This Vegetarian Scotch Broth is hearty and filling. This warming and healthy soup will warm your soul. This Scotch Broth is easy to make and is the perfect healthy and homey dinner.
This soup that I am sharing with you today truly comes from my heart. One of the things I am most proud of is my Scottish heritage and ancestry. I try to imbue my culture into every part of my life. Part of the way that I do that is by cooking traditional food. Scotland has a rich culinary history that most people don't know about. Little was written down before the 17th century in Scotland. Conversely, there are only a few surviving food manuscripts from the 17th century, the oldest being dated 1659. Wealthy Scottish women were known to keep recipes in personal manuscripts, which were passed down through the generations.
Scotch broth or something like it, most likely originated centuries ago. This recipe likely pre-dates any written history. Barley, beef, and pottages have been food staples in Scotland since the time of the Picts around 200 AD.
If you’re Scottish, and maybe even if you’re not, you have probably heard of the traditional hearty soup called Scotch Broth. It is not a broth, as suggested by the name. The traditional recipe often contains beef or mutton, barley, split peas, onions, herbs, and a variety of vegetables.
Scotch Broth has become so popular that it is even sold in cans now!
This Vegetarian Scotch Broth recipe is vegan, delicious, and not skimping on any of the hearty flavors.
The ingredients in this recipe are cheap, hearty and filling.
- Green and Yellow Split Peas- Split peas are a dried version of a green pea. You need to use dried, split peas in this soup, fresh peas will not work as they will just get mushy and won't break down and thicken the soup like the split peas will. Split peas are high in protein and fiber, and low in fat. There is no need to soak split peas before cooking, and they turn very creamy when cooked through. There is no major difference between the green and yellow split peas, I like to use both to add more color to the soup but feel free to just use green split peas if you have them.
- Red and Green Lentils- The lentils in this recipe alongside the peas help to thicken the recipe, provide a healthy dose of protein and give the recipe bulk. You don't have to use both types if you don't have them on hand. If you choose to just use one type, I would recommend using the green lentils as the red lentils will break down more in the soup.
- Root Vegetables- This recipe uses parsnips, turnips and rutabaga's which are traditional root vegetables that are found in Scotland. These root vegetables also help to keep the carb count lower as they have a lower amount of carbs than other root vegetables. However, if you don't have these on hand, feel free to substitute them for russet potatoes.
Please see the recipe card for full ingredients and quantities.
- Wash, clean and peel the root vegetables and dice the onion and carrot.
- Sauté the root vegetables and onion over medium heat until they start to soften, about 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse the peas and the lentils running your hands through to remove any pebbles.
- Add the garlic, spices, peas, and lentils and vegetable broth to the Dutch Oven and bring to a boil.
- Cover and reduce to a rolling simmer for about 1 hour until the lentils and peas are cooked through and soft.
- Five minutes before serving add in the chopped spinach and stir to combine.
- Ladle and serve into bowls with rustic, crunchy bread.
Hint: To save on time, you can buy a prepackaged soup mix like this one here. It has all of the lentils and split peas and you don't have to worry about purchasing multiple ingredients. Just follow the directions.
- Barley- Traditional Scotch Broth is made with barley. If you aren't gluten-free, feel free to try it with barley instead of lentils.
- Potatoes- In America, we more commonly use potatoes instead of other root vegetables such as turnips and rutabagas. Feel free to use potatoes if that is what you have on hand.
- Leeks-Feel free to swap the onion for leeks if you want a milder flavor.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Set the function to sauté, and then sauté the onion in a bit of oil until tender.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except for the spinach and move the pot to pressure cook mode.
- Pressure cook for 15 minutes and then let it natural release. Once the pressure cooker has released, stir in the chopped spinach until wilted.
- Add all of the ingredients to the crockpot except for the spinach and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
- 10 minutes before serving, stir in the spinach until wilted.
Check out this other delicious soup recipe!
Sure! Make sure you leave out the rutabaga, carrots, and parsnip and double up on the turnips and add some other lower-carb vegetables like jicama.
Yes, this soup is gluten-free. Traditional Scotch Broth uses barley which contains gluten, however, we subbed that out for lentils and lentils are 100% gluten-free.
This Scotch Broth recipe tastes earthy and hearty. Full of root vegetables, the taste will be very earthy and full of umami flavor.
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. See below for the ingredients you will need!
- Dutch oven
- Chef Knife
- Vegetable Peeler
Store the soup in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. This is the perfect soup to eat as leftovers or for meal prep.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
- When cutting root vegetables, having sharp knives is the key. Make sure to keep your knives sharp and well maintained. I get mine sharpened often to keep them in good shape.
- There is no need to soak the lentils and peas beforehand, they will cook with the soup. However if you want to make this soup in half the time, you can soak the lentils and peas overnight to rehydrate them. It will cut the cooking time to around 30 minutes.
- I like to keep this soup on the brothy side but if you want a really thick, creamy soup, feel free to blend half of the soup and pour it back in the pot.
Vegetarian Scotch Broth
- ¼ cup dried Green Split Peas
- ¼ cup dried Yellow Split Peas
- ¼ cup dried Red Lentils
- ¼ Cup dried Green Lentils
- 2 large Parsnips
- 1 large Rutabaga
- 1 large Turnip
- 1 cup frozen diced Spinach
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 3 Carrots
- 8 cups Vegetable Broth
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Basil
- 1 teaspoon Sage
- ½ teaspoon Mustard Powder
- Start by washing and cleaning your root vegetables. With a vegetable peeler, peel the parsnip, rutabaga, turnip and carrot and dice them. Dice the onion. In a large dutch oven, saute the root vegetables and onion over medium heat until they start to soften, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, spices, peas, and lentils to the pot. Cover the mixture with vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer for about 1 hour until the lentils and peas are cooked through. You will know that the soup is ready when the peas and lentils are soft and the soup has thickened considerably.
- Add in the chopped spinach and stir to combine. Ladle and serve into bowls with rustic, crunchy bread.
- Low Sodium - Use a low sodium vegetable broth or make your own!
- Traditional - To make this soup more traditional, use barley and mutton instead of lentils.
- Potato - If you aren't a huge fan of the root vegetables used in this recipe, try switching out the rutabaga and Turnip for potato. The soup will take on the same texture and taste.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove