Hearty Vegetarian Scotch Broth Recipe

Vegetarian Scotch Broth in a bowl

Scotch Broth is just as hearty and tasty as it sounds! It was traditionally made with a meat broth base and filled with root vegetables and barley, plus cabbage or kale to finish it off. It’s as ingrained in Scotland’s cuisine as haggis and, like haggis, it has a delicious vegetarian alternative!

Of course, you can choose to make your own stock but with the availability of pre-made stock these days many people choose to go down this route for their soups rather than making a broth from scratch. This also makes it easy to switch it from a meat-based soup to a veggie or even vegan one!

What is Vegetarian Scotch Broth?

Vegetarian Scotch Broth is just as wholesome and every bit as tasty as its meaty inspiration. It draws its flavour from a wealth of vegetables, stock and barley.

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Vegetarian Scotch Broth in a bowl - Hearty Veggie and Barley Scottish Soup

The History of Scotch Broth

A recipe for Scotch broth was first recorded in the 1800s but had been in Scottish homes for centuries before that. Recipes in Scotland were often passed from family member to family member pre 17th Century. As you can imagine there was very little requirement to publish cookbooks.

This is how soups like Scotch Broth, Tattie Soup and Scottish Lentil Soup all became so well known in Scotland and then the world! Family members travelled but took their knowledge of their families recipes with them.

A vegetarian Scotch Broth recipe isn’t a new thing either, many Scottish recipes were adapted due to a lack of meat at the time when times were particularly hard.

Often vegetarian versions of Scottish dishes, such a Vegetarian Haggis, get accused of not being traditional. In the case of haggis, a veggie recipe is a newer variation, but soups have been adapted since soups began!

Vegetarian Scotch Broth in a bowl with bread and a book

Things you’ll need to make Vegetarian Scotch Broth

Ingredients for Vegetarian Scotch Broth

Serves 4-6

  • 2 carrots (100g)
  • 1 onion (100g)
  • 1 stick of celery (100g)
  • 1 leek (100g)
  • 1 small neep (150g)
  • 110g pearl barley (1/2 cup)
  • 70g split dried peas – ideally green but yellow is fine (1/3cup)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2.5 litres of vegetable stock
  • 30g butter/oil (2tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 150g kale (a few handfuls) or cabbage
Vegetarian Scotch Broth in a bowl

How to prepare Barley and Split Peas

Pearl barley and split peas here in Scotland often don’t require soaking when you buy them from the supermarket. They can just be put straight into the stock, but do make sure this is the case wherever you buy yours! It should say so on the packet.

Though we used yellow split peas you can use green split peas and get great results. It’s worth noting for the traditionalist that green dried peas were the most regularly used ingredient historically.

How to make Vegetarian Scotch Broth – Step by step method:

Finely chop the onion, leek, and celery. 

Dice the carrots and peel and dice the neep. Try to keep them all the same size to allow for a nice and even cook.

Melt the butter/oil in a large pot. It’s always good to start with the fat whenever you make a soup it helps with the flavour and colours the vegetables.

Add the onion, leek, and celery and allow to sweat for 5 minutes, but not brown. 

Add the carrots, neep, barley, split peas and stock and season. 

Bring to the boil before turning down to simmer for 1 hour or until the barley and peas are soft.

If you’re using cabbage add 10 minutes before the end or 5 minutes for kale. Make sure the Kale/cabbage is soft before serving.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Stir through parsley just before serving. 

Vegetarian Scotch Broth in a blue bowl

Variations

We like this recipe as is but the joy of soups and broths is you can play around with the ingredients fairly easily.

Changing Ingredients

Traditionally Scotch Broth was made with whichever vegetables were available at the time. Not everyone is a fan of Kale so swap it out for cabbage. Have leftover roast potatoes? Chuck them in. Tomatoes on the turn? They’ll fit right in. You may not end up with a “traditional” Vegetarian Scotch Broth but you’ll have tasty soup!

Broth Mix

We have heard of people using a broth mix rather than make their own, this, of course, is perfectly reasonable and vegetarian broth mixes can be found in most supermarkets. They contain things like pearl barley, split peas, and sometimes lentils. It takes a little of the time out of it but we haven’t tried one to recommend one, sorry!

Slow-cooker Soup

Vegetarian Scotch Broth is perfect for the slow cooker, add all the vegetables apart from the parsley and kale and cook for 5-8 hours. Cook time depends on the individual slow cooker but we’ve done ours overnight and it’s great the next day. Stir through the parsley and Kale just before serving.

Vegetarian Scotch Broth in a bowl

Frequent questions

How long does Vegetarian Scotch Broth last?

Vegetarian Scotch Broth will last for 3-4 days in the fridge. Add a little water when reheating if the broth has thickened up.

Can you freeze Vegetarian Scotch Broth?

Vegetarian Scotch Broth can be frozen for up to 3 months. Let it cool, then store it in serving-sized portions so you only have to defrost what you need. We suggest labelling each portion with the date it was frozen.

What do you have with Vegetarian Scotch Broth?

Vegetarian Scotch Broth, like any good soup, goes perfectly with a good crusty bread but there are some other ideas that could really bring a little taste of Scotland to your table. All of the below can be adapted to be vegan very simply too.

Bannocks – Bannocks are a scone-like bread that’s both heavy and flat with a not surprisingly oaty or barley wholesome taste that suits most savoury dishes.

Oatcakes – Oatcakes are a traditional cracker made out of oats that can be found in shops and restaurants all across Scotland

Tattie Scones – A tattie scone is a not always found with soup but we love them and would happily dip them in a Scotch Broth!

Vegetarian Scotch Broth in a bowl

More Scottish Soup Recipes

Yield: 4-6 Servings

Vegetarian Scotch Broth Recipe

Scotch Broth Recipe

Vegetarian Scotch Broth is just as wholesome and every bit as tasty as its meaty inspiration, drawing its flavour from a wealth of vegetables, stock and barley.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots (100g)
  • 1 onion (100g)
  • 1 stick of celery (100g)
  • 1 leek (100g)
  • 1 small neep (150g)
  • 110g pearl barley (1/2 cup)
  • 70g split dried peas - ideally green but yellow is fine (1/3cup)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2.5 litres of vegetable stock
  • 30g butter/oil
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 150g kale (a few handfuls) or cabbage

Instructions

  1. Finely chop the onion, leek, and celery. 
  2. Dice the carrots and peel and dice the neep. 
  3. Melt the butter/oil in a large pot.
  4. Add the onion, leek, and celery and allow to sweat for 5 minutes, but not brown. 
  5. Add the carrots, neep, barley, split peas and stock. 
  6. Bring to the boil before turning down to simmer for 1 hour. 
  7. If you’re using cabbage add 10 minutes before the end or 5 minutes for kale. 
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  9. Stir through parsley just before serving. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 138Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 1276mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 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.

2 thoughts on “Hearty Vegetarian Scotch Broth Recipe”

  1. Your vegetable soup looks very hearty and full of goodness. I have always enjoyed making and eating vegetable soup, I don’t miss meat in it at all, it tastes delicious 🙂

    Reply

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