Smoked fennel vegan sausage

Easy & meat-free!

Supermarkets are chock a block with nicely packaged veggie sausages, both fresh and frozen, so why bother making them yourself? Well, in my opinion the flavours are usually pretty dull, the majority are over processed and I just don’t think shop bought sausages are that good. Anyway, this recipe is really easy, with a professional looking end result so I had to give it a shot. Oh and I’ve been looking for a tasty filler for my lunch rolls and these looked like they could be a contender.

Apparently, the key to homemade sausages is the vital wheat gluten which binds the recipe and is the main ingredient in seitan. I purchased the powder from Ebay, 100 grams at first because new ingredients scare me! When it arrived I noticed it was sold by a fishing bait company……..ummmm slight confusion and worry. After sending an email to the company my mind was put at ease – apparently they buy this stuff to sell on as bait! I’m no fisherman so who am I to question?

I used the Post Punk Kitchen’s recipe for inspiration but being short on vital wheat gluten and lacking nutritional yeast and soy sauce there’s quite a deviation. I also formed 6 sausages rather than 4 as the mixture went quite far. I would have preferred to use white beans but completely forgot to buy them so subbed these for kidney beans which were ok. So after confirmation that the key ingredient is meant for human consumption I got to work on this ridiculously easy recipe (pretty much a throw it all in and mix it up). I had no idea what to expect from the vital wheat gluten but it really is quite……..well weirdly wonderful I guess. It’s stretchy, glutenous and snaps into any shape formed pre-steaming! During the mixing stage it starts off pretty sticky and then becomes stretchier,  forming a workable sausage ‘meat’. These don’t look the most appetising in the formation stage but once steamed they take on a smoother,  sausage like appearance.

Vegan sausage collage

Vital wheat gluten is fantastic for carrying strong flavours and is pretty robust stuff so it can take a beating in the pan or steamer. These are also a great base for adding other flavours instead of the paprika and fennel. Apricot, apple and sage would work really well in these.

The end product is quite chewy but not in an unpleasant way, I’d make them again! These were enjoyed sliced in a chunky roll with salad, mustard and pickles.

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Smokey Fennel Vegan Sausages

(makes 6-8 sausages)

1/2 cup beans, pre-cooked (cannelini, haricot, kidney)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 garlic clove, grated
100 grams Vital Wheat Gluten
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
A healthy twist of cracked black pepper

Method:

  1. Cut out 4-6 square tin foil sheets to set aside. Meanwhile get steaming apparatus ready.
  2. Mash the beans in a bowl so that no whole ones are left. Then add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed.
  3. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll into sausage shapes and roll into the foil squares. Be sure to secure them at each end by twisting.
  4. Place in the steamer for 40 minutes.
  5. Unwrap and enjoy straight away or chill for later use.

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