Vegan DIY sausages

I came across Julie Hasson’s recipe for Spicy Italian Sausage some time ago and was impressed, along with a lot of others by the sound of it, by the result of the method she had put together. Her recipe is a seitan-based sausage that is shaped in aluminium foil and then steamed to cook.

DIY Vegan Bratwurst 3There are several reasons I like the recipe. First of all, it’s very easy to make. I think when people see a package of Field Roast sausages in the store, they seem somewhat unattainable to make at home. But this is not the case! You mix the wet and dry ingredients separately, combine the two, form the sausages in the foil and steam. Simple.

I also like that all of the herbs, spices and other flavours you add to the seitan stay in the final product, unlike the simmer-in-a-broth seitan methods where I feel there is a lot of potential for the flavours to be lost in the broth.

Finally, and most importantly, the texture is very good. Seitan has a tendency to be rubbery and overly chewy but these sausages are very tender. I put this down in part to the fact that she balances the vital wheat gluten with chickpea flour and the fact that the seitan is steamed rather than simmered or roasted.

Having tried out Julie’s recipe, I have since used her basic recipe to make a number of variations. Admittedly, some of the attempts, such as the vegan blood sausage, were disasters. For this one, I substituted as many of the ingredients with darker colored alternatives as possible. Salt was replaced with soy sauce, water with homebrewed stout, vegetable bouillon became marmite and the checkpea flour was replaced with buckwheat. To top it off, I added some deep purple beets to give it that dark red color. Unfortunately, the sausages came out bright pink and not only that but they just did not want to cook. They came out of the steamer still doughy in the middle each time I tried them. They didn’t taste that great either.

DIY Vegan Bratwurst 4There have, however, also been some successes. The hawaiian sausage with pinapple, sesame and ginger was sweet and delicious. It also went great with Eva’s hawaiian kechup on the 4th of July. The sun dried tomato and fennel sausage makes a great pizza topping. The apple sage potato is also a winner, especially in the colder winter months.

My basic recipe remains similar to Julie’s, although I’m keen on adding extra bulk (e.g. apple, onion, pineapple or whatever makes sense for the recipe) to increase tenderness of the finished sausages. These ingredients can either be chopped finely so they are still distinguishable in the final product (recommended for ingredients such as sun dried tomato) or pulverized in a food processor for a more consistent texture (recommended for onion).

Since I’ve now promised these recipes to several people over the last few months, it’s time to publish them. The recipes are available and include successful recipes, unsuccessful attempts and works in progress.

Vegan Corn Cakes Recipe

Corn Cakes I

Eva and I took a trip to Oregon back in September. On our last day in Portland before driving back down the 5, we met up with our friend Ryan and ate breakfast at Paradox Cafe.

Eva got their “Corn Cakes” and they were super awesome. We’ve had a craving for them ever since so I decided to try and recreate them. At this point I have no idea how these compare to the corn cakes we had at Paradox but after a couple of tries, I have a pretty good version. Below is the recipe I came up with.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp margarine
  • 1 Tbsp egg replacer
  • 1/4 cup luke warm water

Method

Corn Cakes II

Mix the apple cider vinegar with the soy milk and let rest for 10 minutes. This is the standard method for vegan buttermilk and you will find the liquid thickens quite a bit*.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix.

Add the margarine to the dry ingredients and cut in with a pastry blender until you have a crumb texture**.

Whisk together the egg replacer and water with an electric whisk until fluffy.***

Add the soy milk mixture and “eggs” and whisk by hand until fairly smooth.

Cook on a cast iron (or non-stick) pan on medium heat until golden brown on each side. Serve with margarine, maple syrup and fruit or nuts.

*When using buttermilk it is necessary to use baking soda in place of some of the baking powder to ensure a complete chemical reaction. If only baking powder were used, some of the additional acids in the baking powder would be not be consumed by the reaction, imparting an unpleasant taste.

**This is my preferred method for mixing fat into pancakes. See my pancake recipe for more details.

***This line was added on June 12 2009 after being omitted from the original post!