Great Britain

Burns Night: How to make vegan haggis


urns Night might be all about ceilidh dancing, wee drams of scotch and tatties, but its most famous addition has got to be haggis.

The traditional Scottish celebration remembers the enduring legacy of the poet Robert Burns and was first organised by his close friends and family as a memorial dinner in 1801.

However the night has since morphed into a country-wide event, cheering Scotland's distinctive culture and heritage.

To mark the special occasion, everyone usually tucks into tatties (potatoes), neeps (swede) and haggis – a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (innards) minced with onion, porridge oats, suet, spices, and salt, then cooked while encased in the animal’s stomach.

But if you're a vegetarian, have renounced meat for Veganuary – or simply can’t stomach the thought of traditional haggis – then there’s no need to miss out on the festivities with chef Aimee Ryan’s meat-free recipe.

Ryan tells The Independent: “I think this recipe would impress those with fond memories of haggis and those with not-so-fond memories of haggis.

“It captures the essence of the classic dish whilst being a wonderful vegan recipe in its own right. This flavourful loaf, packed with plant-based protein, makes a perfect Burns Night dinner, served with the traditional two types of mash.”

1 carrot, peeled and grated

3 portobello mushrooms, finely chopped

1 tsp yeast extract or miso paste

1 x 390g can green lentils, drained and rinsed

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion, garlic and carrot for 3 minutes over a medium heat, until softened.

Stir in the mushrooms, vinegar and yeast extract or miso paste and cook for a further 5-7 minutes.

Add the rice and stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked and sticky. Stir regularly and add more water, if needed.

Stir in the lentils and oats and set aside to cool. Once cooled, stir in the suet.

Tip the mixture onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and work into a log shape, adding a drop of water if it is too dry or crumbly. 

Wrap the haggis with the paper, then add a layer of foil over the top to make it watertight. Put the wrapped haggis log in a saucepan filled with about 2.5cm of water. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour until firm.

Unwrap the haggis and serve with a dollop each of neeps and tatties, plus a drizzle of gravy.

 Extract from ‘Great British Vegan’ by Aimee Ryan (White Lion Publishing, £20). Photography © Jamie Orlando Smith 

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