boiling water; let sit for 10 minutes. Drain and transfer the tomatoes and garlic to a food processor. Add fresh herbs, crushed red chili flakes, nuts, vinegar, salt and pepper. Process until the texture reaches the consistency of pesto and set aside.

Mock Goat’s Cheese

Soak the nuts for a minimum of 2 hours. Place soaked nuts and remaining ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. You may have to scrape down the sides of the blender in order to get the job done. You may also add more water or lemon juice, a tablespoon at a time,  until the mixture blends on its own. Line a sieve with cheesecloth or a nut bag and spoon in the cheese.

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Twist the edges of the cheese cloth tightly around the mixture to seal. Place the sieve over a bowl  and add weights on top of the mixture and leave in a warm place, away form of direct sunlight for 24 hours to ripen. The bowl will catch any excess liquid released from the mixture during the ripening process.

Once the cheese has ripened, add in the remaining fresh basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, and a pinch of crushed red chili flakes. Stir to blend, and if necessary, balance the flavours out with salt and lemon juice to taste. Cheese can be covered and refrigerated up to 7 days (or frozen).

Assembly

Line a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting at least 4″ hang over the edges. Gently line the base and sides of the loaf pan with chard leaves, allowing 3 or 4-inches of overhang.  Lay the roasted vegetables, mock cheese and tomato pesto in the terrine in the following order:

  • Half of the eggplant slices,
  • Half the sun-dried tomato pesto (spread evenly to the edges on the pan)
  • Zucchini slices
  • Mock goat cheese
  • Roasted peppers
  • Remaining sundried tomato pesto;
  • Remaining eggplant slices

Once the terrine is full, fold excess chard over vegetables and then fold the plastic wrap over all to cover completely.

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Cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside the rim of the pan and lay it on top of the dish. Place 2 or 3 cans of beans or something on top to weigh the terrine down. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, remove the weights and cardboard and pull away the overhanging plastic wrap covering the top of the loaf pan. Place a serving plate on top of the pan and invert the terrine so that the loaf pan is now upside down on the serving plate. Gently lift the pan and remove the plastic wrap.  

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Using a very sharp knife, cut the terrine into about 8 1-inch slices.

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The first time I made this terrine, I served it with a little tomato sauce on the side. It didn’t need it. The texture is moist and the flavours are delicious all on their own. Yum!

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