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The Party Vegan's Chestnut Bisque Recipe

The Party Vegan's Chestnut Bisque Recipe

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This rich velvety soup is a wonderful way to begin this festive meal. (Peeled chestnuts are sold at Asian markets at a fraction of the cost in supermarkets.) For a thinner but still rich soup, add up to one cup of almond milk close to serving time.

Adapted from "Party Vegan" by Robin Robertson.


  • 2 ½ cups or one 14-ounce jar cooked and peeled chestnuts*
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Finely minced celery leaves, for garnish


Thinly slice 4 of the cooked chestnuts and set them aside. In a large saucepan, heat the 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onion and celery. Cover and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes.

Add the remaining chestnuts, parsley, thyme, broth, and salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the reserved sliced chestnuts and cook until browned on both sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

Puree the soup in a blender, in batches if necessary, and return to the pot. Reheat over medium heat until hot, add the brandy, if using. If the soup is too thick, add up to ½ cup more broth or up to 1 cup of almond milk. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with celery leaves and the reserved chestnuts.

*Note: If using fresh chestnuts, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use a sharp paring knife to cut an "x" on the flat side of each chestnut shell. Arrange the chestnuts on a baking sheet and roast until the shells begin to curl open, 15 to 20 minutes. While the chestnuts are still warm, remove the outer shell and inner skin of each chestnut. The chestnuts are now ready to use.

Click here to see A Vegan Holiday Dinner from the Party Vegan.

Recipe: Chestnut Mushroom Bourguignon

Juicy chestnut mushrooms cooked in a rich and glossy red wine gravy. this is a warm, comforting dinner which has the added bonus of leaving two thirds of a bottle of red wine going spare for a cosy night in.

This is the latest in my '20 Minute Meals' series, and is suitable (as always) for both vegetarians and vegans. Make sure you cook the bourguignon over a fairly high heat, it should be bubbling vigorously throughout to ensure it reduces to its thick, glossy sauce before your 20 minutes are up.

This is delicious served with mashed potato spiked with wholegrain mustard, or for a protein boost, make butterbean mash instead.

Or how about turning this into a showstopping Sunday lunch by covering it with homemade rough puff pastry to make a rich red wine pie? Or using the mashed potato as a topping to create a rich and boozy 'posh' Shepherds' Pie? Yum!

This recipe also features in my 4-week Vegan Meal Plan which includes a full shopping list for each week - here's a quick overview:

Party Vegan

You don’t have to blow your budget to eat great meatless and dairy-free meals every day.

If you like having company over and you are vegan or have vegan family and friends, this is the book for you! In Party Vegan, you’ll find 25 exciting, inventive menus with 140 animal-free recipes for every occasion, from holiday meals and birthday parties to potluck dinners and Super Bowl shindigs—and the dishes are delicious enough to satisfy vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike. Everything you need to host an unforgettable event is right here in this one-of-a-kind cookbook and party planner.

For any occasion, Party Vegan has you covered. Whether you’re hosting a sophisticated cocktail party or just having a few friends over for dinner, you’ll find vegan options that even omnivorous guests will love. Get the party started with healthy, simple, and tasty vegan recipes like these:

I’m wondering if there might be another nut that would be suitable for this recipe. Sounds delicious but chestnuts are not readily available for me.

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Oh look, another Christmas nibble. I’m not sorry. Finger food is what I live for, so I assume most of you vegans feel me when I just want to make more and more snacks! Following my Spelt Pretzel Sausage Roll recipe (which is to die for, by the way), I have bought to you Festive Chestnut Bites. These savoury Christmas treats are creamy, moreish and perfect for finger food over the holiday period, which I can’t believe is already upon us!
Time has flown crazy speeds over the last two months and here we are just a few days from Christmas day itself! I better get wrapping! Although I don’t get excited about anything until it is actually happening – sad reality of being a take-it-as-it-comes kind of gal – I am looking forward the vast amounts of food throughout the Christmas week where calories don’t matter and I am quite literally forced to eat delicious food no matter how full I am. I know everyone goes through this over Christmas, but me and my family feed the thousands. What makes it worse is that everyone is such good cooks, therefore the food is too great to deny! Tough life I lead…

I’m going out with a bang. This is my last Christmas recipe of the year. Over the last month, I’ve been trying to twist a festive theme through my recipe, producing more savoury recipes like: Cranberry Stuffing Festive Pot Pies, Sage Onion and White Bean Soup & Split Pea and Squash Stew. I’ve also treated your sweet tooth with: Gingerbread Tiramisu, Almond and Cranberry fudge & Caramel Apple Milkshakes . To top off your Herbivores Xmas, I’ve given you a present! Have you not heard? I’m giving away a Vitamix Professional Series 750! This machine is to die for, so make sure you head over to this Instagram post to enter!

Enough about the other Christmas stuff, let’s talk about these bad boys! Chestnuts are the taste of Christmas for me. These nuts are so creamy and have such a distinctive, woody flavour. The chestnuts are combined with onion, garlic and winter spices, then rolled in cornmeal for a crispy coating. This recipe is so simple, it won’t add to your cooking stress on Christmas day! After tasting these, you won’t believe how simple they are to knock up!

Save yourself a hassle and grab pre cooked chestnuts. Merchant Gourmet sell roasted chestnuts ready for eating – simple. I love this product and recommend for this recipe and any other chestnut recipes you have planned over the Xmas period!

Get rolling up your Chestnut Bites and satisfy your bellies. Hot or cold, these mini bites are great whatever temperature!

How to cook chestnuts

You need to remove the chestnuts from their skins by either boiling or roasting them. For both options, first make a small incision in the skin or you’ll have a house full of chestnut shrapnel as they will explode. If cooking over an open fire, keep one whole as when this explodes you know the others are done (not a method for the overly house proud!).

Once cooked, peel off the tough shell and the papery thin skin underneath. Peel the nuts whilst hot (it’s impossible to peel a cold chestnut!) to ensure the complete removal of the inner brown furry skin, called the ‘tan’, which is bitter.

Read this guide for more information on how to roast chestnuts and see our recipe for roast chestnuts.

We’ve got plenty of inspiration for cooking chestnuts in a range of sweet and savoury meals…

Vegan mushroom, chestnut and thyme pithivier

If you need to cater for vegans over the festive season, try Karen's showstopper main course pithivier which is sure to please. Filled with chestnuts, mushrooms and thyme, carnivores will be jealous of what's on offer.

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Christmas is not far away now and I was thinking about alternative main course recipes the other day, as two of my dinner guests on the big day are vegan now, I can cope with vegetarian recipes, I was vegetarian for about five years and my mum and sister are also veggie, but I have never had to cater for a vegan guest before, so I rose the challenge to create a fabulous “showstopper” style main course that will tempt, excite and please.

Looking over the channel to France and remembering an article I read about most prepared “shop-bought” puff pastry being suitable for vegans, I decided to make a “Pithivier” which is essentially a French puff pastry pie. A Pithivier pie is always round and has an attractive “sunbeam” pattern cut into the pastry lid before baking which gives it the distinct pattern that makes it a Pithivier pie. It is commonly assumed that pie got its name as it originated from the town of Pithiviers in Northern France, and having been there, they certainly had a lot of Pithivier pies on sale, so maybe it’s true!

My special recipe for Vegan Mushroom, Chestnut and Thyme Pithivier turned out so well that even the carnivores want a slice of pie too…..which is always a good sign when food is so tasty despite its dietary or culinary genre. I used a bag of mixed frozen mushrooms that included shitake, chanterelles and chestnut mushrooms with a few other varieties added for colour, shape and texture. I know that you can also buy these mushrooms in tins too, which is handy to know as a tin of these in the pantry will be a godsend over the festive period for vegan or vegetarian recipes.

As well as the mixed mushrooms, the filling has shallots, garlic, chestnuts, Madeira and fresh thyme in it which made for a very decadent and rich pie that has all the right attributes for a special celebratory meal. Serve this pie with all the usual trimmings such as cranberry sauce, stuffing and vegetables for a delicious and special vegan main course that will be just as tempting to everyone else at the Christmas dinner table!

NB: DO check that the puff pastry is vegan - I used Jus Rol Puff Pastry Ready Rolled which is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.


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As well as creating new recipes, I spend a lot of time tweaking and updating older recipes to improve them, add new photos or to make instructions even clearer. Here are a few I have been working on recently:

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