Veganising a cultural classic – the vegan lorne sausage is helping businesses such as Rose and Grants in Glasgow and Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch in Edinburgh bring in many new customers.

The square, lorne, slice or flat sausage, is renowned as a traditional Scottish food that allegedly originates from Lorne, Argyll. Not much more of the infamous sausage's origins is known but it is usually enjoyed as part of a cooked breakfast. Sausage meat, a combination of beef and pork, is minced before being combined with rusk and spices. Then it is set in a rectangular tin after which it is sliced. Recently, a Glaswegian café, Rose and Grants, decided herbivores shouldn’t have to miss out on this local delicacy and have created a hugely popular vegan version of the square sausage.

The vegan lorne sausage in Glasgow's Rose and Grants cafe.

The vegan lorne sausage in Glasgow's Rose and Grants cafe.

Making the vegan lorne sausage

Rose and Grants’ employee Caroline, a vegan herself, decided to take a standard square sausage recipe but simply replace the meat with soya protein that is used to make vegan sausages, then add the traditional spices and set it in the characteristic shape.

The additional flavours come from cumin, pepper, nutmeg, onions and breadcrumbs, along with a little olive oil which helps hold it all together. It turns out she wasn’t the only one pleased with the outcome of her experiments, as boss Ben Rose has now added it to the menu and her boyfriend proposed to her the very next day!

The lorne sausages joins several other vegan dishes available including a full vegan fried breakfast, Dahl, salads, Indonesian fried rice and sandwiches. You can try the new Glaswegian square sausage in a roll for just £2.60, or upgrade to the vegan full Scottish fry-up in which you get the sausage alongside fried mushrooms, fried cherry tomatoes and a potato scone all for £6, available until 4pm every day.

The vegan lorne sausage forms an integral part of Rose and Grants vegan Scottish fry-up

The vegan lorne sausage forms an integral part of Rose and Grants vegan Scottish fry-up

The impact of the vegan menu at Rose and Grants

Things seem to be going well so far, as Ben tells of how much of a success the sausage has had. He said “I’ve never had a buzz like this over anything”, which is pretty impressive considering the cafe is coming up to 7 years old in December, claiming he’d sold over 200 vegan square sausages in 5 days. He tells of how he comes in first thing to make more but is sold out by mid-morning, meaning he is struggling to keep up with demand. “I can’t tell you how popular it is, it’s become one of our best selling products. People see the vegan square sausage on the A-board and literally walk in off the street. That’s never happened to us before and on this scale.” Apparently it is even competition for the cooked breakfast!

The vegan lorne sausage in a bun is another addition to the menu

The vegan lorne sausage in a bun is another addition to the menu

Veganism is Scotland

According to a poll question on wow247, 69% of people would happily swap the meaty lorne sausage for a vegan version. This is no doubt in part due to how tasty it is with Ben saying “this works really well and I think it’s because it uses all of the same spices as the butchers use.” Additionally, a recent study found that Glasgow was driving the growth in veganism that is occurring across the UK. The city has the greatest choice of vegan eateries outside London, despite just 5% of approximately 500,000 British vegans living in Scotland. This number continues to increase, with the diet having reportedly grown 350% in the last 10 years.

Vegan lorne sausage in Edinburgh

This isn’t the first vegan square sausage Scotland has offered us. Edinburgh’s Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch came up with the idea back in early 2013 according to the cafe’s very own Allan White. He said “I produce all of my own link and lorne and therefore wanted to be able to provide our regular vegan and vegetarian customers with the same high quality standard and variety of food. The recipe was trial and error at first but over the years I have managed to find a consistency and flavour that people love.” 

The vegan lorne sausage in Edinburgh as part of Breakfast, Brunch, & Lunch's vegan Scottish fry-up

The vegan lorne sausage in Edinburgh as part of Breakfast, Brunch, & Lunch's vegan Scottish fry-up

Indeed, perhaps this is evidenced by the fact that recently the popular Scottish breakfast was outsold by the vegan option for the first time. Wow!

Allan continues “the best thing is that it has also gone down a storm with meat eaters who say they can’t tell the difference.” The vegan square sausage also isn’t Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch’s only option, with all sorts of plant based dishes available from kebabs to mince and tatties.

Who will be next on the list to add the vegan option? Or maybe it’s time to veganise the other Scottish specialities, like the macaroni pie or battered Mars Bars? I may need convincing on the latter!

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