How to Host an Easy Vegan-Vegetarian Burns Night

robert burns portrait scottish poet
Burns Night is a Scottish holiday that celebrates the birth of the country’s most beloved native son, the poet Robert Burns, whom you might know as the writer of the lyrics for “Auld Lang Syne” or the originator of the phrase “the best laid plans of mice and men.” It’s celebrated on his actual birthday, January 25, which this year serendipitously falls on a Saturday. Done right, the evening is full of rituals: speeches, graces, addresses, poems. And then there’s the main course: haggis, a pudding of sheep organs and spices served in the animal’s stomach. My family, which has some Scottish roots, celebrated a stripped down version of the holiday when I was younger, and in recent years I’ve resurrected it as a way to celebrate poetry, connect with my roots, and excuse my whiskey drinking. The only problem: I try to keep vegan, so there’s no way I’m making a haggis! Fortunately, you needn’t eat sheep to enjoy a Burns Supper. Here’s how to do it without hurting any animals—or driving yourself crazy!

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