Scottish Vegetarian Dishes

Updated July 19, 2017

Scotland is a land of hearty people and rustic, delicious food. An abundance of grains and vegetables grow well in the cool, damp climate and cooks take advantage of local produce. From leek soup to raspberry tarts, a Scottish meatless meal will both fortify and satisfy vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Types of Vegetarians

There are several types of vegetarians and most Scottish vegetarian meals will satisfy their requirements, with vegetarian margarine, soy milk and vegetarian cheese substituted as necessary. Ovo-lacto vegetarians eat eggs, milk, some cheeses, honey and yoghurt. A lacto-vegetarian refrains from eating eggs but will use milk products. A pesco-vegetarian adds fish to their diet, while pollo-vegetarians eat poultry. Vegans will not eat any products derived from animals, including butter, cream and honey.


Scots enjoy full cooked breakfasts with plenty of hot cakes, scones or oats. "Tattie" scones combine mashed potatoes with flour, butter and cheese for a popular baked treat. Oatmeal is often eaten with raspberries for breakfast. Breakfast "cranachan" is made by frying oats until brown, then topping the dish with raspberries, honey, yoghurt and more fried oats.

"Highland brose" offers a substantial breakfast to fuel a busy day. It mixes oats with cream, honey and whiskey. For a final touch, try Dundee marmalade on toast. Made from Seville oranges, lemons and sugar, it adds sweetness and tartness to any breakfast.


Many Scots favour asparagus soup. One recipe from an Edinburgh manuscript dates back to the 18th century and combines asparagus with peas or spinach for a deep green colour. Double cream, a very double cream sold in Britain, is used to add richness. Strict vegetarians may use almond or soy milk for a less robust version.

Lentil broth is a tradition in the Shetland Islands and is made with lentils, carrots, turnips and parsley. A generous dose of black pepper adds seasoning. "Tattie" soup, another favourite, was first concocted by peasants. It is made with old potatoes, pepper, parsley, onions and finely grated carrots. The soup is boiled until thick.

Main Dishes

Yellow and green split pea rice, a main dish for vegetarians, uses cardamom pods, coriander leaves, garlic and saffron for colour and flavouring. Vegetables include peas, peppers and onions along with rice and vegetable stock. To complement the main dish, Scottish sharp-cheddar shortbread is a good choice. It combines flour, butter and sharp, dry cheddar with cayenne pepper for a kick.

"Rumbledethumps" is a simple, delicious peasant meal. Made with potatoes, cabbage, onions, cheese and black pepper, the potatoes and cabbage are boiled until tender. Once placed in a baking dish with a sprinkle of pepper and cheese topping, it is baked until brown.


"Petticoat tails" boast a long Scottish pedigree.The name dates from Elizabethan times, when the wedge shape was reminiscent of the pieces of a petticoat. Petticoat tails are comprised of flour, sugar, butter and rice made into mouth-watering sweet biscuits.

"Flummery" is another old Scottish dessert, with references that date to the 15th century. Made with soaked oatmeal, orange juice, honey, cream and brandy, flummery forms a pudding with a rich orange colour.

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About the Author

Kathleen Cook began her career in 1974 as a writer for the "Port of Call News" and went on to become editor-in-chief. In 2006, she was named fictional religion editor for the Open Directory Project. Cook has written several novels, including "Peekaboo Sun" and "Jane's Remedy," and she currently writes about gardening, culture and family relationships.