Vegan wartime champ is a side-dish inspired by Marguerite Paton’s recipe that was popular during British World War 2. The original recipe can be found in the book ‘Victory Cookbook, Nostalgic Food and Facts From 1940-1954’ by Marguerite Patten OBE.
This adapted recipe features the veggie trio of potatoes, turnip (swede), and white cabbage. Once cooked everything is mashed together with hot plant milk and an optional pat of vegan margarine. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with chopped parsley, for a tasty, budget-friendly side-dish.
My family love wartime champ simply served with baked beans and vegan sausages for their favourite mid-week quick meal.
Who was Marguerite Patton?
Marguerite Patten (1915-2015) was a British chef and writer, with over 170 cook books to her name.
During the Second World War Marguerite Patton worked for the British Ministry of Food.
Patton was famous for her BBC radio show The Kitchen Front where she would provide advice, ideas and recipes that helped people deal successfully with food shortages and rations.
Wartime champ was one of those recipes and was especially popular as potatoes were in abundance during the war and was promoted as a valuable source of nutrition.
The Origins of Champ
Champ is an Irish potato meal that originated in Northern Ireland, and is more commonly made with mashed potatoes and spring onions/scallions/green onions.
Another Irish dish called Colcannon, is similar to Champ but utilises kale or cabbage in place of the spring onions.
Traditionally, on Halloween or Samhain, superstitious Irish folk would leave out spoonful’s of Champ below a Hawthorn bush, as an offering to appease the fairies.
Similar to the tradition of leaving cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas Eve.
Champ and colcannon have been Irish favourites for hundreds of years likely because the ingredients are widely available, tasty, and very budget-friendly.
In Scotland, there is a similar traditional dish called rumbledethumps.
Rumbledethumps features mashed potato, onion and cabbage/kale, with mashed swede often included. After the veggies are mashed grated cheese is sprinkled over and everything is baked until melted and golden.
Whereas in England they have bubble and squeak which is cooked potato and cabbage, often leftovers, fried until crispy and brown.
So really wartime champ is like a mash up of champ, colcannon and rumbledethumps.
Adapted Vegan Wartime Champ
Vegan Wartime Champ is ideal for using up those potatoes, turnip (or carrots), and cabbage that may have been lurking in the refrigerator for a few weeks. I can’t be the only one guilty of that, surely!
Serve wartime champ as a side with some plant-based sausages, baked beans, more steamed veggies, and gravy. Or maybe a slice of nut-roast or a vegan pie. So tasty, satisfying and better still budget-friendly.
To create an adapted vegan version of Patton’s wartime champ, I have subbed out dairy milk for plant milk and used a plant based margarine.
The original recipe used carrot instead of swede but I tried the recipe quite a few times and found it difficult to mash the carrot to a texture similar to swede. So I replaced the carrot with swede and it was more successful and tastier. Perhaps because I am Scottish I prefer the taste of turnip! However, if you prefer you can use carrot in place of the turnip.
Incidentally, in Scotland we tend to call what is actually a swede a turnip.
Or by the Scottish term a ‘neep’. In the US what you need is a rutabaga. And in England a swede! Turnips are actually much smaller than swedes and can usually be bought as a little bunch similar to beetroot.
To get back to the recipe, Patton calls for all three veggies to be cooked together in one large pot with a lid, with just one cup of water simmering, for 15 minutes. This method actually worked and all the vegetables were soft enough to mash. Also I do think steaming is better than boiling as less nutrients are leaked into the water.
However, I prefer to boil the potatoes and turnip separately and save the cooking liquid as stock for soup or stew, or whatever I may need it for over the next few days.
Patton adds a small cup of hot milk to mash the veggies altogether. I simply added a few tablespoons of plant milk to each mash. I included the plant margarine at the mashing stage rather than adding a tablespoon of butter to each serving as Patton’s recipe states.
Meanwhile the white cabbage is steamed before mixing through the mashed potatoes and neeps.
I also included nutritional yeast flakes for extra savoury flavour but this is optional, and instead a teaspoon or two of mustard can be added.
How To Prepare Vegan Wartime Champ
Recipe Notes And FAQS
Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Or frozen, well covered in food-safe wrap, for up to 4 months.
Leftovers can be placed in a baking dish, covered with a lid or a piece of kitchen foil, and placed in a hot oven to warm through, generally around 15-25 minutes.
If reheating from frozen, defrost completely before reheating.
*Mix through a few tablespoons of flour, enough to easily form the champ into little patties/little chunky burger shapes and cook until lightly golden on each side. Cook on a non-stick fry pan or skillet and add a tablespoon of oil if necessary.
I use a non-stick pancake/crepe maker which is just a large circular hot-plate and this device requires no oil to cook. Which means your patties have less calories and fat, so technically you can eat more!
A few chopped spring/green onions or chives mixed through the patties before cooking is very tasty. Add any seasonings you like. Any other leftover veggies can be mashed or chopped small and mixed through this type of patty.
Champ patties are great for next days lunch. Or once cooked freeze for up to 4 months.
*Another idea is to use the champ as a topping for a vegan shepherds or cottage pie, hotpots, or other casserole dish.
* Sprinkle grated/shredded vegan cheese over the champ and bake in a hot oven until melty and golden. Such a yummy side-dish or enjoy on its own for lunch.
Yes. However, check any of the ingredients that you add to the potatoes, turnip and cabbage, and ensure that everything is certified gluten-free.
A few ideas:
*Use sweet potato instead of white, or use a mix.
*Replace the turnip for carrot, celeriac, or cauliflower.
*Instead of plant milk use the veggies cooking water as the liquid to mash.
*Replace the nutritional yeast for one tablespoon of white miso paste/ or 1-2tsp of mustard.
*Instead of plant margarine use some home-made or shop bought hummus
A few ideas:
*vegan steak made with tempeh/seitan/tofu or a steak made with a large mushroom or cauliflower slice
*vegan pot pie/pie and gravy
*traditional Irish stew (vegan)
*traditional British ‘beef’ stew (vegan)
*tinned spaghetti hoops
*peas and sweetcorn
*roast veggies/steamed veggies
*parsley, vegan cheese sauce, or a white/béchamel sauce
The best potato varieties for making fluffy or creamy, tasty mash are:
* Maris Piper
* Arnold Barletts
* Yukon Gold
* Russets/ Idaho
* King Edwards
* use a packet of vegan instant mash
* or frozen mashed potatoes
* frozen pre-sliced cabbage can usually be purchased
* use frozen pre-chopped swede/turnip
* use leftover mashed turnip, potatoes, or cabbage.
* leftover cooked turnip, potatoes, and cabbage can be frozen for up to 4 months. So it can be a good idea to prepare extra, whenever you use these ingredients in a different dish, and freeze until required.
* prepare 2 batches of champ at the same time, freeze one batch and use the other. To reheat, defrost before placing in a hot oven until warmed through. Add some grated vegan cheese or pats of vegan butter to the top, if liked.
Vegan Wartime Champ
- large saucepans
- potato masher
- 550 g potatoes chopped into even-sized chunks
- 500 g turnip (swede) chopped into even-sized chunks
- 350 g white cabbage sliced
- 4 tbsp plant milk more if necessary. Optional step: heat the milk before
- 1 tbsp plant-based margarine or vegan butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes optional, or add tsp of mustard or 1 tbsp of white miso paste
- 10 g chopped parsley
- Cook your potatoes and swede in separate pots until soft. This can take anywhere between 12-15 minutes depending on how large your chunks are. I find that swede can take longer to become soft.
- Steam your cabbage in a steamer pot or in a fry/skillet pan, with a lid and a little water added to the pan. Steam for 10 minutes or until soft.
- Mash the drained potato with 2 tbsp of hot plant milk, 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast flakes, and 1 tbsp of plant margarine. Add extra milk to bring to the consistency you prefer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Mash the drained turnip with 2 tbsp of hot plant milk, 1 tbsp of plant margarine, and salt and pepper to taste. Add extra plant milk if liked.
- Combine the turnip and potato mash together, mix through the cooked cabbage.
- Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with chopped parsley.
- Nutritional data is for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary. Computerised nutrition apps are used for the analysis.
- Leftovers will keep fresh for up to 3 days.
- Reheat leftovers by placing in a casserole/oven dish, pop on a lid or cover with kitchen foil. Heat in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes until piping hot throughout.
- Or add a few tablespoons of flour, enough to mix and form little patties. Cook on a non-stick pan, add a tablespoon of oil if necessary, and cook until each side is lightly golden. I cook leftover champ patties on my pancake/crepe maker and it does not require any oil. These patties are so tasty and can be seasoned with anything. Try adding some sliced spring/green onions or chopped chives to the champ before forming into patties.