Monday, 27 September 2010

Vegan Mushroom and spinach roly-poly

That even my meat loving brothers will eat. This savoury roly-poly is made with suet pastry. Suet pastry is used to create savoury dishes like steak and kidney pudding and English puddings such as roly-poly and the renowned spotted dick.

Traditionally suet comes from beef cattle. It is the shredded deposit fat taken from around the internal organs of the animal. I know some people would rather not know this information and just be happy to eat what they are given without question, but I think it is important to know the source of some of our traditional ingredients. Suet remains a popular ingredient to this day. It is used quite a lot in making dumplings, especially during the autumnal and winter seasons. Suet dumplings are often added to warming casseroles or stews, where they are gently steamed and swell up double in size. Dumplings are often served in place of potatoes and bread.

Suet was not an ingredient my mother cooked with. I only began experimenting with it in my University years, when I discovered the vegetarian (also suitable for vegans) alternative made from: hydrogenated vegetable oil, wheat flour, sunflower oil and pectin. The suet itself looks like little white pellets dusted with the wheat flour to keep them apart. One of the first recipes I ever made with this suet was British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes mushroom and onion pudding; and early in the year I made Leek Savoury Puddings. I have to admit, I have never made a sweet jammy roly-poly. I know that will be remedied one of these days, but right now enjoy this savoury version.
This savoury roly-poly is filled with spinach and mushroom, and was served as part of a roast vegetarian dinner; and don't forget the compulsory gravy. For me this was a nice change from a vegetarian lentil loaf.

To end, some of you may know this, but for those of you who may not - Did you know that traditional beef suet was, and in some cases still remains one of the key ingredients of sweet mincemeat which is often made into Christmas Mincemeat Pies. So please do check the label this Christmas if making a purchase. Also, if you found it interesting to read about the traditional suet, you may also be interested in reading a little about the vegetarian 'black pudding'.
Mushroom and Spinach Roly- Poly
Serves 8 as part of a vegetarian roast dinner
For the Suet pastry
450g wholemeal plain flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
110g vegetable or vegan suet
300-350ml cold water
For the filling
3 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
400g chestnut mushrooms
150ml vegetable stock
350g fresh spinach, chopped
55g wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix together the dry ingredients for the suet pastry. Add the water a bit at a time to form a fairly firm dough.
Heat olive oil and sauté the garlic and mushrooms. Add stock and cook until mushrooms are tender. Stir in the flour and season with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce thickens. Roll out the pastry into a large rectangle. Spread the filling on it, almost to the edges, leaving ½ inch spare pastry all the way round. Brush the edges with cold water and roll up length ways, squeezing in the ends to keep in the filling. Place the roly-poly on a large baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at gas mark 5 approximately 40 minutes. The pastry should begin to turn brown and be cooked thoroughly. Rest in a warm place for 10 minutes, then cut into slices. Adapted from The Stones Cookbook.


  1. Thank you for that info. I'm glad you told me what Suet is so that I can make sure not to eat it. I like your version way better.

  2. I had no idea there was such a thing as vegetarian suet, and have never seen it. What is the texture? I wonder if it could be approximated with coconut oil or vegan margarine.

  3. Mushroom and Spinach is the best combination!

  4. Yummy Mango!! Looks so good, thanks for sharing this great vegan recipe with me!!

  5. Girrlllll! Are you a vegan or a vegetarian? This looks deelish and I like that your bros will eat it. I find the secret to getting hubby to eat and LIKE my vegetarian dishes is all based on satiety and texture. When the lad is satisfied, he misses no meat! I made a divine pumpkin lasagne on Sunday that I will be posting about soon.

    I cook with unprocessed foods so am not "getting" the vegetarian suet and certainly not the vegetarian blood pudding. What's the point? Can vegetable lard be used in suet's place? Vegetarian blood pudding seems kinda crazy!

  6. Oh miam! This is gonna be on my table soon! Thank you!

  7. I like the occasional (veggie) suet pudding, but not too often.

  8. Your so welcome Roxan.
    and Thank you.

    There are so many vegetarian and vegan alternatives for vegan, even cheese. So it was not such a surprise to me to learn that there was a vegetarian suet, even better that this one is suitable for vegans. The texture of the suet straight from the packet is like soft cheddar cheese, but white and in pellet form. I don't think coconut oil will work in the same way, but vegan margarine may. Please do try out both and let me know your results. I'd really be interested in knowing.

    Thanks Vegetarian Girl.

    Thank you so much Morgan.

    Forgive me, but you may find my response awkward, though that is not my intention. My intention is to respond to you honestly. I've never liked being labelled from a child: What is she? Somali, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Pakistani or Indian? This has extended to my dietary preferences. I have always refused to be labelled. However, the focus of this blog has been on seasonal vegetables (though sometimes I do stray from seasonality). The recipes are always suitable for vegetarians, and sometimes vegans. The aim of the blog has always been to encourage people eating seasonal vegetables as the main ingredient, not as a side dish.

    I am pleased you like the look of the dish :D
    And was really delighted to read your secret to get your hubby to eat and LIKE your vegetarian dishes. Your pumpkin lasagne sounds wonderful. I'll be over to check out the recipe.

    Yes, I think vegetable lard could be used in place of suet, but I don't know for sure. Maybe you can try a mini version of this roly-poly

    PS I kinow the vegetarian 'black pudding' sounds terrible, but in reality the maker did not make it with vegetarians in mind, it was for the meat eaters, who also did not like the sound of the original. Irony huh!?

    Thank you so much spécialiste de l'éphémère.
    I so hope you enjoy, as much as you enjoyed making the apple butter. I honestly do love the look of your apple butter. It looks like banofee (banana and toffee). Yum!

    Thanks Rachel - me too.

  9. Darnit, I lost my comment twice now!!!

    MIzz Mangocheeks, I was not trying to put you into a box but really wanted to know if you ate eggs and cheese! I am a hard cook to label too, I guess. I have lived in a number of places and can cook a variety of ethnic and regional american foods. I usually cook comfort foods that are simple yet very flavorful. I don't really like too many sauces, steps or processed anything and get an organic veggie box weekly. It's been great to put the focus on creating a meal around the vegetables instead of the protein. I will post the pumpkin lasagne for Meatless MOnday.

    Me no likey blood anything! The South Americans here always have the blood sausage as part of their barbecue. I find it even funnier now that you told me the blood pudding producers marketed the product towards meat eaters!

    C Ya girl!

  10. I've never heard of vegetarian suet, Mango. You always surprise me with the range of ingredients you use. It looks quite tasty.

  11. Whoa! That looks awesome! I might be biased. I love anything with mushrooms. :)

  12. Hi LaDivaCucina.

    Some people have been having problem with blogger recently, so Have I in relation to posting comments. So sorry to read you had to poast your comment again. Funny as you rewrite the comment again, the words change a little.

    I honestly, hand on heart know you were not putting me in a box and simply wanted to know whether I ate cheese and eggs and I do. I honestly know you wanted to know this, but i have had others readers make comment, so felt your comment gave me the opportunity to share. I hope it didn't come across too bad, its always sounds worse in writing than saying it for real. Its nice to meet another cook who is hard too, I guess. So envious that you have lived in a number of places and have had the opp. to sample other ethic and regional american foods. I too like comfort foods that are simple yet packed with flavour. Sound like we are alike here. Liking our big flavors.

    I am looking forward to seeing your pumpkin lasagne for Meatless Monday. Kind wishes to you.

    Wow Barbara GF.
    I honestly thought you may have heard of vegetarian suet, so am now pleased that you know. It does add something to the pastry texture for sure.

    Thank you Vic.
    I know your a mushroom man :)

  13. This looks great thanks - been wondering what to cook for Christmas dinner


    1. Do hope you give it a whirl, maybe try a version before the big day then you can tweak it to suit your tastebuds. Happy eating and please visit again. Its nice to bump into new fellow bloggers.


If you’ve tried one of my recipes, Please let me know by leaving a comment below or tagging me social media with @SeasonalShaheen.

Thank You