Tasty Vegetarian Haggis Recipe

The idea of a vegetarian haggis recipe to some Scots is hard to compute and even unthinkable, let alone a haggis that’s vegan!

Why fix what’s not broken after all? Times have changed a lot, and opinions have moved on.

Vegetarian haggis is now common in supermarkets and on menus across Scotland and the majority of Scots are accepting of this as an option to their national dish.

Vegetarian Haggis load on a chopping board

The traditional haggis has a uniquely rich and earthy peppery taste that lends itself perfectly to its most common accompaniments, Neeps and Tatties.

So, I hear you cry, how can a vegetarian haggis recipe do justice to a dish that is famously made of offal, sheep’s stomach, heart and lungs to be exact, without those key ingredients?

Our answer was found by looking past the meat itself to the other traditional ingredients that make the dish so special.

We wanted to recreate the rich flavour and texture that has seen the haggis stay a staple part of Scottish cuisine. 

The secret to the traditional recipe’s delicious taste and our own vegetarian haggis recipe is in the spices, and we’re happy to share it with you.

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Vegetarian Haggis Recipe Pin

What is Veggie Haggis?

Simply put, veggie haggis is a meat-free recipe paying tribute to the famous Scottish Haggis.

It is popular not just with vegetarians but also with people who do not find the traditional offal-based dish appealing. Not everyone wants to try heart and lungs, but many want to try haggis, vegetarian haggis at least allows people to get a similar taste experience. 

Often the meat is the only thing removed from the traditions that follow haggis, it is still often served with Neeps and Tatties and suits a Creamy Whisky Sauce as much as the original! 

And makes the perfect alternative for a Burns Supper if you can’t access the real thing!

Ultimate Burns Night EBook for running the perfect Burns Supper Night.

History of Vegetarian Haggis.

Vegetarian Haggis only became available in shops in the 80s, a blip in time considering the age of the traditional recipe, haggis was first mentioned back in the 15th Century!

Since then it has gained popularity both in Scotland and further afield, particularly in places where meat-based haggis can’t be bought. 

Macsween’s Haggis, a favourite of Scottish Scran, claims to have introduced the vegetarian haggis recipe back in 1984 and they’ve stated that the veggie haggis now makes up to 25% of their sales.

The rise in popularity of vegetarian and vegan diets is deemed the reason for this huge increase and it shows no sign of slowing down.

Vegetarian Haggis with neeps and tatties on a plate

What’s in our Vegetarian Haggis Recipe

There are so many different vegetarian haggis recipes using a wealth of different ingredients. As always, we have tried to keep the recipe as traditional as possible, trying to achieve a veggie dish that celebrates the flavour of haggis.

Below are our brief notes as to why we’ve included some of the vegetarian haggis recipe’s key elements. 

 Pinhead Oats and Split Peas

We used these to recreate the texture that traditional haggis has when cooked. Both pinhead oats and split peas soften but don’t lose their shape, giving the haggis the texture you’d expect.

Some recipes use red lentils or porridge oats but we found that these didn’t hold their shape creating more of a stewed mixture. If split peas are hard to find, then you can use green lentils.  

Pinhead Oats

Portobello Mushrooms

Using these large earthy mushrooms gives the recipe a more wholesome flavour, the mushrooms have a stronger taste and middle fleshy texture.

Marmite

This famous British spread made from yeast extract is a fairly unique flavour and provides a real depth to the flavour balancing out some of the sweetness created by the other ingredients.

It’s a big favourite with our little one so we always have a jar to hand but if you don’t have a jar brown sauce can be used and will still keep you haggis vegan. 

Black Treacle

This may surprise some people in such a savoury dish but Haggis does have a slightly sweet element to its flavour due to the offal used.

You may not notice it in the final dish but combined with the marmite and the spices we use it really works and gives the recipe a greater depth.

If you don’t have treacle to hand, you can use a syrup but add it slowly and to taste, it’s very easy to overpower it.

Mace and Nutmeg

These spices appear in a few different traditional Scottish recipes, including Scotch Pie. They work perfectly together; the mace brings the peppery heat to the dish that is key to haggis, and the Nutmeg balances it perfectly. 

We think this combination of flavours creates the depth and wholesome flavour that a traditional haggis offers.

Our vegetarian haggis recipe isn’t trying to be Scotland’s version of Fakeon, a haggis replacement, but rather a stand-alone dish that serves up the amazing flavours that Haggis has provided for centuries. 

Vegetarian haggis on a chopping board

Does this vegetarian haggis recipe create a vegan haggis?

The recipe is one step away from making its haggis vegan and that step is butter. If you replace the use of butter with a vegan alternative, then this dish is suitable for a vegan diet.

As we use salted butter, you may need to add a little more salt to taste, but this depends on the alternative used to make the haggis vegan.

Things you’ll need to make our Vegetarian Haggis Recipe 

  • Loaf tin (or whichever tin or dish you have to hand to form the shape you’d like.) LINK
  • Digital Scales LINK
  • Measuring Jug LINK
  • Frying Pan LINK
  • Two saucepans
  • Spoon
  • Chopping board  LINK
  • Sharp Knife
  • Baking Tray
  • Tinfoil

Ingredients for our Vegetarian Haggis Recipe

  • 2 Large Portobello Mushrooms (approx 200g or ¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 1 Medium Sized Brown Onion
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 50g Salted Butter – replace to make the haggis vegan (¼ cup + 1 tbsp) – Split this in half.
  • 100g Pinhead Oatmeal (1 cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 55g Split Peas (¼ cup)
  • 55g Pearl Barley (¼ cup)
  • ½ tsp Mace
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp Table Salt
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • 600ml Vegetable Stock (1 cups + ½ cup + 3 tbsp) – We used 3 OXO Cubes
  • 1 ½ tsp Marmite (Heaped)
  • 1 ½ tsp Black Treacle (Heaped)

How to Make Vegetarian Haggis

Place your split peas and pearl barley into two separate saucepans and boil. Split peas for 25 mins and barley for 20 mins. We found it easier to start one five minutes after the other.

Grease your baking tin thoroughly, we used a loaf tin.

Once the split peas and barley are boiling, take out a chopping board and roughly chop the portobello mushrooms

Finely chop the onion.

Grate your carrot.

Chopped carrot, onion, and mushroom ready for vegetarian haggis recipe

Heat your frying pan and, once hot, add 25g of butter.

Fry the onions in the butter until they begin to soften.

Add the chopped mushrooms.

Onion and mushroom frying in a pan for vegan haggis recipe

Once the mushrooms and onion are soft, stir in the grated carrot.

Stir the mix together over a low heat until well mixed.

Make your stock; we crumbled 3 stock cubes into a measuring jug, then, carefully add 600ml boiling water and stirred until the cubes were fully dissolved.

Stir in the Marmite and Black Treacle until they both dissolve fully into the stock.

Add 400ml of the stock to the frying pan.

Add the Oats to the frying pan.

Add the salt, nutmeg, pepper and mace.

Continue to stir while gently heating.

Drain your Split Peas and Pearl Barley, and if you haven’t already, add both to the frying pan. If they are still boiling, then take the frying pan off the heat until they are ready to be added.

Allow the stock to reduce down, stirring gently.

Add 25g of Butter and the remaining 200ml of stock.

Turn up the stove to a medium heat and cook the mix until the stock has reduced completely, stirring often to avoid it catching on the bottom of the frying pan.

Heat your oven to 180 degrees C.

When the mix is cooked through, and the stock has reduced, taste to make sure the flavour is balanced, adding more spices, marmite or treacle as required. The flavour should be warming and peppery with an earthy undertone and a little sweetness.

Spoon the mix into the well-greased loaf tin and place into the preheated oven for 20-30mins, or until the top of the mix is crispy and darkened.

Once the haggis is cooked, take it out of the oven

Place a length of tinfoil over the top of the haggis and then an upturned baking tray. Then, being careful not to burn your hands, hold the tray, foil and tin and gently turn it upside down so you end up with your haggis, out of the tin. on the foil on the baking tray.

Place this back in the oven for 2-5 mins to crisp the outside of the haggis.

Veggie Haggis on a chopping board

Variations

Chilli – Although our vegetarian haggis recipe has a strong peppery taste you can add a little chilli to really give it a kick. A pinch of chilli flakes was enough for us.

Seeds – To move the recipe a little closer to a nut roast, the addition of pumpkin seeds will provide that nutty flavour and a little extra crunch. We suggest roasting them gently in the oven first before adding them to the mix before baking.

Brown Sauce – Haggis and brown sauce go together like chips and ketchup! You can add a little more to the mix instead of marmite or to the top of the haggis when you crisp the outside of the loaf.

We love eating our veggie haggis in a morning roll covered in brown sauce, give it a try. It’s delicious!

Vegetarian Haggis in a bun with brown sauce

And there you have it, our vegetarian haggis recipe full of rich wholesome flavours and peppery goodness just without the meat, perfect!

Yield: 6

Vegetarian Haggis Recipe

Vegetarian Haggis with neeps and tatties on a plate

This vegetarian haggis recipe takes the traditional flavours of haggis and infuses them with a delicious mix of vegetables and grains to create a fantastic haggis substitute! It's also easy to make this a vegan haggis by substituting the butter. You can serve with neeps and tatties just like traditional haggis, in a stack, or even in a roll with some brown sauce. Delicious!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1 Medium Sized Brown Onion
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 50g Salted Butter (replace to make the haggis vegan)
  • 100g Pinhead Oatmeal
  • 55g Split Peas
  • 55g Pearl Barley
  • 1/2 tsp Mace
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 600ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp Marmite
  • 1 1/2 tsp Black Treacle

Instructions

  1. Place your split peas and pearl barley into two separate saucepans and boil. Split peas for 25 mins and barley for 20 mins. We found it easier to start one five minutes after the other.
  2. Grease your baking tin thoroughly, we used a loaf tin.
  3. Once the split peas and barley are boiling take out a chopping board and roughly chop the portobello mushrooms
  4. Finely chop the onion.
  5. Grate your carrot.
  6. Heat your frying pan and, once hot, add 25g of butter.
  7. Fry the onions in the butter until they begin to soften.
  8. Add the chopped mushrooms.
  9. Once the mushrooms and onion are soft stir in the grated carrot.
  10. Stir the mix together over a low heat until well mixed.
  11. Make your stock, we crumbled 3 stock cubes into a measuring jug then, carefully add 600ml boiling water and stirred until cubes were fully dissolved.
  12. Stir in the Marmite and Black Treacle until they both dissolve fully into the stock.
  13. Add the oats to the frying pan.
  14. Add 400ml of the stock to the frying pan.
  15. Add the salt, nutmeg, pepper and mace.
  16. Continue to stir while gently heating.
  17. Drain your Split Peas and Pearl Barley, if you haven't already, add both to the frying pan. If they are still boiling then take the frying pan off the heat until they are ready to be added.
  18. Allow the stock to reduce down, stirring gently.
  19. Add 25g Butter and the remaining 200ml of stock.
  20. Turn up the stove to a medium heat and cook the mix until the stock has reduced completely, stirring often to avoid it catching on the bottom of the frying pan.
  21. Heat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  22. When the mix is cooked through and the stock has reduced, taste to make sure flavour is balanced adding more spices, marmite or treacle as required. The flavour should be warming and peppery with an earthy undertone and a little sweetness.
  23. Spoon the mix into the well-greased loaf tin and place into the preheated oven for 20-30mins, or until the top of the mix is crispy and darkened.
  24. Once the haggis is cooked take it out of the oven
  25. Place a length of tin foil over the top of the haggis and then an upturned baking tray. Then, being careful not to burn your hands, hold the tray, foil and tin and gently turn it upside down so you end up with your haggis, out of the tin. on the foil on the baking tray.
  26. Place this back in the oven for 2-5 mins to crisp the outside of the haggis.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 588mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

The nutritional data in this recipe is provided by a third party and these values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed.

27 thoughts on “Tasty Vegetarian Haggis Recipe”

  1. Hello,
    GREAT to find y’all’s Scotts cooking page!! While looking over your vegetarian hagis recipe, noted the terms “mace”, “pinhead oats” and “black treacle”….what are these? We’re in the US and haven’t seen these before.

    Thank You,
    David and Paulla McLellan
    Georgia, USA

    Reply
    • Hi David and Paulla,

      Some great questions and kind words, thanks for both!

      Mace is a spice that comes from the same plant as nutmeg, you can get it in the States we understand but equally, you could swap it out for nutmeg. The flavour is not the same but similar.

      Pinhead oats are Steel-cut oats in the States, we think, and are readily available.

      Black treacle is, well black treacle! We think in the States it’s called Molasses or blackstrap Molasses but we could be wrong.

      We’ve tried for you guys, we hope this helps!

      Enjoy,
      Phil

      Reply
      • Correct! Pinhead Oats are called Steel-cut Oats in the USA.

        I think regular Molasses is a closer flavor profile to Black Treacle and Blackstrap Molasses is stronger, smokier.

        Mace is available in the US and typically thought of as a baking spice. I can never find it locally, so I substitute Allspice for Mace. We have Allspice berries in every Caribbean and Latin market where I live (S. Florida).

        Thank you so much for this recipe.

        Reply
        • Allspice is definitely NOT mace. (pimento dioica vs myristica fragrans). I’d just double up on the nutmeg, if I were you. Mace is readily available here in the UK but not pinhead or steel-cut oats unless you buy specialist. I suspect that baking spice is allspice. We typically use allspice in sweet things such as cakes. Anyway, I just learned what baking spice is in the US! Quite confusing we use the terms ‘baking powder’ and ‘bicarb. of soda’ interchangeably!

          Reply
  2. Hi, I have made this and it was delicious and filling. Can I make it the day before I need it and put it in the oven for longer to heat up and brown. We will be looking after grandchildren while their parents run a marathon. We need to prep food in advance so we have maximum play time with our boys.

    Reply
    • Hi Hazel! Yes that should be totally fine, just refrigerate overnight as usual. Maximum time with grandchildren is a must! Have fun!

      Reply
  3. I’m gathering the ingredients to make this vegetarian haggis, and I’m wondering about the quantities… The printed version of the recipe says 100g Pinhead Oatmeal, 55g Split Peas and 55g Pearl Barley. When I weigh those out, there’s not very much: two small spoonfuls of oatmeal, and one spoonful each of peas and barley. If I’m planning to use a loaf pan, I’d estimate that 1000g and 550g would be more realistic amounts. Are the numbers correct? Is my scale wrong? Or? Thanks, Bonnie

    Reply
    • Hi Bonnie,

      100g of oatmeal should be about 1 and 1/4 cups, then about 4 tbsp of split peas and of barley. The recipe filled up to around half of the loaf tin or as you can see in the photos. I’m not really sure what’s happened to be honest? 1000g is a whole kilogram so a whole bag (depending on size) which would be far too much to fill a loaf tin with all of the other ingredients!

      Reply
      • Well, you’re right, 400g was way too much barley and split peas after they expanded. I know rice doubles, but I forgot that barley swells even more than that. I just put in 1 cup of each cooked, so I’ll be making several kinds of soup in the coming days. I’m still heating the oven so I don’t have the final result yet, but taste tests have been promising! Mace is a seasoning I haven’t used much, but it is intriguing. Thanks for the recipe! Bonnie

        Reply
  4. Hello! So happy to find this recipe for our first Burns supper celebration! Great to have another January holiday of food and drink and exactly 1 month after Christmas, superb! Writing from Pennsylvania USA. This recipe came out great except I couldn’t quite get the loaf shape to hold in the pan. I realized midway that I think we’re supposed to cook the oats in the hot stock once both are added to the skillet (with vegetables, peas, barley, spices) – right? I accidentally cooked the oats first, like the peas and barley, so what I added was oatmeal with a lot less stock. I also used yeast extract flakes instead of marmite, and “Grandma’s Molasses” for treacle. Overall though this was lovely, especially with the whisky sauce recipe from this site also! Cheers!

    Reply
  5. Hello,
    Looks a good recipe. I was wondering if I could put this into a greased pudding bowl and either boil or steam? I would like to make it look more like a traditional haggis pudding. Also can I substitute another type of sweetener for the black treacle (trying to lose a few calories)?
    Thanks x

    Reply
    • We wouldn’t suggest boiling or steaming it, we think it would fall apart. The treacle is there as a binding agent, so you could use a healthier element but it would both need to add a little sweetness and help bring the dish together. Sorry we can’t be more help. 🙂

      Reply
      • I live in NZ. I’ve just been back to Scotland on holiday where for a hundred crazy family reasons I didn’t have my usual fill of my favourite dish. My mother-in-law comes from Huntly in Aberdeenshire where their butcher long held a ‘Champion of Champions’ title for his amazing haggis. He retired a few years ago but Evelyn still has a few in her well-stocked freezer. It is to die for.
        It’s impossible to bring any meat products back to NZ, they have very strict quarantine laws. I’ve never tried making haggis or vegetarian haggis before but I had a spoonful to taste for seasoning before I stuck these ( treble quantities, one would not be enough in this house) in the oven and it was damned good. They’re now browning up nicely.
        Looking forward to it, many thanks for posting the recipe.
        Linda

        Reply
  6. Just cooked this as I can’t get haggis in Istanbul. My daughter brought out the oats.

    Fantastic !!! Came out a little wet , probably need to reduce slightly further. Added chilli flakes, extra mace and nutmeg (muskat out here).
    So delicious. Many thanks for this recipe.
    And I love the word scran it’s a Royal Marines / Navy slang word for any type of food.

    Reply
  7. This recipe definitely gets 5 Stars.
    I already have a really good recipe for vegan haggis but yours is much much better. I think the addition of split peas and pearl barley makes it exceptional.
    I was very concerned how wet it was at first with 100g pinhead oats to 600ml stock but with patience and a long slow reduction (up to 1/2 hour or more) I finally got it to a right consistency. I was still not sure it would hold together after cooking but I shouldn’t have worried it was perfect, absolutely delicious.

    Reply

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