Make this quick and easy recipe for vegan haggis from scratch all year round – not just on Burns Night.
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Calories: 210 calories per serving (approx.)
What is Vegan Haggis?
Visit Scotland rightly say that traditional haggis is ‘not a beauty queen’. The meat-free version is no looker either. But like a lot of British food (specifically Scottish food in this case) while not pretty, it is a truly delicious dish made of humble ingredients:
- Pearl Barley
The finished product is nourishing, filling, sausagey, spicy and a little bit sweet.
Both the meaty and vegan versions are traditionally served on Burns Night with ‘neeps and tatties’ (aka swedes and potatoes) and fiery Scotch whisky. But this underrated delight should be eaten throughout the year. As well as being incredibly versatile (look at my recipes for vegan haggis sausage rolls and keema curry) it is a strong contender for the best vegetarian roast or Christmas Dinner.
How I Came up With This Recipe
In the UK, ready-made vegetarian/vegan haggis is mainly available in supermarkets on the run-up to Burns Night. If you want to eat it out of season, you must buy it online or make it yourself. Most recipes are simple but time-consuming and require hard-to-find ingredients. This store cupboard version is quick, easy, cheap, very tasty and made using ingredients in your cupboard, or that you can easily pick up in the supermarket.
This might not be Felicity Cloake’s ‘Perfect Vegetarian Haggis’, but at 45-minutes from start to finish, this will be the version you will be making throughout the year.
Mushrooms:You will notice that I have used canned mushrooms. Normally I wouldn’t touch these with a barge pole, but in this recipe, their squishy, chewy texture works. They provide ‘meatiness’ and their unpleasant aspects are lost in the final thing. They save you a few minutes cooking time, and with pre-sliced, you can save a few minutes prep too. But If you understandably cannot tolerate tinned mushrooms, you can replace them with fresh or dried. Both these alternatives will take longer to cook.
Pulses: I recommend using pulses that have a dark, earthy flavour and a bit of bite, such as green lentils, black beans, adzuki beans or borlotti beans.
Oats: I use rolled porridge oats which have a nice texture. The fantastic Felicity Cloake uses pinhead oatmeal in her recipe, which would certainly help with that crumbly texture but takes considerably longer to cook.
Vegetables: If I can get them, I use canned chopped mixed vegetables, made up of potato, swede, carrots and peas. If I cannot get mixed vegetables, I use chopped canned carrots. Fresh vegetables, like swede, carrots, parsnips or celeriac would all work but require extra prep and cooking. Tinned, while not as sophisticated, are more convenient.
Pearl barley: I use dry pearl barley in this recipe. Canned, pre-cooked barley, while pricey, can be thrown straight into the pan and reduce washing up – always a plus in my book. You can also use pot barley, a chewy whole grain that takes a little longer to cook. An alternative is brown rice. While not quite as good as pearl or pot barley, it has a chewy texture and a nutty flavour that works well in a pinch.
Spices:I have used simple, convenient store cupboard spices, but you can play around with what you have. Switch dried mixed herbs for dried or fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage. Substitute your allspice for some mixed spice, or even Chinese five-spice. Throw in some fennel or carraway seeds. Nigella seeds add a spicy, savoury, meaty flavour. Black pepper is a must.
Why This Recipe Is Better Than Buying It Ready-Made
If you are wondering where to buy vegan or vegetarian haggis, don’t bother. Make this veggie haggis recipe instead.
- At 45 minutes, it is quicker to cook from scratch than cooking a ready-made version.
- This recipe produces 800g, as opposed to the ready-made’s 500g
- This recipe makes vegan haggis is available all year round.
- At 210 calories per portion, this is a low-calorie recipe.
- Tin opener
- Measuring spoons
- A large pan
- Wooden spoon
- Extra pan for cooking barley
- Measuring scales
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Yield: Produces around 800g / 28oz of vegan haggis and serves four
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 285g / 10oz can mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 400g / 14oz can black beans or adzuki beans
- 60g of dry pearl barley or 120g ready-made pearl barley
- 1 300g / 10.5oz can chopped carrots or 1 300g / 10.5oz can of chopped mixed vegetables.
- 80g of rolled oats
- 1 onion, grated or finely chopped
Herbs, Spices and Seasonings
- 1 ½ x teaspoons allspice
- 2 x teaspoons mixed herbs
- 1/2 x teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic paste or 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon Marmite or soy sauce
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- A dash of vegan Worcestershire Sauce, such as Henderson’s Relish or mushroom ketchup (optional).
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- If using dry pearl barley, cook according to the instructions on the packet.
- Fry your onion with oil over a medium heat and fry until translucent and soft.
- Add mushrooms and fresh garlic or garlic paste (if using) to the pan.
- Add the beans to the pan.
- Stir in the beans and mash until they are a little squashed but still have texture. If using lentils, skip this step.
- Add the oats, chopped vegetables, and stir.
- Break a stock cube into your haggis mixture.
- Add all herbs, spices, salt, sugar, sauces and stir to combine.
- When your pearl barley has cooked, combine it with your other ingredients.
- Check the seasoning and add more salt, black pepper or sugar as required.
- If your haggis is looking a little dry and is sticking to your pan, add a little water to loosen and help further combine the ingredients.
How to Serve Your Vegan Haggis
Quenelle and Serve
This is the quickest and possibly easiest way to serve your vegan haggis, and it is what I have done in my pictures. Simply use two large spoons to mould the haggis into a neat oval shape and serve. No extra cooking needed. Find more detailed instructions from Great British Chefs here.
Make a Vegetarian Haggis Loaf
Line a 20cm loaf tin with baking parchment. Pour your haggis into the tin and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 180°C/°F/Gas mark 4. This technique produces a lovely chewy textured haggis.
Burns Night Supper
Serve with classic neeps, tatties and gravy, and of course, a dram of whisky.
Vegan Sunday Roast
You can also serve it as part of a tasty vegan Sunday roast with maple and thyme roast parsnips and vegan mayo mash. I also love it served with braised red cabbage and bread sauce.