Vegetarian Recipes Wiki

I like to feel this is close to what a Scottish family really might have eaten in early times as not all poor families could afford meat mid-week every week and that’s also true today. There weren’t many ethical vegetarians in the 19th and early 20th centuries when this originated though cruel factory farming hadn't started then yet either.

I felt like trying a traditional recipe with barley and lentils since the proteins complement each other. I put some red lentils and barley into soak and researched Scotch broth recipes on the web. I found different recipes used different vegetables so clearly a range of vegies that ordinary people used in the 19th and early 20th centuries would work, you can use a range traditional northern European vegetables that you have to hand. [1][2][3]

Vegan version[]

A poor family might have had some tomatoes left over from Sunday or a greengrocer might have been selling very ripe tomatoes off cheap so I felt a small tomato could be authentic. I had plenty of traditional vegetables in the fridge as I had recently been to a local market. I used a small amount of rape seed oil which is healthier than the lard, dripping or hard vegetarian fat that was common in the early 20th century. Also I boiled the lentils and barley separately from the rest of the dsh so I didn’t need to cook the vegetables a long time, the vitamin content is better if vegies aren’t overcooked.

Serves: as many or as few people as you like as the amount can easily be varied. The quantities given here gave me two or three generous bowls.


This is as I made it, you can vary the vegetables.

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • A few stems of celery, chopped
  • 1 fairly large carrot, chopped
  • 1 dessertspoon rape seed oil
  • 1 fairly small tomato, chopped
  • Pearl barley and red lentils mixed together
  • Vegetarian gravy salt as near to the traditional type as I could find.


  1. Soad the barley and lentils together overnight or for at least 8 hours
  2. Boil the barley and lentils together till they are done or nearly done.
  3. Sauté carrot, celery, onion, and tomato in the oil over medium-high heat until they are partially cooked.
  4. Add lentil and barley mixture and boiling water.
  5. Add vegetarian gravy salt to taste.
  6. Serve when the vegetables are just cooked.
  7. As the recipe is here, it’s vegan. Grated cheddar can be added. (Vegan Cheese alternatives probably also work but I haven't tried them.)

Description 1[]

I was surprised how well this came out, I feel it’s a really good vegan recipe. More tomatoes may have improved it but would have made it less authentic.

Vegetarian, non-vegan version[]

Three days later I boiled up the remaining barley and lentil mixture. As it was the third day after it was cooked I wanted to ensure it was well heated. When the mixture was boiling I added first cheese, then carrot, then onion, then runner beans. Everything was boiled and nothing sautéd.

A poor family in the first half of the 20th century may well have eaten runner beans when they were in season. It would have been a different type from the frozen young runner beans I used. A poor family would more likely have bought fresh runner beans that were old and stringy, needed a lot of preparation and slow cooking in a stew. They might also have grown their own runner beans in a garden or an allotment perhaps a friend, neighbour or relative who grew runner beans might given them some. So my dish wasn't completely authentic but I think it was fairly close. This time I used the following, again you can vary the vegetables.

  • Some cheddar cheese
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • Some frozen runner beans chopped
  • 1 smaller carrot, chopped
  • Pearl barley and red lentils mixed together
  • Vegetarian gravy salt as near to the traditional type as I could find.

Description 2[]

It tasted a bit frugal to me. Well what do I expect if I set out to recreate what a poor family might have eaten during a week when they couldn't afford much meat? Still it was a reasonable stew, historically interesting. The barley gave it an unusual and I felt interesting flavour too. Tomatoes whould have probably improved it.


  1. Vegetarian Scotch broth Leaving half over isn't recommended as the vegetables lose their vitamins and aren't better than tinned vegetables by the second day. Eaten at once the recipe is OK.
  2. Veggie Scotch Broth
  3. Meat-Free Scotch Broth Doctors warn against feasting and fasting but the recipe is OK.