How to Prepare a Flavor-Packed Bubble and Squeak with Leftover Vegetables and Bacon?

In the realm of comfort food, there are few things as satisfying as Bubble and Squeak. This traditional British dish has a curious name that refers to the noise it makes while cooking in the pan. It’s a beloved recipe, not just for its flavorful combination of mashed potatoes and vegetables but also for its ability to make use of leftovers in a delicious, ingenious way. Today, you will learn how to bring this culinary classic to your kitchen, with a hearty addition of bacon for an extra layer of flavor.

The Basics of Bubble and Squeak

The Bubble and Squeak dish is as comforting as it is resourceful. Its origins date back to the 18th century in Britain, when families would use leftover vegetables from their Sunday roast to create a new meal for the week. The key ingredients are mashed potatoes and cabbage, but the beauty of this dish is its flexibility. You can use almost any form of leftover vegetables that you have on hand.

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The Bubble and Squeak formula is simple yet yields incredibly satisfying results. It begins with sautéing onions and bacon in a skillet, followed by adding the vegetables and mashed potatoes. The mixture is then cooked until it forms a crispy golden crust. While bacon is not a traditional ingredient, it adds a smoky, savory element that elevates the overall flavor of the dish.

Gathering Your Ingredients

For making Bubble and Squeak, you need:

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  • 500 g of mashed potatoes
  • 200 g of cooked cabbage
  • 200 g of leftover vegetables
  • 150 g of chopped bacon
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or oil

The bacon can be substituted with vegan bacon or omitted entirely for a vegetarian or vegan version of the dish.

Preparing the Bubble and Squeak

Start by heating your pan over a medium flame. Add the chopped bacon and sauté until it’s crispy. If you’re using vegan bacon or skipping it, start with the onions instead.

Next, dice the onion and add it to the pan. Sauté it until it turns translucent. This will generally take around 5 to 10 minutes.

Now, it’s time to add the vegetables. You can use any you prefer or have on hand. Common options include peas, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and of course, cabbage. Make sure the vegetables are cooked before adding them to the pan. This is why leftover vegetables work so well for this dish.

At this point, your kitchen will be filled with the aroma of onions, bacon, and vegetables. Now, add the mashed potatoes to the pan. The potatoes bind the ingredients together and form the base of the dish. Stir everything together until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Once it’s well mixed, flatten the mixture with your spatula and let it cook undisturbed for about 10 minutes. This will allow a crust to form at the bottom, which adds to the texture and flavor of the Bubble and Squeak.

Finishing Touches

After the crust has formed, give the mixture a good stir and flip it over. Let it cook for another 10 minutes to form a crust on the other side.

By this point, the Bubble and Squeak will be almost ready. Add salt and pepper to taste, and if you’d like, a bit more butter or oil for extra crispness.

Remember, the aim here is not perfection, but comfort and flavor. The dish is traditionally served with eggs for breakfast or alongside a roast for dinner.

The Vegan Version

If you’re vegan, don’t worry. You can still enjoy this dish by making a few adjustments. Vegan butter or oil can be used in place of regular butter. Vegan bacon is a great substitute for regular bacon, and it’s available in most supermarkets these days.

In terms of vegetables, the sky’s the limit. You can add cooked cabbage, peas, carrots, Brussels sprouts, or any other vegetable that you fancy. Just ensure they are leftover or pre-cooked. Since you’re not using any animal products, you might want to add a bit more seasoning to bring out the flavors.

The process is the same as the standard recipe. Start by sautéing the onions and vegan bacon, if using, in the vegan butter or oil. Then, add your cooked vegetables and mashed potatoes. Cook until a crust forms, then flip and repeat on the other side. Season with salt and pepper, and voila! Your vegan Bubble and Squeak is ready to serve.

Serving Bubble and Squeak

Now comes the crowning moment, serving the Bubble and Squeak. The dish can be served as it is, straight from the pan, but traditionally, it is often accompanied by a fried egg or a slice of roast beef. The choice is yours, and it largely depends on your preferences and dietary restrictions.

If you choose to serve with eggs, simply fry or poach an egg while the Bubble and Squeak is cooking. Once ready, place the egg on top of the bubble and squeak. The runny yolk adds an extra level of decadence and creaminess to the dish.

For those who prefer a meatier option, a slice of leftover roast beef or ham pairs perfectly with the hearty Bubble and Squeak. The meat can be reheated in the same pan after the Bubble and Squeak has been prepared, soaking up any remaining flavors.

Vegans can serve their Bubble and Squeak with a side of baked beans for additional protein. Or, consider a dollop of vegan sour cream for added richness.

Remember, the objective here is not to get a star rating for presentation but to enjoy a flavorful and satisfying dish that makes the most of your leftovers.

A Gluten-Free Variation

Bubble and Squeak is inherently gluten-free as it primarily consists of mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables. However, if you’re using store-bought bacon or vegan alternatives, always check the label as some products may contain gluten.

To make sure your Bubble and Squeak stays gluten-free, choose bacon that is clearly labeled as such. The same rule applies to vegan bacon substitutes. If in doubt, simply omit the bacon altogether.

Likewise, if you’re using any additional sauces or seasonings, carefully read the labels. Some may contain gluten or other allergens. Stick to basic seasonings like salt pepper and herbs to avoid any issues.

When it comes to the pan, opt for a non-stick frying pan. This way, you won’t need to use flour or breadcrumbs to achieve the desired golden brown crust, further ensuring your dish remains gluten-free.


Embrace the beauty of leftovers with the delightful Bubble and Squeak. Whether you stick to the traditional version with mashed potatoes and cabbage or customize it to your liking with your favorite leftover vegetables, this dish guarantees satisfaction.

With its versatility, Bubble and Squeak accommodates everyone, from bacon lovers to vegans to those on a gluten-free diet. Its simplicity yet flavorful result makes it an all-time favorite, perfect for any meal of the day.

So, don’t let your leftovers go to waste. Transform them into a comforting Bubble and Squeak that will fill your kitchen with mouthwatering aromas and your stomach with delicious food. Happy cooking!

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