This vegan rarebit recipe is inspired by Welsh rarebit (or “rabbit”) — which in its original form is a beer-infused cheddar cheese sauce. This version uses plant-based cheese and lots of veggies.
You’d think that this traditional dish would have been called “rarebit,” and then evolved into “rabbit” perhaps due to a soft “r” sound. But it was actually the other way around. It never, however, had anything due to actual rabbits. So what’s veganized in this recipe is the cheese and milk.
And though “Welsh” is in its title, there’s no hard evidence that this recipe originated in Wales. Having gained some traction by the mid-1700s, its spread throughout the British Isles. Here’s a bit more on the history and origins of this simple dish.
Keep the beer, or not: This vegan interpretation of rarebit uses either plant-based milk only (to be kid-friendly), or a combination of the traditional beer with plant-based milk. It’s also packed with vegetables to make it tastier and more substantial.
For the bread, I recommend a sturdy loaf. Mushy bread won’t hold up. Sourdough is my top choice!
Complete the meal: This makes a quick at-home lunch or light dinner with salad or soup. A tomato-based soup or a lentil soup are great companions. This makes 8 single-slice or 4 two-slice servings.
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1/2 medium zucchini, cut into small diced
- 1/2 cup cleaned, stemmed, and sliced mushrooms (any variety)
- 1 medium or 2 small firm, ripe tomatoes, diced
- 2 big handfuls of baby spinach or arugula, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
- 1/2 cup beer
- 1/2 cup plain unsweetened plant-based milk (or omit the beer and use 1 cup plant-based milk)
- 1 1/2 cups vegan Cheddar-style cheese shreds
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- Salt to taste
- 8 slices fresh bread (sourdough is highly recommended), toasted
- Heat the vegan butter in a medium saucepan. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach or arugula. Sauté over medium heat until the vegetables are just tender.
- Sprinkle the flour in slowly, stirring it in until the vegetables are evenly coated. Stir the beer in a little at a time, followed by the plant-based cheese shreds, nutritional yeast, mustard, and paprika.
- Bring to a slow simmer and cook, stirring continuously, until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is piping hot. Season with salt (you may not need much).
- For each serving, place one or two slices of toasted bread on a plate. To serve, pour some of the cheese mixture over each piece of toast. Depending on how sturdy the bread is, and the size of the slices, you can either pick up and eat out of hand or use knife and fork.
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