I was going to call these ‘vegetarian sausage rolls’ but, well, it seemed like a bit of a misnomer. They don’t really have anything to do with sausages, particularly those fake vegetarian sausages. I always feel like if you call a substitute for something the same name as the real thing you’re setting yourself up for failure. Like those sweet potato ‘brownies’. Or seitan ‘chicken’. If you set up the comparison, then the substitute will always suffer. Even if the substitute is something that’s actually perfectly delicious in its own right. This is my long and rambling way of explaining why these are called spinach and sweet potato rolls.
And I’m well aware that spinach and sweet potato rolls isn’t a very inspiring name either. But at least it tells you what you’re getting. And I’m hoping my enthusiasm for these will do the rest because, wow, they are so good. I actually prefer these to real sausage rolls. Something about the gently spiced spinach, the crispy pastry, and the pockets of salty cheese is absolutely irresistible. To me, anyway. I had about four of these straight out of the oven.
These would obviously be absolutely excellent at a buffet or a picnic, even though it still feels far too January to be thinking about such things. But they are also great for packed lunches – they keep well and can be eaten hot or cold. They also make a very satisfying lunch or dinner, alongside some salad or something (or, er, just eaten by the handful).
Adapted from this recipe.
Generous knob of butter
4 cloves of garlic
400g sweet potato
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp tumeric
250g baby spinach leaves
400g can chickpeas
salt and pepper
200g feta cheese
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 bunch fresh parsley
2 sheets of pre-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp nigella/black onion seeds
- Pop your largest frying pan on a medium heat and start to melt your butter. Dice your onion, and pop it into the foaming butter, then turn down the heat and let it cook gently for five minutes. Crush your garlic and add it to the pan. Peel and grate the sweet potato and add this too. Give everything a stir, and let it cook down for around 10 minutes, or until the potato is soft.
- When the sweet potato has softened, stir your cumin, turmeric, and spinach into the pan. Turn up the heat and cook for a couple of minutes, driving off some of the water from the spinach.
- Drain your chickpeas. Either process with 2 tbsp water to make a rough puree, or mash with a fork, as you prefer. Stir the chickpeas through the mixture. Taste, and season. Set the vegetable base aside to cool completely. You can put it in the fridge to speed this along if you like.
- Crumble the feta and finely chop your parsley and coriander. Stir these through the cold vegetable mixture.
- Unroll your two sheets of puff pastry, Halve your vegetable mixture. Put half of the mixture onto one of the pastry sheets. Shape it into a log, positioning the mixture around 1/3 of the way up the sheet, then roll the pastry round the filling. Seal it with beaten egg where the pastry edges overlap. Repeat with the second sheet of pastry and the rest of the mix, so that you have two logs of pastry stuffed with filling. Freeze the pastry logs for 30 minutes to firm them.
- Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 4. Remove your pastry from the freezer. Brush the logs with beaten egg, sprinkle them with the seeds, and slice them into smaller rolls – the size is up to you. I like to slash each roll across the top but it isn’t absolutely necessary.
- Bake for around 25 minutes, or until your spinach and sweet potato rolls are golden, crispy, and smelling amazing.