What is life without good food? Inspired by home cooking and travel, I create easy recipes for the everyday.
After desperately craving cheese for a veggie burger, I came up with this recipe for vegan blushing bunny Welsh rarebit. I have been obsessed with it ever since.
What Is Welsh Rarebit?
Welsh rarebit (sometimes known as Welsh rabbit) is a traditional Welsh dish consisting of a rich cheese sauce on toasted bread. This indulgent version of cheese on toast first appeared sometime in the 18th century. The simplicity and popularity of the dish has spawned numerous variations, including English rabbit, Scotch rabbit, buck rabbit and golden buck. It has even established itself in northern French culture, where it is a popular dish served in breweries.
The traditional Welsh rarebit, as opposed to vegan Welsh rarebit, contains cheese, such as Caerphilly or Cheddar as well as mustard and strong beer or stout. Extra seasonings such as paprika or cayenne pepper are also popular.
What Is Blushing Bunny Welsh Rarebit?
This variation of vegan Welsh rarebit I am making here is called blushing bunny, which is Welsh rarebit made with tomato or tomato soup, instead of the beer that is used in the traditional recipe. According to Charles Perry, who shared his recipe for blushing bunny Welsh rarebit in his Los Angeles Times article, this version of the dish originates in the United States, not Britain. In his 'Worldly Blushing Bunny', Perry claims that this variation was invented by prohibitionists sometime between the 1890s and the 1920s. They objected to the use of ale in traditional rarebit and so substituted canned tomato soup.
While I am never one to shy away from adding booze to food, I admit that there is a time and a place. I like to eat this as a comforting snack, so adding ale, even for me, seems a little too decadent. As a beer lover, I am also far more likely to have a tube of tomato puree in the house than the right kind of ale for Welsh rarebit.
How I Veganized Blushing Bunny Welsh Rarebit
There are not many recipes for vegan Welsh rarebit around, but the ones I have seen tend to use vegan cheese. To make my alcohol-free vegan Welsh rarebit, I have used nutritional yeast, which has a mild cheesy taste. I have used this rather than vegan cheese because I have it to hand. Using it instead of vegan cheese means I can also be more precise with my seasoning. I've come quite late to nutritional yeast. I was sceptical of it for a long time. But since picking some up for another recipe, I am converted by its ability to add an umami punch to my food.
Plain flour is often used to thicken rarebit, but I have used chickpea flour to give mine some creamy richness. To this, I add English mustard and milder wholegrain, which compliment the cheesy nutritional yeast. Vegan Worcestershire sauce, in this case, Henderson's Relish, adds sharpness. Finally, I have used tomato puree to add a tasty tomato tang to the dish.
For vegans who want a recipe for vegan cheese on toast or vegan grilled cheese sandwich, this is the perfect alternative. It is comforting, indulgent, convincingly cheesy, and plain delicious!
The first time I put this recipe together, I used my measuring spoons. The second time, I had misplaced my measuring spoons and so used a tablespoon and teaspoon from my cutlery drawer instead. The results were not the same, and the rarebit came out bland. If you do not have measuring spoons, I would recommend adding the nutritional yeast and seasonings to taste.
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For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon English mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
- 25 grams / 0.9 oz chickpea flour or gram flour
- A generous pinch smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Henderson's Relish (or vegan Worcestershire sauce of your choice), or to taste
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 200 milliliters water, plus extra to loosen sauce if necessary
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
For the toast:
- 2 slices your favourite crusty bread, brown works best for this recipe
- In a small pan, heat oil on a medium-low heat.
- Add your flour and water to the pan, bit by bit. Continuoulsy stir to ensure a smooth texture.
- Add nutritional yeast, mustards, salt and Henderson's Relish, stirring continuously to mix and create a smooth texture.
- The sauce should be starting to thicken, so add more water to loosen the sauce if necessary.
- Add the tomato puree and a pinch of smoked paprika and stir, mixing the tomato into the other ingredients.
- Add more salt to taste.
- Stir to ensure the sauce is smooth and take off the heat.
- Meanwhile, turn on your grill and very lightly toast your two slices of bread on each side. Alternatively, lightly toast your bread in the toaster.
- Once your bread is lightly toasted and your grill is hot, spoon your mixture onto the bread and toast until the vegan rarebit is bubbling and has started to brown.
- Serve and enjoy!
Enjoy this non-alcoholic vegan version of a traditional Welsh dish as a comforting snack or as a light supper with salad and chips (or fries). It also makes a great vegan grilled cheese sandwich or vegan cheese on toast.
More Recipes Inspired By Welsh Cuisine
Try my vegan Welsh laverbread and tomato linguine in the sunshine with an ice-cold glass of prosecco or cloudy lemonade.
© 2020 Kathryn Worthington
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