26 September 2023

A Recipe That Tastes Like Oz

Start the conversation

By Christine Salins.


With Australia Day coming up on Thursday, it’s appropriate that this week’s recipe should feature Vegemite. After all, it’s hard to think of a more distinctively Australian product.

Vegemite is celebrating its 100th birthday later this year. In 1923, the Fred Walker Company, a Melbourne-based food production and export company, hired a young chemist, Dr Cyril P. Callister, to develop a spread from brewer’s yeast, one of the richest known natural sources of Vitamin B.

Initially slow to sell, it really took off in popularity during the Second World War. In the 1950s, a group of cheery youngsters singing Happy Little Vegemites burst onto the airwaves and later TV screens, cementing the product’s status as an Australian icon.

While the brand was foreign owned for a long time, in 2017 it was purchased by Bega Cheese Limited, bringing it back into Australian ownership. It is produced in Port Melbourne, Victoria, and in 2016 the street where the factory is located was renamed from Cook Street to Vegemite Way.

Now here’s a book that will guarantee lots of happy little Vegemites. The Vegemite Cookbook: recipes that taste like Australia, published by Penguin Random House Australia (RRP $29.99) celebrates 100 years of Vegemite’s place in our hearts and pantries.

As well as history and fun facts, it has more than 40 recipes containing Vegemite, from Bolognese and breakfast muffins to the recipe below, which takes the humble roast to an all-new level. There are also fresh ways to include Vegemite in soups, salads and stir-fries.

It even brings a delicious twist to a batch of chocolate raspberry brownies, cheesecake, and that other Australian classic: lamingtons.

Today, Vegemite isn’t just owned and made in Australia, it is completely woven into the fabric of our nation.

Roast Beef with Vegemite Gravy

Serves 6


2 teaspoons olive oil

1 kg beef roast (such as blade roast, sirloin or scotch roast, or 1.2 kg standing rib roast)

1 tablespoon Vegemite

1 tablespoon honey

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

steamed vegetables (baby carrots, green beans, peas, baby potatoes), to serve

Quick Gravy

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons plain flour

2 cups (500 ml) vegetable stock, heated

2 teaspoons Vegemite

1 tablespoon tomato sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced.
  2. Heat a frying pan (or flameproof roasting pan) over high heat. Rub oil over beef and cook for 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until well browned all over. Whisk Vegemite, honey and pepper together in a small bowl and brush 3/4 of the glaze mixture over beef.
  3. Place a rack into a roasting pan and sit meat on the rack. Roast for 40 minutes, basting with remaining glaze halfway through cooking, for medium result, or until cooked to your liking.
  4. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil to rest for at least 15 minutes, while you make the gravy.
  5. Melt butter in a saucepan and scatter the flour over the top. Stir with a wooden spoon over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly golden. Add the hot stock slowly, stirring constantly. Whisk in the VEGEMITE and sauces. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until thickened.
  6. Carve the rested beef into thick slices and serve with vegetables and gravy.

Tip: Replace a portion of the stock with pan resting juices if you have them.

Recipe and image from The Vegemite Cookbook: recipes that taste like Australia, published by Penguin Random House Australia, RRP $29.99.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.