For people who care about their food

A truly revolting vegetarian haggis

Vegetarian haggis made according to the Vegetarian Society's recipe

Vegetarian haggis? Hmmm. I’m not a vegetarian but my local shop doesn’t sell haggis, and I didn’t fancy messing about with sheep’s lungs and stuff. I decided to have a go at making the Vegetarian Society’s vegetarian haggis recipe. Here it is:

Ingredients

  • 100g/4 oz onion, peeled & finely chopped
  • 15ml/1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 50g/2 oz carrots, very finely chopped
  • 35g/1½ oz mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 50g/2 oz red lentils
  • 600ml/1 pt vegetable stock
  • 25g/1 oz mashed, tinned red kidney beans
  • 35g/1½ oz ground peanuts
  • 25g/1 oz ground hazelnuts
  • 30ml/2 tbsp shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 15ml/1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 7.5ml/1½ tsp dried thyme
  • 5ml/1 tsp dried rosemary
  • generous pinch cayenne pepper
  • 7.5ml/1½ tsp mixed spice
  • 200g/8oz fine oatmeal
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C, 375°F or Gas Mark 5

2. Sauté the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, then add the carrot and mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.

3. Now add the lentils and three-quarters of the stock.

4. Blend the mashed red kidney beans in the remaining stock, add these to the pan with the nuts, shoyu, lemon juice and seasonings.
Cook everything, well mixed together, for a further 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Then add the oatmeal, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, adding a little extra liquid if necessary.

6. Turn the mixture into a lightly oiled 1lb loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes.

7. Serve with mashed neeps and tatties.

[Source: from a press release by the Vegetarian Society]

Here’s how I got on. I tasted the mix before putting it into the loaf tin, and it was very, very bland – almost tasteless – so I chucked in the Not Delia favourite cheat ingredient: Marmite (about a tablespoon), some dried parsley and an extra few grinds of black pepper. Yep, better, but still kind of tasteless and a bit textureless. I’ll try again to get this cracked before Burns Night (25 January).

Verdict

Mr Not Delia (not a Scot but he likes haggis) tactfully said that he preferred the real thing. Then disappeared quickly out of the kitchen before being pressed for further comments. That’s not like him, he’s usually hovering around if he thinks he may be able to snaffle something to eat.

And my verdict? I thought it was no less than truly revolting. I’ve had Macsween’s vegetarian haggis and liked it, so a nice, tasty vegetarian haggis is possible. This just wasn’t it. Back to the chopping board…

Edit: As you can see from my comment below, I have had a go at creating my own vegetarian haggis recipe – and I flatter myself that the result was pretty damn good.

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7 Responses to “A truly revolting vegetarian haggis”

  1. Mr Not Delia

    Mr Not Delia (not a Scot but he likes haggis) tactfully said that he preferred the real thing.

    It’s true. This stuff was pretty unpalatable even in spite of ND’s best efforts – and before she added her magic ingredients it was atrocious.

    It was as if the recipe had been devised by a non-vegetarian who assumed that vegetarians were denying themselves meat as some kind of culinary self-flagellation, and that any food they ate should be eaten in a spirit of penance and renunciation of earthly pleasures.

    But it doesn’t have to be like that. For all that I prefer the real thing, I too enjoyed Macsween’s veggie haggis. I was quite shocked to find out that this recipe was created by a vegetarian organisation.

  2. Not Delia

    I think it was all the fine chopping and very fine chopping that removed the texture and made it quite weird. It turned like like a sort of “not meat loaf”.

    It didn’t taste very good either.

    Never mind, I’ll have another go starting from scratch without a recipe. A Scottish peasant like me should probably make a better job of it.

  3. veggie girl

    Funny really, I just googled this recipe to make this year as can’t find my copy and found both the original recipe and this site. I’ve made this recipe for a good few years and we no longer buy a traditional haggis for my carnivore husband to eat as he thinks this recipe is fantastic.

    Not sure why everyone thinks it’s bland – it’s great!

  4. Not Delia

    Hi veggie girl – each to their own, I suppose. I tried making up a new recipe from scratch and thought it was much better. The inclusion of pearl barley seemed to help the texture a lot.

    If you give my recipe a go sometime, please do report back about what you thought of it – even if you didn’t like it.

    http://www.notdelia.co.uk/a-delicious-vegetarian-haggis/

  5. lis0r

    From my experience, vegetarians have blander palates than meat eaters. When I make this, I dramatically increase the salt contents, and add in the spices from some proper haggis recipes.

  6. veggie-non-bland

    @lis0r you obviously know very little about taste. What nonsense of a sweeping statement you make about veggie palates. I can only imagine by increasing the salt content you are trying to kill all veggies! You’ve gotta laugh at some meat eaters – must be the lard blocking their brain cells working! Lol!

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