Thursday 25 January 2018

Vegetarian Haggis Burgers (vegan option)

Tonight we marked Burns Night with haggis burgers.   E loves any excuse for me to make my vegan haggis recipe.  I love the challenge of trying different recipes with haggis.  Though I have never had meat haggis, I have sat across from E often enough in a Scottish pub and watched him eat what looks very like mince meat.  And as everyone knows, there are a million and one ways to use mince meat.  It is the same with haggis.

Traditionally, Burns Night is a time for Scots everywhere to remember their national poet Rabbie Burns on his birthday.  Burns Suppers are often held with a presentation of a haggis (which is offal, oats and herbs) and listen to a performance of Rabbie Burns "Address to a Haggis", followed by feasting on said haggis.

Incidentally it is also Virginia Woolf's birthday today.  Imagine if we had Woolf's night and Woolf's suppers instead.  I wonder what we would do to celebrate.  Eating prunes and custard in a room of one's own?  But I digress!

I saw that Jac at Tinned Tomatoes made instant vegan haggis, neeps and tatties burgers for Burns Night this year.  (Check out her gorgeous photos of the burgers.)  Being in Australia, we don't have packaged haggis I can buy from the shops like Jac in Scotland.  So I always make it.  Which means I often tinker with the recipe.

I decided to make burgers because I had seen charcoal brioche buns at the supermarket and put them in the freezer until I was ready to eat them.  I needed a fun burger for them.  So I tweaked my regular haggis recipe to make sure it didn't crumble as much as usual.  There was a bit of serendipity involved.  Using more nuts and some potatoes to avoid wasting them.  I added some linseeds and subbed black beans for kidney beans because they hold together better.  And I added breadcrumbs because Sylvia had left out a piece of bread she had rejected.

Despite some initial dreams of battering and deep frying the burgers to make them really Scottish, I kept the burgers fairly plain.  Once you have haggis and charcoal buns you don't need to do much more to impress.  E approved, as you can see from this conversation.

Me: I think it was better that I kept the burger filling plain.

E: That was good.  Not too fancy or fussy.  Maybe some mustard would have been good.  But it is not very Scottish.

Me: Well, I did use mayonnaise, which is not very Scottish.  Actually ... it was not very Scottish at all ... [at this point I showed him the bottle of Paul Newman's ranch dressing that I used because I didn't have any mayonnaise].

E: That's fine.  He did lots of cowboys movies and we love those in Scotland!

Bless!  Just let's not mention that burgers are not particularly Scottish either!  But I did serve the burger with crisps which Scots love.

All in all, I was very pleased with my burger.  It tasted wonderful, even after taking too much time photographing it.  E had finished his by the time I started mine because I told him to eat before it went cold.

Sylvia was nowhere to be seen so no complaints about the colour of the buns or seeds on top.  She might have missed our Burns supper but I suspect she was quite happy being spoilt at her grandparents.  Meanwhile we have heaps of leftovers so there might be some haggis nachos or haggis pizza in the near future.

Check out more ways to serve haggis.

Haggis Burgers
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe

Burger mixture:
1/3 cup (65g) rolled oats
2/3 cup (65g) oatmeal
1 slice of bread, ground to crumbs
1 cup mixed nuts, coarsely ground
60g butter or margarine, approx
2 medium carrots
1 large onion
70g (3 button) mushrooms
325g (5 small) potatoes
400g can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp ground linseeds (flaxmeal)
3 tsp dried herbs
Juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 lime
2 tbsp whisky
1 tsp yeast extract
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
seasoning to taste

oil for frying

To serve:
Burger buns
Tomato sauce or chutney

Melt 30g of the margarine and cook oats, oatmeal, breadcrumbs and nuts for about 3 minutes over medium heat in a large frypan. They are done when slightly browned and you can smell they are cooked.  Transfer to a medium bowl.

Finely chop carrot, onion, potato and mushrooms. (I chopped all the vegetables in my blender and it was quite finely chopped so I needed to drain them in a colander, pressing out as much moisture as possible.)  Melt another 30g of the margarine in the frypan and fry the vegetables and beans for about 5 minutes or until carrot has changed colour.

Return oats and nut mixture to the frypan with the vegetable mixture. Mix in the remaining ingredients and season as required.  Cook another 5 minutes. It should be quite hard to stir.

Take handfuls of burger mixture and shape into round flat patties.  Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in frypan and fry patties in it for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.  Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes, adding more oil if required.

Meanwhile prepare ingredients for burgers and have buns cut in half.  Spread tomato sauce (and butter if you like) onto the bottom of the burger and some mayonnaise on the top half of the bun.  When burger is cooked both side flip onto the saucy burger bun.  Place cheese on top and gently warm under grill so cheese melts.  Top with tomato slices, lettuce leaves and the top half of the bun.

The mixture can also be used for making a loaf - bake at 180 C in a loaf in for 40 minutes.

NOTES: The burger mixture is vegan if you use vegan margarine.  You can build this as a vegan burger if you check if the bun. cheese and mayo are vegan.  Update: I only made 4 and then could not be bothered frying more so the rest was baked as a loaf and put in the freezer but the leftover burgers were great in a toasted cheese sandwich.

On the Stereo:
Scotland the Brave: Various Artists


  1. I didn't realise that it was Burns Night! I'm quite partial to the ready made stuff (and it does make a very good burger!) but I'd be very happy to make a homemade vegan version, especially if I could get some of those gorgeous charcoal buns.

  2. Delicious! Bugger! I saw those charcoal burger buns the other day and should have picked some up. You are right, they would have been perfect for this recipe. Thank you for sharing it :)

  3. Ah, I wish I could have joined you with one of these. I love the buns and the sound of the patties. Happy Burns Night.

  4. I like the look of those haggis burgers, very creative, and the charcoal bun works very well in this context. :)

  5. I have only seen charcoal buns once at a Veggie event and immediately regretted not trying it. Your haggis burger looks good and like you i find it hard to find now living in Wales, so its good to make it from scratch.

  6. I'm not a big lover of Haggis, but the idea of Woolf night sounds great!
    I've never seen charcoal buns before either..... Amazing colour! x

  7. You make your own vegan haggis? That's so cool!
    I love the charcoal buns too. Very pretty for a burger ;)
    The conversation between you and E is quite funny too.


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