Should a person try making vegan sausages?
Isn’t the whole idea misguided?
Shouldn’t we simply celebrate the inherent qualities of the non-meat-based world of food?
I suggest you take that up with the people behind the Beyond Burger.
Those of us cooking for mixed omnivore and vegetarian households know that having a decent meat-like substitute for old favorites can make life easier.
These vegan sausages are one such.
The key ingredient is something called vital wheat gluten. This is what’s left of flour after you remove the starch and everything but the gluten.
Gluten is what gives bread it’s chewiness and lift, and it’s what gives vegan sausages their texture.
You might be able to find vital wheat gluten at a health or bulk food store. (In Canada it’s available at the Bulk Barn. If it’s not available near you, you can order it through Amazon.)
The process is really pretty simple. Cook up some red lentils with vegetable stock until they form a mash, add it to the gluten with some seasonings and spices, toss in some oatmeal and a bit more stock, and form it all into a dough.
The dough will feel quite springy and can be rolled into sausage shapes then wrapped in aluminum foil and simmered in boiling water for 40 minutes. During the cooking time the sausages will expand and end up looking like this when they are removed from the foil:
The spice combination in this recipe is for a breakfast type of sausage, but once you see how easy these are to make, you’ll want to try different flavors. This website has an extensive list of different sausage seasoning combinations – just add the spices to the gluten (and omit the meat!)
Note: You cannot substitute regular flour for the vital wheat gluten. You’ll end up with a mess if you try.
You can change the spices to create different flavor profiles. The spices in this recipe are for a breakfast-type sausage.
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml red lentils
- 2 cups / 500 ml vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml vegetable oil
- 1-1/2 cups / 375 ml vital wheat gluten
- 3 tablespoons / 45 ml dehydrated onions
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml garlic powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons / 7.5 ml dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml dried fennel powder (or 1 teaspoon / 5 ml fennel seeds)
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml salt
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon / 1.25 ml allspice (optional)
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml oatmeal
- 2/3 cup / 160 ml vegetable stock
Combine red lentils and vegetable stock in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 20 minutes, or until lentils are very soft. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. When cooked, removed the lentils from the heat and stir in the soy sauce and vegetable oil.
While lentils are cooking, combine the vital wheat gluten with the dehydrated onions, garlic powder, sage, fennel, mustard powder, allspice (if using) and salt and pepper. Stir until well mixed.
Add cooked red lentils, oatmeal and 2/3 cup / 160 ml vegetable stock to the vital gluten. Stir until well blended, then knead for a few strokes until the mixture is smooth.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. While it is heating, make your sausages by dividing the dough into 8 equal pieces. Cut 8 pieces of aluminum foil for wrapping the sausages. Brush each piece with oil to coat lightly. This will prevent any sticking during cooking.
Roll each piece of dough into a sausage like shape about 6 inches / 15 cm long. The mixture will expand during cooking, so don't make them too thick. Place each sausage on a piece of aluminum foil and roll to cover. Twist the ends of the rolls firmly. When all of the sausages are completed, place in the boiling water, and reduce heat to a medium. Make sure all sausages are covered with water. Cover and simmer the sausages for 40 minutes. The aluminum foil may discolor during the cooking time, but this is only the outside layer in contact with the water. It will not affect the sausages.
Remove pan from the heat, and remove the sausages with thongs. Carefully untwist the ends and remove the sausages from the aluminum foil. Cool in the fridge for several hours before using.
To make sausages for grilling, make the rolls of sausage thinner. You can divide the dough into 10 -12 pieces instead of 8.