www.marissa.co Vegetarian Bobotie Recipe

Vegetarian Bobotie (South African Meatloaf)

South African Bobotie is a cross between a meatloaf and keema (curried mince). The flavours are influenced by the tastes of the Cape Malay cuisine which straddle Indonesia, Malaysian, East African and Dutch cuisines.
The combination of the curry spicing is subtle, delicious and balanced with the fruitiness of the chutney and apricot jam.  Even non-curry fussy eaters will enjoy the dish.
The addition of just one slice of milk-soaked bread, the bobotie is soft and moist and topping the bobotie with a thin layer of egg custard, goes one step further to seal in the moisture.
Gluten Free Vegetarian Bobotie (South African Meatloaf)
If you need to use gluten-free bread grate or process the bread first into crumbs and then soak the gluten-free bread in the milk, as some loaves are very hard and will not draw the moisture from the milk as quickly as a slice of fresh white bread.
Vegan Bobotie (South African Meatloaf)
Vegan use a vegan mince, soak the bread in almond milk and omit the egg custard.
  • Non-meat eater wouldn’t know that the mince was Quorn, so a brilliant meal to make to feed a crowd one meal.
  • Cooked in a loaf tin the mince can be sliced for a dinner party or taken on a picnic.
  • For a dinner party, cook the mince in a brownie-tin the mixture can be cut into rounds and built up a mound of rice. The edges are lovely added to a roll for a Bobotie burger.
  • Bobotie cut into small cubes, make for a delicious canape and a great, filling talking point.
  • Formed into burger patties the mixture can be made into a Bobotie Burger or served as a meatball style canape.

Serving Bobotie:

Bobotie is served with turmeric rice, rice cooked with a teaspoon of turmeric for 2 cups of rice to turn the rice yellow and for a mild flavour.

A selection of traditional sambals is served to top your portion of bobotie. Chopped tomatoes, onions, a bowl of desiccated coconut, and chopped fresh bananas soaked in milk are always on the table.  As is a bottle of Mrs Balls Chutney which most of the major supermarkets stock in the UK or use a mango or apricot chutney.

For a mid-week meal, I usually steam some vegetables in winter or cut a side salad in summer and serve the bobotie with chutney.

Vegetarian Bobotie (South African Meatloaf)
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
Bobotie is one of South African’s traditional dishes, a fragrant mix between a curry and a meatloaf, topped with an egg custard. A wonderful meal mid-week or to feed a crowd
Recipe type: Mains
Cuisine: South African
Servings: 4
  • 1 thick slice white bread
  • 250ml milk or non-dairy milk
  • 350g Quorn
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 125ml seedless raisins (optional)
  • 125ml blanched almonds
  • 15ml smooth apricot jam
  • 3 tablespoons fruit chutney
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 5ml chopped mixed dried herbs
  • 2 level tablespoons curry powder
  • 5ml turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • Egg custard
  • 1 large egg
  • reserved milk from soaked bread
  • 4 bay leaves
  • A salad of sliced tomatoes, onions and cucumbers.
  • Mrs Balls chutney (available from most supermarkets).
  • Bread rolls for children to make a bobotie burger.
  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Grease a casserole dish and set this aside.
  3. In a bowl soak the slice of white bread in 250ml milk for 5 minutes, squeeze the milk out of the bread reserving the milk.
  4. Mix the bread and all the remaining ingredients except the egg custard mixture into the mince.
  5. In a frying pan, add the sunflower oil and soften the onions.
  6. Add the reserved milk to the mince mixture and lightly brown the mince.
  7. Spoon the mixture into a casserole dish.
  8. Bake the mince for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove the bobotie from the oven and top with the egg custard.
  10. For the egg custard, beat the eggs and 125ml milk together.
  11. Pour egg custard mince mixture over the mince.
  12. Place the bay leaves on top of the custard.
  13. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until the custard mixture sets.
  14. Serve with rice with a teaspoon of turmeric added to colour it yellow and raisins and a selection of sambals for your guests to customise their bobotie.
  15. Tomato Sambal
  16. Cut the tomatoes in half.
  17. Using a teaspoon scoop the seeds of the tomatoes.
  18. If you are making and serving the sambal straight away you can skip this step, it allows the tomatoes not to release as much liquid if you need to make the sambal an hour ahead.
  19. Cut the tomatoes into small dice and add to a bowl that can hold all the remaining ingredients.
  20. Add all the remaining ingredients to the chopped tomatoes, stir well and serve.
For vegans and vegetarians serve a Bobotie Bowl:
Use soya mince, omit the egg and soaked bread, add the spicing and make the recipe as bowl food rather than the traditional baked dish.
If you want to use gluten-free bread grate or process the bread first and then soak it in the milk.