Every good English Pub should serve a Ploughman’s salad but you mainly find them served in the Real Ale pubs alongside classics like Fish and Chips and Pork Scratchings! Traditionally this salad is more of a midday working mans snack consisting of bread, cheese, pickled onions and chutneys and it was most definitely washed down with beer. Popular with pubs in the 1950s this salad was a way of increasing cheese sales after rations were lifted at the end of the war.
More modern versions of this dish contain bread, cheese, apple, ham, pâté, celery, tomatoes, pickles and salad leaves with many variations in different parts of the country.
When I have ordered vegetarian versions of a ploughmans before it has just been served with big slabs of cheddar, which is fine if you love cheddar, but I personally find it a bit much to eat like that. I wanted to be presented with a creative alternative to a traditional ploughmans but still with the rustic simplicity needed to make it a true ploughmans.
Ploughmans Salads are different to others because you don’t mix the ingredients together, instead it is usually served on a wooden board and each element is kept seperate. You can then pick and choose how you want to mix it up on your fork! It can be served as single portions or part of a big Ploughmans platter to put in the middle of the table and share around.
For my version I have included two vegetarian elements which I think work well in a ploughmans concept. Mushroom and Almond Pâté works really nicely with the fresh apple and it is delicious spread on to bread or crackers with cheese! It’s got a real hearty, meaty feel to it and I think it’s a good replacement to the boiled ham or liver pâté often served up.
The second element is a Cranberry and Lemon Goats Cheese. This may sound a little fancy for a ploughmans but it works really well against the pâté as it adds a sweeter lighter element. Goats cheese has barely any lactose in it so it is fine for most people with a lactose intolerance to eat. If you are vegan then just substitute the cheese element for your favourite vegan cheez 🙂
Mushroom and almond pâté –
Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free
25g dried mushrooms soaked then drained n finely chopped (reserve the soaking liquid)
1/2 cup- 75g almonds soaked,
250g (8) large closed cup mushrooms very finely chopped,
1 red onion finely chopped,
1 garlic clove crushed.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the fresh and soaked mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme and tarragon for 5 mins then add 120 ml/ 1/2 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid. Drain the almonds and roughly chop them then add to the mushrooms mix in the pan and season to taste.
Cook everything down until the water has been absorbed then blend until a rough pate. This is also nice with some truffle oil stirred in.
Cranberry and Lemon Goats Cheese
Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Low Lactose
1 pack soft Goats Cheese
1 Lemon(zest only)
1 handful cranberries
This is very simple, simple combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and then chill until needed. If the goats cheese is firm rather than creamy then put it in the microwave for 10 seconds to loosen it up so you can stir in the extras.
Serve the pate and cheese with-
Gluten Free Bread
A pint of Ale