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Vegan Mince & Tatties

Updated: Apr 27

We are traveling to Scotland this year, and I couldn't be more excited! But having turned to a plant-based diet just over a year ago, we know that eating healthful vegan dishes while away from home sometimes can be a challenge - perhaps even more so in a foreign country.


So I've gone to work setting up our itinerary... every museum; every castle; every hotel, restaurant and pub, to carefully plan our 10-day trip with plant-based eating on the agenda. I was pleasantly surprised (actually thrilled) to find that many, if not most, restaurants in all the Scottish towns we will be visiting offer not just a few "vegetarian options," but a full vegan menu! Did you know that you can actually order "Vegan Haggis?" In a country that so very much loves their meats in traditional fare, Scottish pub owners and restauranteurs have brilliantly recognized, and are catering to, the public's demand for plant-based menu options in some very creative and drool-worthy ways!


I can't wait to share with you photos and recipes for the lovely dishes that I know are in store for us during our visit. In the meantime, I've been curious about the names I've discovered for some of Scotland's traditional dishes, like Scottish Porridge, Cullen Skink, Neeps & Tatties; the list could go on! Learning what goes into these dishes is key to creating something yummy - 'plant-style.' Just as my daughter and former chef, Amberlee, has mentioned in podcasts, with a little artistic license, many recipes can be transformed into a delicious plant-based meal.


So last night was my first attempt at a vegan version of the popular Scottish dish known as "Mince & Tatties." The traditional recipe includes finely chopped ('minced') beef or other meat and root vegetables cooked with lots of seasonings to a gravy-like consistency. Peas and mashed potatoes are served on the side. It seemed simple enough to convert this basic dish into a vegan delicacy, so away I went!


For the meat, I used Gardein Ground Be'f crumbles, but you could easily substitute two cans of rinsed and drained lentils (I use Italian-style). I was out of carrots (though I wholeheartedly recommend chopping one and adding it while cooking). I also added onion and mushroom. I don't think the traditional versions of this recipe use mushrooms (ever). I did. (I had them in the fridge and wanted to use them.) Honestly, though, it would be delicious with or without them.


So, without further ado, here's my vegan version of Scottish Mince & Tatties. Enjoy!


Mince Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth for sauteing

  • 6-8 Baby Bella or White Cap mushrooms, sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 large (or 2 medium) carrot, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds

  • 1 - 13 oz package of vegan 'beef' crumbles (I use Gardein Be'f brand)*

  • 3 large pinches of kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast

  • 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste

  • 2 Tbsp flour

  • 2 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 cup dark malt beer (Alaskan Smoked Porter or Guinness Extra Stout are great choices)**

  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tsp thyme


Mashed Potato (Tatties) Ingredients:

  • 4 baking potatoes (peeled and quartered)

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup Almond milk (or other non-dairy choice)

  • 4 Tbsp plant-based butter

  • salt and pepper to taste


Instructions:

  1. Start a pot of water boiling to cook the potatoes.

  2. Separately, in a deep skillet, add the onions and 1/4 cup of vegetable broth. Saute the onions for 2 minutes; then add the mushrooms and cook over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes. Add splashes of veggie broth if necessary to prevent sticking.

  3. Add the garlic, carrots, and "beef" crumbles (or lentils) to the skillet. If using frozen Gardein Be'f, add 1/4 cup of veggie broth; cover and cook on low heat until it's thawed. Stir often to prevent sticking.

  4. Add the kosher salt, black pepper, nutritional yeast, all-purpose seasoning, onion powder and red pepper flakes.

  5. Stir in the tomato paste, and sprinkle in the flour. With a spatula, mix all ingredients well.

  6. Add the 2 cups of vegetable broth, the dark malt beer, Worcestershire and thyme. Increase heat until mixture is bubbling. Then reduce to a simmer, and cook 20-25 minutes. Stir often, scraping any burnt bits into the mixture for added flavor.

  7. While the mixture is cooking, place the quartered potatoes into your pot of boiling water, and cook until all pieces are fork tender (15-20 mins). Drain through a colander when done, and drop them back into the pot.

  8. Stir your mince mixture, and check the flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking at a simmer until the liquid is reduced to a gravy consistency. If it seems too watery, continue cooking.

  9. For the potatoes, add the butter, salt, pepper and use a hand-masher. Continue mashing until butter is melted. Then add the almond (or other non-dairy) milk, and continue mashing until potatoes are smooth. Add more milk as needed for desired consistency.

  10. Cover potatoes and set aside in a warm spot.

  11. When the 'mince' mixture is reduced to a gravy consistency, spoon out some mashed potatoes onto a plate or into a shallow bowl. Use the spoon to create a divot in the middle of the potatoes.

  12. Spoon a generous helping of the mince mixture on top of the potatoes, letting some of the gravy drizzle down the sides.

  13. Serve steamed peas on the side.*** I like to put mine in a separate small bowl, but my husband likes to drop his peas on top of the mince and tatties and mix them in!


Bon Appetit! Or, as the Scots say, "Ith gu leòir!"


Notes:

  • *If you prefer not to use vegan meat crumbles, you can use 2 cans of good quality canned lentils. I use Italian-Style from Wegmans. Be sure to rinse and drain them well.

  • **I highly recommend using a dark malt beer in this recipe. The alcohol cooks out, and the flavor is fantastic. But if you would prefer not to use any beer, simply leave out this ingredient. No need to substitute more veggie broth, as it will just take longer to cook down the liquid.

  • ***From what I've learned about this dish, the addition of steamed peas is a must! I served mine on the side, but my husband took his and mixed them in with the dish.




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