Italian Barrel, a meat obsessed website, covering vegan? What gives?
Your eyes aren’t misleading you. We’ll try anything once and vegan sausages aren’t actually too bad. You’ll never convert us from our main passion which is sausage making using real meat. But sometimes it’s nice to have a break from animal protein for a night. Meatless Monday anyone?
There are a number of reasons for avoiding the meat. Health, environmental and ethical reasons are at the top of the pile. Others simply don’t enjoy eating it. But just because people forgo the meat, it doesn’t mean they wish to give up the sausage. This article will resolve the sausage dilemma.
About the vegan lifestyle
It takes a huge effort to maintain a vegan lifestyle. Not only is animal meat off the menu, but also anything made by a living creature. Think dairy foods, eggs, cricket flour and honey. There are a surprising number of foods that are off limits to a vegan.
Vegans live on a diet consisting primarily of fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
What are the benefits to eating vegan you ask? Besides sleeping well knowing you’re a kind soul, the vegan diet touts numerous health benefits. Clear skin, strong heart, gleaming hair, bright smile, reduction in total body fat and cholesterol, and more energy are just a few potential benefits of a vegan lifestyle.
When looking for animal protein alternatives you’ll find there are plenty of options.
A fiber rich vegan protein source most people wouldn’t think to use in a sausage. A 15 ounce can of pinto beans contains roughly 366 calories, 3.44 grams of Fat, 20.67 grams of Protein and 19.6 grams of dietary fiber. It is a excellent meat alternative for making your homemade sausage.
Beans offer a wide variety of flavors that can be tailored to suit your menu. Chickpea or garbanzo beans are ideal for a Middle Eastern flavored dish. Pinto and kidney for a South Western or BBQ themed menu. Fava or white beans, combined with a few other ingredients to enhance flavor, make a lovely Italian style sausage.
The ever popular and widely available tofu is another good choice for your sausage making. From a 14-ounce package of firm tofu, a 3-ounce serving contains 70 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fiber.
Tofu provides another alternative that has a neutral flavor making it a wonderful taste choice. For those who are also diabetic it is a better option than beans which contain carbohydrates.
A vegan option made from vital wheat gluten (named wheat meat) is a good source of Iron. A 3-ounce portion which is made with tamari, ginger, garlic, seaweed and soy sauce contains approximately 2 grams of fat, 1-2 grams of fiber and between 13 and 21 grams of protein.
It can be high in sodium, so those on a sodium restricted diet might choose to avoid this option.
Nuts and seeds
With a wide selection of nuts and seeds the choices are virtually unlimited. You can grind nuts and seeds into a flour or purchase prepackaged bags of almond or other flour for a nutrient dense sausage alternative. You treat flour a lot like breadcrumbs when making sausages.
A ¼ cup of almond flour serving contains 180 calories, 15 grams of total fat, 3 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein.
Mushrooms and other vegetables
You can choose to use vegetables like mushrooms mixed with grains such as rice. Bring to life the garden variety of sausages. Most meat eaters won’t be able to tell they’re vegan!
For some, things can get tired
Once you become a vegan, you’ll soon exhaust the numerous salad alternatives. Grains, nuts, tofu, seeds and beans are a wonderful protein source. However, you may find yourself craving meat.
What you wouldn’t give for some delicious sausage. So let’s deal with this craving now – we’ll focus on a meat free sausage that is full of flavour and guaranteed to satisfy.
Vegan Sausage Recipe
The Spice Ingredients
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Sausage Meat Ingredients
- 2 teaspoon + 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup mushrooms, diced
- 2/3 cup onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas, rinsed and mashed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- Mix all spices in a bowl and set aside.
- Heat oil in a frying pan and saute mushrooms, onion, and garlic until soft. Allow to cool.
- Add peas to a bowl and add tomato paste, yeast, spice mix and brown rice flour. Mix until combined.
- Lightly sprinkle xantham gum over the “meat” and stir through thoroughly.
- Add the cooked veges and stor to combine.
- Create 4-6 sausages, wrap in foil then steam for 15 minutes. Allow to cool then refrigerate overnight.
- Fry or grill sausages when you’re ready to eat.
Get creative with the flavourings
Herbs, spices and flavoring add ins are the key to great vegan sausages. Start experimenting with ingredients to achieve the taste and texture you and your family will enjoy.
Adding vegetables, vegan cheese, herbs and spices can create a truly meat free sausage that competes with any meat filled competitor.
How to stuff a vegan sausage
Your “everyday sausage” is encased in a non-vegan sausage casing. This doesn’t need to be a problem. As you saw in the above recipe, no casings were used and the xanthan gum helps hold everything together nicely. It also helps to refrigerate the sausages for at least 30 minutes before cooking to help them stay together.
Having an outdoor party, brunch, themed dinner? Why not try making vegan sausages. Most meat-eating sausage lovers will enjoy the taste and texture and, if they’ve had a few wines, may not even know the difference!
Look, we aren’t trying to convert anyone to a vegan lifestyle with this article. There are enough others online doing that already. We simply want to give our readers the option to make a non-meat sausage that actually tastes good.
What are your thoughts on the vegan lifestyle? Have you ever made a meat dish without meat? We’d love to hear from you – leave a message below!