Vegan haggis for Burns Night

One of the exciting places we visited on our Campervan travels last year was the birthplace of Robbie Burns, Scotland’s most notable poet whose birthday is celebrated every year in numerous places around the world on 25th January.

Burns cottage

Born in Alloway, near Ayre, the Robbie Burns Birthplace Museum is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. Run by the National Trust for Scotland, the museum is a collection of venues including the cottage where he was born and an interesting museum covering all aspects of his life and career. Then there’s the remains of Alloway Auld Kirk and the Brig O’ Doon that feature in his legendary poem Tam O’Shanter.

Inside Burns cottage

His story from humble beginnings to great success (he insisted on writing in Scottish dialect rather than English, even though his publisher said no-one would buy it!), is also littered with affairs, many children and a very long-suffering wife!

A celebration of Robbie Burns life started in 1801, with a supper held by a group of his friends on the anniversary of his death, 5 years after he died aged 37. Dining on haggis, quaffing drams of whiskey, they read some of his works and celebrated their lost friend. And had such a good time decided to do the same every year, but on the anniversary of his birth. The tradition has continued since and is now celebrated around the world.

Haggis is a very traditional Scottish dish and definitely not plant-based! Made with offal, oats, suet and spices, it used to be cooked in a sheep’s stomach as the casing (now its synthetic) and can be eaten all year round. Vegetarian haggis is also available to buy, but some products still contain suet which is high in saturated fats – not for an anti-inflammatory or low fat diet programme.

It is however easy to make. My husband likes it at Christmas, wrapped in filo pastry. And whilst I’ve not found a good casing to stuff it into, it actually cooks well in a dish without any extras.

I have previously written about haggis; this recipe is much more ordered and hopefully helpful, but still inspired by the recipe from Hendersons in Edinburgh.

Of course, traditionally haggis on Burns Night is served with mashed potatoes and neeps – yellow turnip, or swede. I’m in Portugal at the moment, where you just can’t find swede, so traditionalists please forgive my photo with green veggies 🙂

So if you’re celebrating Burns Night this year and want a tasty whole-food plant-based option, do give this recipe a go. It’s really quite delicious! And hopefully you can still address it as Burns did.

Vegan haggis

A flavoursome fully plant-based 'haggis' recipe full of flavour and texture. Low fat, high fibre and OMS friendly
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Soaking time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4 portions


  • 1 small pyrex bowl
  • 1 medium-sized stainless steel pan
  • tin foil


  • 50 g rolled oats
  • 1 medium red onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 150 g grated carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 75 g mushrooms chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 200 g cooked brown lentils
  • 50 g cooked kidney beans roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper


  • About an hour before you want to start cooking, weigh out the rolled oats into a bowl and cover with water.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of water in the base of the pan and add the onion and a tiny pinch of salt. Sauté over a medium heat for 5 minutes until they start to soften.
  • Add the tamari to the pan along with the grated carrot, chopped mushrooms and garlic. Continue to sauté for another 10 minutes until all the veggies are soft. Stir regularly so the mix doesn't stick to the pan. Water from the veg should come out, but if you have a sticking issues, add a little extra water to the pan.
  • Add the garam masala to the pan and stir well to coat the veg.
  • Drain the oats, discarding the water.
  • Add the cooked lentils, chopped kidney beans and drained oats to the pan. Stir well to combine and simmer for a couple more minutes then turn off the heat.**
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
  • Grease the inside of the pyrex dish with a little olive oil. Transfer the mix to the bowl, pressing it gently to flatten the top. Cover with tin foil
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes (depending on how wet your mix is and how fast your oven bakes!).
  • Remove from the oven and leave to settle for 5 minutes before carefully turning the bowl over onto a board or serving dish. Tap the bottom to encourage the 'haggis' to drop out.
  • Cut into slices or serve spoonfuls onto a plate with creamy mashed potato and mashed swede (or whatever veggie you like if you can't get swede!)


**Alternatively, leave the mix to cool in the saucepan. Grab some filo pastry and cut into a square. Place some mix onto the pastry and wrap it up. Brush with a little olive oil or soya milk and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until crispy and brown.
Keyword Burns night, OMS friendly, vegan haggis

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