I’ve had this notion in the back of my mind for some time now to try making vegetarian scotch eggs. What are scotch eggs you ask? Well, depending on who you are, the following description will either horrify or delight you. Scotch eggs are hard boiled eggs that are wrapped up in pork sausage and then breaded and deep fried. According to wikipedia, scotch eggs are of British origin and are typically eaten cold as a picnic snack.

My mom made scotch eggs for us as kids, and, for the longest time, I just assumed that everyone else had grown up with them as well. It turns out I was wrong. Anytime I have ever mentioned scotch eggs to friends or even strangers, nobody has ever known what I’m talking about. Well, last weekend, Robert and I were having dinner at Smith (where, incidentally, I put together a wonderful winter meal of beer-potted cheese with homemade crackers and balsamic roasted brussels sprouts) and, there it was on Smith’s menu: scotch eggs! I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a sign; I knew it was time for me to attempt my vegetarian version of this British “delicacy.”

It turns out, I’m not the first to try this. Barrett, over at Too Many Chefs, has already worked up a recipe for vegetarian scotch eggs. Using his as a starting point, I developed my own recipe. First, I used Morningstar Farms crumbles in place of the Smart Ground just out of personal preference. Second, anticipating that a vegetarian scotch egg could end up being on the bland side, I decided to spice up my “meat mixture” a bit. I added minced onion and garlic as well as dried sage, dried thyme and cayenne pepper. I had a hard time getting the mixture both to stick together and to stick to the egg. It was too crumbly and lacked any of the natural stickiness that you get from real meat. To solve this, I pulsed the mixture a few times in my food processor to get rid of the larger crumbles and to make it into more of a uniform paste (and, yes, I do realize how gross vegetarian meat paste sounds.) I also dusted each egg lightly with flour to improve the stick factor. Finally, I let the formed scotch eggs chill for about 1 hour in the fridge (before coating with egg and bread crumbs,) thinking that this would also help prevent the eggs from falling apart.

I ended up baking the scotch eggs for longer than Barrett’s recipe calls for, mostly because I wanted to make sure the authentic sausage version I made for Robert was fully cooked (between this and the beef porcupines I made for Robert last week, it’s been like elliemay’s retro kitchen around here lately; bringing back my childhood favorites from the 1970′s!) The vegetarian scotch eggs turned out much better than I expected. They were full of flavor and not too dry (although they didn’t hold together too well once I cut into them.) The panko that I used for the outer coating crisped up nicely in the oven despite the fact that I hadn’t mixed it with any oil or butter. Unlike the Brits, we ate our scotch eggs warm, with home fries on the side.

In the comments section of Barrett’s recipe, one person notes that, as a child in school, they were given scotch eggs made with stuffing instead of sausage. That actually sounds like a really delicious idea. I’ve never been a huge fan of simulated meat, but I sure do love stuffing. Who knows? Maybe I can even bring them to Thanksgiving next year!

Vegetarian Scotch Eggs

Makes 4 eggs

1 pound fake ground beef (I used Morningstar Farms brand)
2 raw eggs, beaten, in separate bowls
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cups finely minced onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
flour for dusting the eggs
4 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and patted dry
1 cup fine bread crumbs (I used panko)

In a large bowl, mix the “meat” with one of the beaten eggs, the olive oil, onion, garlic, sage, thyme, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste. Pulse the mixture briefly in a food processor until it just begins to hold together (I like to leave it a little bit chunky for added texture.)

Put a small amount of flour into a bowl. Dredge the hard boiled eggs lightly in the flour and then dust off the excess flour with your fingers. Using about 1/4 of the “meat” mixture, pat the mixture around one of the eggs, completely enclosing the egg in the mixture. Set aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining eggs and then transfer the plate to the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour or more.

When you are ready to bake, place the second beaten egg and the bread crumbs in two small bowls. Dip the scotch eggs into the beaten egg wash and coat well. Transfer the egg to the bowl of bread crumbs and coat on all sides. Shake off the excess bread crumbs and place the scotch eggs on a nonstick or well-oiled baking sheet.

Bake the scotch eggs in a preheated 350 F degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown (you may want to turn the eggs a few times during cooking to ensure even browning.)


  1. What a great idea! I’ve never had real Scotch eggs and am vegetarian, but they intrigued me. Your veg version sounds really interesting as a hearty meal…especially with roasted or pan fried potatoes or yams. Yum! I’ll have to print out your recipe for future reference.

    Comment by Bri — March 23, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

  2. uh, big problem here.. since when are eggs vegetarian, first of all?

    i’ll skip the rest of these errors i’m seeing left and right here…

    Comment by veggiehead — February 17, 2009 @ 5:23 am

  3. Eggs ARE vegetarian but not vegan… Think first, then write.

    Comment by Another Veggiehead — March 8, 2009 @ 2:10 pm

  4. yeh, eggs arent vegan but veggies can eat them…i love veggie scotch eggs….im english and Quorn (a vegetarian brand) sells scotch eggs, they a delicious but your recipe sounds great! i will try it out.

    Comment by veggiehead3 — November 10, 2009 @ 3:24 am

  5. Back in the 1980s I sampled Vegetarian Scotch Eggs in Cranks Restaurant here in the UK and the chef who made them was one of my customers in my trade, so I asked him how he made them. I was given an idea that I’ve since developed to make them without using any fake meat, all it needs is buckwheat; ground nuts; wholemeal breadcrumbs; grated carrot; onion and tomato paste, plus a little thickening from veg stock and flour.

    The coating is seasoned with any herbs you like and I then wrap the mouldable gunge all around the hard boiled egg, and form it into a sphere with hands. Wrapping cling-film can make the formation easier and then I roast them in a fan oven for about 25 minutes and when cool they’re absolutely fabulous and everyone wants the recipe even meat eaters who normally like the sausage meat ones.

    If you’d like my recipe in detail I’ll gladly post it up here. Or anyone can write to me on my website email.

    Comment by Jeremy Prior — October 8, 2010 @ 9:06 am

  6. I have an idea…..instead of stealing the name of something to suit your personal preferences…. how about calling your product something else. Wow !!!! what an idea !!!! Twat waffles…. the lot of you…. lulz !!!

    Comment by harleyrulz — October 9, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  7. You obviously don’t understand the concept of a Scotch Egg so it’s fair to assume that you have no idea what they are, or why they are called Scotch Eggs.

    How about “Egg Skull Splits” then, would you prefer that? Or maybe “egg wrapped in dog poo”. What’s your problem pal ?

    Comment by Jeremy Prior — October 10, 2010 @ 10:55 am

  8. Hi Jeremy! I would absolutely love to try your scotch egg recipe. I prefer to cook with “real” ingredients instead of fake meat products so your version sounds perfect! Feel free to post the recipe here if you like. I’m sure there are others out there who would be interested in trying your recipe. Thanks!!

    Comment by elliemay — October 18, 2010 @ 5:51 pm

  9. Jeremy,
    I was a huge fan of Cranks when I lived in London. I wasn’t vegetarian then (I have been for >20 years now since moving to the USA) but their food was always sensational.I have two of their cookbooks but the Scotch recipe is not in it. Can you publish here or email directly? paulflattery@me.com.

    Comment by Paul Flattery — April 23, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

  10. So excited to find this recipe! I’ve been a vegetarian for 7 years, so it’s been a LONG time since I’ve had Scotch Eggs. Can’t wait to try these!

    Comment by Heather — July 14, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

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