We take a look at - and provide recipes for - some of the best traditional vegetable dishes Scotland has to offer.

Scotland has always had a love affair with food and the nation has built up a fair amount of wonderful traditional dishes. With meat and seafood dishes usually taking all of the plaudits, we thought we’d shine a light on some of the wonderful vegetarian dishes this country has to offer.

Clapshot

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Clapshot is a wonderfully versatile dish and is the perfect side for most meals.

Fraser Wright says: “As clapshot is such a simple dish it almost seems silly to write down a recipe for it. Boil turnip and potatoes, bash them, mix with butter etc. However, there are a few things that can make a difference. (F. Marian) McNeill includes chives in her recipe. As she was an Orcadian, and wrote down the first recipe, chives may be an essential component if you are a stickler for authenticity. Finely sliced chives are so pretty, and apart from their flavour, they have the wonderful effect of making this basic dish look extremely appetising.

“The other thing I like to add to clapshot is fried onions, they add a savoury sweetness that transform this dish into something very special. My parents always make clapshot this way when they have haggis and I love it.”

Ingredients

• 1 small swede, roughly 500g, (i.e. the size of a grapefruit)
• 3 medium potatoes, roughly 500g (Desiree are of course the best for mashing, but mealy potatoes, such as Golden Wonder or Records, are what were traditionally grown in Scotland)
• 1 medium brown onion (optional)
• small bunch of chives (optional)
• butter
• salt and pepper
• nutmeg (optional)

Method

1.Prepare the turnip by removing the outer skin, then cut it into small and even cubes.

2.Peel the potatoes and chop them into cubes. Boil both vegetables in salted water in separate pots.

3.Meanwhile peel and slice the onion as thin as you can, then fry it slowly in a pan with a little butter, or cooking oil, until well browned, sweet and crispy.

4.When the turnip and potato are soft, when they can be pierced easily with a sharp knife, drain them and leave them to steam for 5 minutes to help get rid of any excess water.

5.Mash the turnip and potato together in a pot over a low heat, this helps to remove any excess water, and to keep it hot. Add a generous knob of butter, a grating of nutmeg and grinding of black pepper.

6.Stir half the onions through and save the rest for the top. Check for seasoning and serve sprinkled with the remaining onions and chives.

Skirlie

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Peter Hogan says: “Skirlie, also known as Mealie Pudding or White Pudding, is a traditional Scottish dish. When cooked it makes a fantastic accompaniment for meat, pork or fowl, or can be used uncooked as a stuffing for roasts. It’s also served as a vegetarian alternative to haggis, or to meat eaters that don’t relish eating sheep’s heart, liver and lungs.

“Skirlie has many meanings in the Scottish language. The Scottish Dictionary of 1841 defines “Skirl In The Pan” as: the noise made by a frying pan when the butter is put in which prepares it for receiving the meat. The difference, then, between Skirlie and Mealie Pudding is that Skirlie is fried and Mealie Pudding is steamed, although both contain the same ingredients.

“Another great way to enjoy Skirlie is to roll it into balls and cooked in stews and soups. Like dough balls the Skirlie will expand slightly as it absorbs the cooking juices and flavors.”

Ingredients:

• 2oz (50g) Butter
• 1 Medium onion, finely chopped
• 4½oz (125g) medium or coarse oatmeal
• Salt and Pepper

Method:

1.Add butter and onion to a saucepan and gently cook until onions start to brown.

2.Add the oatmeal and cook for 10 minutes stirring regularly so that the fat is completely and evenly absorbed and the oatmeal.

3.Add salt and pepper to taste.

Rumbledethumps

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A dish that’s similar to Irish colcannon, and English bubble and squeak, Rumbledethumps originated in the Borders and is a delicious accompaniment to any meal. Many people use left overs to make it, however to make it truly delicious, it is always better to make it fresh.

“Delicious comfort food that’s perfect for winter.”

Ingredients:

• 500g potatoes
• 1 turnip
• 75g butter
• 250g Savoy cabbage or Kale
• Salt and Pepper
• 25g cheddar cheese

Method:

1.Preheat the oven to around 180 C then mix the mashed potato and turnip into a large bowl.

2. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the cabbage or kale (sliced as thin as you can) and cook until softened, be careful not to burn.

3. Add the cooked cabbage or kale to the potato and turnip and mix thoroughly, adding in the remaining butter as you do so.

4.Place the mashed vegetables in an oven-proof baking tray, sprinkle the cheese on top, cover with a lid or aluminium foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until heated right through.

5. Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 mins or until golden brown on the top.

Scottish vegetable broth

Picture: TSPL

Picture: TSPL

Most Scottish soups tend to be seasonal and take advantage of the bountiful natural larder the country offers and therefore the more famous of Scotland’s soups tend to involve some form of game or seafood.

However, this recipe is for a hearty soup with the flavours of root vegetables and barley with not a fish or chicken in sight. It is especially good as a winter soup.

Tom Kitchin says: “This recipe is a great way to use all of your leftover vegetables from the fridge. 
You can include any vegetables you fancy and add any herbs you have left too. The pearl barley in this soup makes it really filling and the leftovers make a perfect warming lunch for winter.”

Ingredients:

• 1-2 tbsp olive oil

• 100g pearl barely, washed

• 3 carrots, diced

• ½ celeriac, diced

• 2 stalks celery, chopped

• ½ onion, chopped

• ½ clove garlic, chopped

• 1 bouquet garni

•Handful kale or savoy cabbage, chopped

• Parsley, chopped

• 500ml vegetable stock

• Salt & pepper

Method:

1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium-low heat and add one or two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and cook over a medium heat until they are soft.

2. Add the chopped carrots, celeriac, celery and sweat gently for two or three minutes. Add the garlic and sweat for a further couple of minutes. Add the pearl barley and stir to combine with the vegetables.

3. Pour the stock into the pan and bring it to a simmer. Add the bouquet garni and some salt and pepper, then simmer gently for 15 minutes.

4. Add the chopped parsley, taste and adjust the seasoning as required. Add the kale or cabbage , then serve the soup piping hot in big bowls.

Potato Scones

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No Scottish Breakfast is complete with out the wonderful journey man that is the potato scone.

As Perter Hogan explains, this excellent breakfast is easy to make: “This potato or tattie scone recipe requires very few ingredients and is suitable for vegetarians.”

Ingredients:

• Half pound (225g) boiled and mashed potatoes, King Edwards if you can get them.
• 2.5oz (65g) plain or all-purpose flour
• 1oz (25g) Butter
• Half teaspoon salt
• Pinch of pepper
• Quarter Teaspoon of baking Powder

Method:

1.Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender.

2.Drain the potatoes and mash them with the butter, salt, pepper and baking powder.

3.Mix in the flour to make a stiff dough. The exact amount of flour will depend on the type of potatoes used.

4.Roll out the dough on a floured surface to around 5 to 6 mm thickness.

5.Cut into rounds, use a saucer or small tea plate as a guide.

6.Prick all over with a fork and score the dough to mark 4 equal wedges.

7.Cook in a heavy pan or griddle which has been very lightly greased.

8.Cook each side for about three minutes on a medium heat until the scones are golden brown.

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