Roast dinner

What makes a truly great Sunday Roast?

The Sunday Roast: a quintessential British tradition that turns the simple act of eating lunch into a celebration of family, mates, and delicious food. It’s a tradition we take seriously at Greene King, by serving up hearty, soul-warming roasts that capture the homely comfort and culinary craftsmanship that are essential for a great roast dinner. From succulent roast beef crowned with crispy Yorkshire puddings to tender vegan wellingtons, our pubs across the UK are dedicated to bringing you the ultimate Sunday feast.

In this guide, we'll delve into the elements that make a Sunday Roast truly special, showcasing the traditional favourites and modern twists you can find at Greene King pubs across the country. Let’s get crackling!

Two roast dinners

The star of the show

Without a doubt, the meat takes centre stage in a great Sunday roast. Think of the trimmings like a backing group. They're there to harmonise, but it's the prime cuts that really hit the high notes. At Greene King, we offer a choice so that the whole family is happy. But if you’re planning to cook the ultimate family Sunday lunch at home, you’ll most likely have to pick one or two options to serve.

Beef is a showstopper, requiring just the right roast to achieve that tender, juicy middle with a savoury crust. It’s a classic choice, and the kind of main that demands a hearty pour of rich gravy and a fruity ale or red wine that can stand up to its bold flavours.

Pork brings its A-game with skin crisped up into crackling that'll have you fighting for the last piece, alongside tender meat that's all succulence and savoury goodness. Gammon, a bit of a twist on the roast scene, offers up sweetness and saltiness in equal measure. Glazing the meat before roasting it in the oven really helps bring out those layers of flavour that work so well with those traditional Sunday roast trimmings.

However, let's not overlook chicken and turkey – these birds are anything but secondary with their juicy, flavourful meat wrapped in crispy skin that's roasted to golden perfection. They're a lighter option that still packs a flavourful punch, especially when dressed with all the trimmings. Why should turkey be reserved just for Christmas?

No matter which roast you choose to crown your table, remember it's all about sharing those moments that matter with the people who make them special. Here at Greene King, we're all about creating those Sunday memories, one delicious roast at a time. So, gather your loved ones, pass the gravy, and tuck into a meal that’s as comforting as a warm hug. And if you fancy letting us do the cooking, you know where to find us – we’ve got a table ready and waiting, with a roast to make your Sunday the perfect start to a new week.

A vegetarian roast dinner

Plant-based pleasers

Gone are the days when the Great British Sunday roast was just for the carnivores. In recent times, the humble vegetable has been transformed into a star attraction that more than rivals its meaty counterparts. Modern British cuisine has taken plant-based options to new heights, and that goes for Sunday lunches too.

Take the Nut Roast Wellington, for example, a rich and satisfying centrepiece that balances texture and taste so perfectly, that even the meat eaters will be tempted. Then there’s Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato & Cashew Nut Roast, offering a sweet and nutty twist to the traditional roast lineup. For those who love the earthy flavours of autumn, a Beetroot, Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Tart is always a colourful and tasty choice. What about Mushroom & Ale Pie with a subtle touch of tarragon? This hearty, flavoursome option stands tall among the classics, proving that a Sunday roast can be just as indulgent without the meat.

These veggie and vegan alternatives show just how versatile and exciting a Sunday roast can be. There’s no shortage of meat-free twists to the classic Sunday roast, and if you’re looking for some inspiration for a Sunday at home, you’ll find plenty of great veggie roast recipe ideas at BBC Good Food and The Happy Foodie. No matter if you're a lifelong vegetarian, passionate vegan, or simply looking to reduce your meat intake, these alternatives promise a delicious, satisfying roast that doesn't compromise on flavour. At all.

Pouring gravy over a roast dinner

Don't forget the trimmings

Every roast dinner fan knows that the magic of a Sunday Roast lies not just in the succulent meats or hearty vegetarian mains, but in the array of trimmings that accompany them. A great roast is much more than the sum of its parts. Think about it! There’s a reason we call them ‘trimmings’ and not just ‘sides’ like we do with every other dish, right? They elevate the centre of the dish, whether it’s beef sirloin, carved turkey, or a nut roast wellington, and a Sunday lunch simply wouldn’t be the same without them.

In fact, if you ask most people the first element they think of when they hear ‘Sunday roast,’ they’ll likely say crispy roast potatoes, imagining that satisfying crunch. Again though, those roasties, golden and crispy on the outside while soft and fluffy on the inside, are just one reason to love a Sunday roast. There’s the creamy mash, offering a smooth counterpart that matches up with the rich, savoury flavours of the main. Don’t forget the seasonal vegetables, which add a splash of colour and a host of different textures to the plate, and you’ve got the makings of a great roast dinner.

Sage and onion stuffing is another cornerstone of a delicious Sunday feast. And, of course, the main attraction for many roast-lovers is the Yorkshire pudding - a masterpiece of British culinary art, ready to soak up the rich, thick gravy that ties the entire plate together so well. Together, the trimmings build a harmony of texture and flavour that help make a Sunday meal into a ritual to be excited about.

As we've gone through the ins and outs of what makes a truly great Sunday Roast, we realise one thing is missing: the people you dine with. Beyond the food, undeniably tasty as it is, Sunday lunches are about creating those moments that matter with your favourite people. At Greene King, we're passionate about continuing this tradition, offering a welcoming spot where friends and family can gather over a relaxed meal that feels like home.

Our pubs, from those dotted around city centres to our quaint countryside inns, offer something for everyone. From historic taverns with centuries of stories to tell, to modern bars buzzing with charm, the perfect setting for your Sunday feast awaits. And with options aplenty for meat lovers, vegetarians, vegans, and kids, there's no need to spend your Sunday in the kitchen if you fancy a break from the cooking!

So, as the week winds down and you look forward to that cherished Sunday meal, remember, there’s a Greene King pub near you that’s ready to make your Sunday special. Find your nearest pub with our handy pub finder, book a table, and let us serve you a Sunday Roast that could very well become the highlight of your weekend.