The Ultimate Guide to a Vegan Burns Night 2021

Monday, 25 January, marks the birthday of Scotland’s most beloved poet, Robert Burns – and what better way to celebrate him and his compassion for animals than with a vegan Burns Night? Given lockdown restrictions, Burns Night will look different this year, but with our guide, you can still celebrate via a Zoom call with friends and family or put together a night to remember with your housemates!

Here’s how you can make it happen, lassies and laddies:

  • Address the vegan haggis.

    Sheep deserve a happy Burns Night, too, so leave them off your plate by opting for a vegan haggis. You can make your own or treat yourself to the Stahly vegetarian haggis or Macsween’s award-winning one. Both are suitable for vegans and pure dead brilliant.

  • Make neeps and tatties barry.

    Dairy is outdated, so bring this Burns Night staple into the new decade by making it with vegan butter and a splash of vegan cream.

  • Enjoy a dram.

    Good news for lovers of whisky and animals: virtually all whiskies are vegan, unless they’re labelled as containing honey. So grab your favourite Scotch – and if you fancy the classic Scottish Iron Monkey, the Irn Bru – and raise a glass. Slàinte mhath!

  • Delight with vegan cranachan.

    Get yourself some coconut milk, raspberries, maple syrup, whisky, and oats to veganise this traditional Burns Night dessert. Easy-peasy maple syrup squeezy.

  • Wow with wool- and leather-free garb.

    Tartan is a must on Burns Night, and thankfully for the sheep exploited in the wool industry and the cows abused for their skin, there are many vegan options if you want to rock a kilt for the occasion. Stand out in Scott Wood’s vegan kilts – paired with a vegan sporran. Accessorise with an eco-friendly tartan bag from Wilby.

  • Revel in a Burns recital.

    In his famous poem “To a Mouse”, Burns apologises to a mouse and “fellow-mortal” for accidentally overturning her nest with his plough:

    “I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion / Has broken Nature’s social union”

    What’s more, he recognises that both mice and men have the capacity to suffer and feel “grief an’ pain” – a realisation crucial to the philosophy of animal rights and ideal to recite on a vegan Burns Night.

  • Brighten up the evening with soya candles.

    Ditch candles made of beeswax – for which many bees die or are killed, sometimes after their wings or legs are torn off – and look for eco- and animal-friendly soya-based candles instead for a nice way to show your burning (com)passion for animals on Burns Night.

  • Dinnae forget the vegan cheeseboard with bannocks.

    The night’s not over ’til the vegan cheeseboard’s polished off – though be warned that this might happen pretty quickly if you opt for the tasty options listed in our vegan cheese guide, in which you’ll find delectable, classic flavours for all cheese lovers to enjoy, including those by Scotland-based brands Nutcrafter Creamery and Bella Cheeze.

Inspired by Burns’ compassion for animals? Helping them is easy as can be! From speaking out against animal testing to protesting against the cruelty of factory farming, there are many ways for you to make your voice heard: