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Vegan Traditional Irish Leek and Oatmeal Broth (Brotchan Roi)

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Vegan traditional Irish leek and oatmeal broth is a humble soup simply prepared with a few classic ingredients but is full or flavour and plant-powered nutrition.

This recipe is perfect for tasty, quick and easy family lunches, as part of a light dinner, or as a starter.

A mug of this broth is also ideal for anyone who is feeling under-the-weather and in need of nourishing meal that is comforting yet gentle on the stomach.

Having a St Patrick’s Day or Irish themed meal or celebration? Irish leek and oatmeal broth is a must!

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Two bowls of oatmeal leek broth on tray, with green flower tea towel, green and white celtic cross to side, white jug of cream to side, shamrock background.

Origin of Irish Leek And Oatmeal Broth Otherwise Known As Brotchan Roi.

Brotchan is an Irish word and translates to broth while Roi means king or chief, so the Irish name for this broth is actually King or Chief Soup.

Leek and oatmeal broth dates back to at least 6th century Ireland where Irish folk made soups and broths from the fruits of their crops. The three most popular foods from that time was leeks, oats and milk.

Leek and oatmeal broth would have provided the poorer folks with lots of nutrition and filled hungry bellies with the affordable trinity of leeks, oats and milk, so calling it king soup is very apt.

Leek and oatmeal broth has also been referred to as a druid soup as this dish was popular with the Irish druids that are part of Irelands Celtic culture.

Druids were educated, religious men who were also known for their in-depth knowledge of the natural world and their connection with the spiritual almost magical realm. Druids were also considered to be judges, doctors/healers, prophets, keepers of history, and poets.

Irish culture and history is so full of mystery and appeal. My family lived in Northern Ireland for many years, indeed two of my kids were born there, and I love staying in contact with my families history through appreciating Irish food and developing plant-based recipes. As well as learning the history and tradition behind each dish.

Vegan Leek And Oatmeal Broth

I was motivated to keep this vegan recipe as humble and near to the traditional broth as possible.

Leeks and oatmeal remain the star of the show, enriched with a little plant milk and vegan stock, and lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and chopped parsley. A little swirl of plant cream is optional but delicious.

I use a vegan chicken flavoured stock powder but any vegan stock you have to hand is perfectly fine. There is a link in the ingredient list if you’d like to check out what stock I use.

I usually blend the broth with a hand blender as it creates a beautiful light emerald green colour. But if preferred the soup can be enjoyed as is, especially if you like more texture to your broths.

How To Prepare Leek And Oatmeal Broth

Recipe Notes And FAQS

How do I store leftover leek and oatmeal broth?


Leftovers can be stored in the fridge within a covered container for 3 days. Or frozen for up to 4 months. Defrost before reheating.

What’s the best way to reheat leek and oatmeal broth?


Reheat in a saucepan by bringing to the boil over a low heat, lower the heat and gently simmer for 1-2 minutes until piping hot.

What can I serve with leek and oatmeal broth?


* If your feeling under-the-weather simply serve a cup of this broth alone as it is comforting, satisfying, nourishing and gentle on the stomach

* A wedge of Irish soda bread is the perfect accompaniment

* Three ingredient quick dinner rolls

* Any vegan crusty bread or rolls

* Vegan cheese toastie/grilled cheese sandwich

* Your favourite sandwich, try this tasty tofu ‘egg’ and cress mayonnaise sandwich

* Large side salad full of green veggies and sliced juicy tomatoes

What is the best plant milk to use to prepare this broth?


Any plant milk that is fine for cooking and has proven not to curdle in hot tea or coffee, should be fine for this broth.

I find the Oatley organic milk varieties are good for cooking as is Alpro soya milk.

However, it is important not to bring this broth to a rolling boil, but to gently simmer over a low heat.

If preferred omit the plant milk and simply prepare with vegan stock, perhaps add a drizzle of plant-milk or cream at the end of cooking.

Is plant milk a traditional ingredient?


Yes!

It may surprise many people but plant milk, most notably almond milk, is actually a traditional ingredient that originates at least back to 12th century medieval Britain and Europe.

Christianity did not allow people to use dairy milk during medieval holy days and so almond milk was used instead.

There is even reference to almond based butter and fake eggs made with almond milk and saffron. Also dairy milk could not be kept cold due to a lack of fridges so almond milk was a safer drink to consume during the medieval era.

What’s the difference between a soup and a broth?


Not much. Both terms are commonly used interchangeably.

A broth is more of a liquid with little pieces of veggies and/or protein in the form of meat or substitutes, grains, etc added and simmered. Oatmeal and leek broth is prepared by creating an oatmeal-milk-stock broth and simmering, before adding the leeks. The oatmeal-milk broth could technically be enjoyed as it is without adding veggies, the broth can stand alone.

Whereas a soup is more chunkier and heartier, generally with more ingredients and flavoured with a stock. However, milk can also be added to a soup, so it can be confusing!

Can I prepare leek and oatmeal broth as gluten-free?


Yes.

However, although oatmeal is naturally gluten-free it is common for oats to be processed in a factory alongside gluten ingredients and so can be contaminated with gluten.

So it is important to purchase oatmeal that is certified gluten-free as even though the contamination may be small, some individuals still react badly.

If you can not source gluten-free pinhead/steel-cut oatmeal then sub this out for gluten-free rolled/quick cook oats.

Also ensure that your vegan stock is certified gluten-free. And check that your vegan cream is free from gluten ingredients.

Do I need to use pinhead/steel-cut oatmeal for this recipe or can I use rolled oats?


Pinhead oatmeal are also known as steel-cut oats or Irish oatmeal. Rolled oats are the quick cook variety that is usually sold as porridge oats. Both varieties originate from oats but are simply processed differently.

Pinhead oatmeal has undergone less processing with the whole oat groats being sliced into little pieces. As some of the groat kernel remain this kind of oats take slightly longer to cook, has more texture and a nuttier flavour. Quick cook oats have also been sliced but are further rolled into flat flakes that as a result are quick to cook.

Sixth century Irish folks who prepared this broth would have processed the oats by hand to create the pinhead oatmeal so if to keep this recipe traditional use pinhead oatmeal if possible. But if rolled oats are more easily sourced, and this variety can be less expensive, then don’t sweat it just use them! I would.

More vegan recipes to discover that will help use up your bag of pinhead oatmeal:

Traditional Scottish Oatcakes

No Oil/Added Fat Traditional Scottish Oatcakes

No Oil/Added Fat Traditional Scottish Cheesy Oatcakes

The Best Bowl Of Easy Scottish Oatmeal Porridge

Traditional Scottish Skirlie (aka poor mans haggis)

Two bowls of leek and oatmeal broth on silver tray, blue soup pot to side, salt and pepper shakers, soda bread on chopping board to side.
Two bowls of oatmeal leek broth on tray, with green flower tea towel, green and white celtic cross to side, white jug of cream to side, shamrock background.

Vegan Traditional Leek and Oatmeal Broth

Print Recipe
Leek and oatmeal broth is a humble soup prepared with everyday ingredients but packed with flavour and nutrition.
A long-standing Irish classic that is ideal for everyday enjoyment, or as part of a St Patrick's Day meal.
Serve with a wedge of Irish soda bread for a satisfying starter, lunch or light dinner.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Soup, Starter
Cuisine Irish
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 4
Calories 207
Author Jacq

Equipment

  • Soup/stew pan
  • Hand blender or food processer/blender, to blend broth, optional

Ingredients

  • 450 grams leeks 3 medium, washed well, trimmed and sliced thin. After trimming I had 450g of leeks left.
  • 50 grams pinhead oatmeal steel-cut oats/Irish oatmeal
  • 500 ml plant-based milk use a variety that copes well with being heated and does not split
  • 2 litres vegetable stock (I used 4 teaspoons of vegan chicken stock)
  • 1 bay leaf

Garnish

  • 8 grams parsley chopped, or chives

Optional

Instructions

  • Add the plant milk, vegan stock, bay leaf and a little salt and black pepper to a large pan.
    Bring to a simmer and sprinkle in the oatmeal.
  • Simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  • Add the leeks and simmer for 10 minutes. Don't fast boil.
  • Taste the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
    Remove the bay leaf.
  • Sprinkle some parsley over each serving and add a little drizzle of plant based cream to each bowl if liked.

Notes

  • Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary. Data is calculated using computerized nutrition apps.
  • For a lower sodium broth use a vegan stock with less added salt.
  • This broth is best if it is not allowed to fast boil, instead allowed to gently simmer on a low heat.
  • It’s best to use a plant-milk that has been proven to not curdle or split at high heat, any milk that works well with hot tea or coffee should be fine.
  • I prefer to blitz this broth with my hand held blender, but it can be served without blending. However, if your broth does happen to curdle then if you have any type of blender or food processer then simply blend and it will be fine.
  • If preferred omit the plant milk and use all vegan broth. A vegan chicken flavoured broth works well with this soup. A link to the stock powder I use is included within the ingredient list.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, covered, for 3 days.
  • Or frozen for up to 4 months.
  • Reheat leftover broth by gently bringing to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  • Serve this broth as a starter, lunch or a light dinner. 
  • This broth is especially good as part of a St Patrick’s Day or other Irish themed meal/spread.
  • Anyone in the family feeling under-the-weather? A cup of leek and oatmeal broth is nourishing, comforting, warming and gentle on the stomach.

Nutrition

Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 115mg | Potassium: 276mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 2306IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 263mg | Iron: 4mg

Looking for more Vegan Irish recipes?

Irish soda bread

Vegan Irish stew

Vegan Traditional Irish ‘corned beef’ and cabbage stew (link coming soon!)

Irish Traditional Apple cake (link coming soon!)

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