Savoring Vegan Sausage
Soy-based meat imitators undoubtedly help ease the transition to a meatless diet for countless people who might otherwise succumb to cravings for “the real thing.” They usually contain only a fraction of the fat of their meat counterparts. And any product that inspires greater use of soy rates highly in my book. I resisted vegan sausages for a long time, as I was never a fan of sausages in my pre-veg days. I was pleasantly surprised by a unique taste and texture sensation. Not so much reminiscent of meat, they are rather complex, spicy, and hearty—a more grown-up version of tofu hot dogs.
There are several brands and varieties; you might want to explore a few to determine your favorite. While I can honestly say I like all that I’ve tried, I prefer the smooth-textured tofu-based type to the grainier, texturized soy protein variety. Tofurkey is my favorite brand, not only for the flavor, but because they are made of tofu and not of manufactured soy protein. Field Roast is another good brand. Those who enjoy a meatier sensation, though, might prefer the latter. Consider flavor variations, too—some brands are peppery, others are boldly suffused with sage.
Some cooking tips: The uncooked links are a bit fragile, so don’t slice them before sauteing. In fact, I like to freeze and then just partially defrost them for easier handling. Then I cook them on a lightly oiled, non-stick skillet at medium-high heat, turning them gently and frequently to brown nicely on all sides. Finally, package directions provide microwave directions, but I don’t recommend this; microwaving firms up the links but doesn’t doesn’t make them sizzling-crisp and golden brown.
In addition to substituting them in dishes that traditionally use sausage, as in the following recipes, soy sausages can be used in a number of simple ways:
- Serve alongside simple pasta dishes for a protein boost
- Put them in a bun and dress with all the usual “fixings”
- Serve for breakfast with cooked grits
- After sautéing, stir into a pot of vegetarian baked beans
- Split lengthwise, saute on both side and serve topped with sauerkraut
Recipes on VegKitchen:
- Provencal Bean Pot
- Italian “Sausage” and Peppers
- Potatoes and Collard Greens with Vegan Sausage
- Country Skillet
- Roasted Veggie Pizza