Satisfying, flavoursome and meat-free, this savoury roulade is just the thing after an indulgent festive season

After the excesses of Christmas it can be a relief to investigate the kitchen garden or veg box in search of something meat-free. But punitive dieting isn’t my thing. Mrs Portly, remember? It’s all in the name.

So this, while a beautifully light dish to eat, isn’t going to whittle down your waistline. If you’re feeling guilty afterwards I recommend a healthy walk. It’s a savoury roulade and, while it’s made like a Swiss roll, it’s not a sponge, but closer to an ethereal omelette. It’s still sturdy enough to roll, though, and the filling is a combination of sweet and sour and earthy pumpkin and chard with a soothing lactic layer of goat’s cheese.

Great British Life: Chard is delicious and nutritious in the middle of winter.Chard is delicious and nutritious in the middle of winter. (Image: Linda Duffin)

Don’t be put off by the length of the ingredients list. You can make the fillings, or indeed the entire roulade, the day before you want to eat it. Just allow time for it to come back to room temperature if you’ve refrigerated it. Add a salad on the side and you’ve got a light lunch or a rather elegant and interesting supper party starter.


You will need a swiss roll tin approx 23cm x 30cm

For the roulade: 60g butter, 50g plain flour, 250ml milk, 4 eggs (separated), 40g grated parmesan, plus more to garnish

Filling 1: 150g soft goat’s cheese, 1 tbsp creme fraiche, 3 tbsp grated parmesan (optional, if the goat’s cheese is very mild), 2 tbsp chopped parsley, zest and juice of ½ lemon.

Filling 2: 400g butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1cm dice), a small bunch of chard (washed and dried), 1 bunch spring onions (trimmed and finely sliced), 2 cloves of garlic (peeled and finely sliced), 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp finely chopped sage leaves, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

Make the fillings first. For the goat’s cheese layer, just mix all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate. Now strip the chard leaves from the stems and slice them finely. Trim the stems and cut into 1cm dice. Keep separate. Melt the butter and oil in a large frying pan and add the diced butternut. Season with salt and black pepper and saute gently, stirring occasionally, until the squash is soft and its edges have caramelised. Halfway through, add the chard stems, garlic and spring onions, stir and continue to cook.

Once the squash and chard stems are tender, stir through the shredded chard leaves, put on a lid and allow to wilt. Remove the lid, stir in the sage leaves and deglaze with the balsamic vinegar, turning up the heat a little so there’s almost no liquid left in the pan. Check the seasoning and set aside to cool.

Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas Mark 5. Oil the swiss roll tin and line it with a sheet of oiled baking paper. Melt the butter in a saucepan until foaming. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two until it’s bubbling gently, then remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk until it’s smooth and combined. Place back on the heat and cook, stirring, for five minutes until thickened. Add the grated parmesan and cook for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat.

Great British Life: Butternut squash makes this roulade tasty and satisfying.Butternut squash makes this roulade tasty and satisfying.

Separate the eggs. Place the whites in a clean, dry bowl and use an electric whisk to beat to stiff but not dry peaks. Set aside. Once the cheese sauce has cooled enough that you can comfortably place your hand on the side of the pan, beat the egg yolks into the sauce one at a time.

Add a third of the egg white mixture, cutting it in gently with a metal tablespoon until blended. Add the remaining egg white and fold until combined. Pour straight into the lined swiss roll tin, tipping the tin so it reaches the corners. Tap the tin on the counter gently to make sure it’s level. Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the filling is risen and golden. Don’t overcook it or it will be hard to roll.

When done, remove from the oven and loosen the sides with a palette knife. Place a sheet of baking paper the size of your tin on a clean tea towel and turn out the roulade. Remove the lining paper and let the roulade cool for a couple of minutes. Spread with the goat’s cheese filling then scatter evenly with the butternut squash mixture. Starting at a short end and using the baking paper to guide you, roll as tightly as you can into a cylinder. Place it seam-side down on a serving board or plate, and grate over a little more parmesan. Eat at room temperature.