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.
For more delicious soup recipes, check out this Vegan Cabbage Roll Soup or this Tuscan Inspired Spinach and Barley Soup.
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
This was perfect on a cooler day. Very filling!
Absolutely chock full of goodness!
Amanda Scarlati says
This was so good and perfect for a chilly fall night. Served it with a fresh loaf of bread and everyone devoured it!
I made this yesterday and it was a bit cooler here and it turned super good!
I just love a good warming soup and this is one of my favorites!
Love this! Can’t go wrong with scotch.
Pam Greer says
MMM...this is so good! We love it!
Amanda Dixon says
We really loved this soup! It was super hearty and perfect for this chilly week we've been happy. Can't wait to dig into the leftovers!
This soup is out of this world. I love the use of lentils instead of barley. It is so fulfilling and perfect for a cold winter night. Thank you for sharing this fantastic Scottish soup.
Just perfect! This is the best vegetarian broth I’ve ever had and so so easy. Loved the herbs and the garlic too. Keeper, thank you!
Oh, I love this! My heritage is Scottish yet somehow I had never heard of this delicious soup! So hearty and filling; perfect for a fall day!
I love how cozy this broth was! It was so flavorful and very comforting! Thanks for this warming recipe!
Gina Abernathy says
This is so hearty and belly warming. So many good veggies and the broth was wonderful. I love rutabagas!
Gabriela Herrera says
This broth is right up my alley I love that it is veggie heavy and so filling.
I love making my own broth but have never tried to make a veggie one before. Thank-you for a great tasting recipe!
Estelle Forrest says
A big ol' bowl on a rainy windy day would be perfection!
I will be enjoying more soup recipes because of our weather, thanks for this. Glad to see a soup full of veggies.
Andrea White says
This is perfect! Just what I needed for this weekend's prep plus this is going to save so much money in the long run!
I thought that scotch broth is broth made from scotch 😂 but I’m glad it’s not. I’ve always loved Scottish traditions. I was happy reading your post. The soup is delicious and so easy to make 🤤. Thanks for bringing us a piece of Scotland 🥰
This is such a delicious and healthy dish.. thanks for sharing… I love all your recipes
This was actually my first time having Scotch Broth! Thanks for the quick history on it. I love how loaded with vegetables it is. So flavorful!
I had bought a Rutabaga without really knowing what to do with it, and this soup paid off! It was delicious! A new ingredient in my kitchen that arrived to stay!
This soup is so hearty and filling! I loved this vegetarian scotch broth. I definitely need to make a bigger batch next time so I could eat on it throughout the week.
I love how comforting it is! Perfect for dinner any night of the week! And it's healthy too!
Perfect healthy soup for colder days!
So glad you enjoyed!
This is a perfect cold weather soup, and I love how flexible it is. So many possibilities with minor substitutions!
Cindy Mom, the Lunch Lady says
This was such a tasty and filling meal, on a cool fall day. Thank you for the recipe!
I LOVE soup in the fall and this looks perfect!! What a delicious dinner idea!
Mihaela | https://theworldisanoyster.com/ says
I have revisited Scotland this summer and remembered why I loved it the first time I've been there! And read a lot about the Picts. Your history is somehow similar to mine. And definitely, the best recipes were kept and passed down in the family! Delicious recipe, especially because it includes lentils! I will so make it exactly as you presented it!
[email protected] says
This soup is amazing. I love all the layers of flavor in this, but I have a problem. I can't find rutabagas or parsnips in my area very often. What do you recommend I use as a substitution?
Hi Patti, you can easily substitute potatoes! I do that quite often when I don't feel like peeling the rutabagas.
This soup is so full of good-for-you ingredients and is the perfect cold-weather pick-me-up.
Farrukh Aziz says
This is such a warm and hearty broth! It was so easy to make, and everyone was in love with it! Love the addition of parsnips and turnip. 🙂
Hearty and comforting indeed! It's like getting a big warm hug in a bowl
Interesting story about Scottish culinary history! And that soup looks delicious and perfect for any day but certainly for a chilly fall evening dinner.
Yes! It is super interesting!
I love all the peas and lentils in this! It's such a hearty, satisfying soup that my family loves. It kept us full for hours!
This is a perfect winter warmer. Looks delicious and so healthy. Nutritious too. I will put this on my list to make this week. Thanks for the recipe.
Thank you! I hope you enjoy!
Now this is my kind of comfort food! Filled with lentils, all kinds of veggies and so much flavor. I'll be making this all winter.
Matt @ Plating Pixels says
I’m not Scottish but the soup is perfect comfort food. Comforting and delicious, I can’t wait to make it again!
So glad you liked it!
Chandice Probst says
What a fantastic meatless main dish! So warm and filling that it makes a great fall and winter dish especially. The family loves it and it’s surprisingly not that hard to make. Thank you!
This vegetarian broth is so filling and satisfying. A perfect soup for cold days. I didn't have red lentils so I just doubled the green. However, I would love to make it again with the red ones. Amazing recipe, thanks.
So glad you liked it!