I’m excited to share with you how I made the vegan andouille-style sausage that I included in the jambalaya I made earlier this week. Yes – homemade vegan sausage! The sausage is what made the jambalaya extra special, so it’s really worth making it for that. But you could use the sausage for anything you’d use regular sausage for – even just slice it and eat it as a snack. You don’t need any special equipment to make the sausage – just a steamer basket, a blender or food processor (you could even do without that, if you had to), and aluminum foil. So if you have the ingredients, you can do it.
I recently learned how to make vegan sausage – and that it was in fact possible to make vegan sausage at home – from vegan cookbook authors Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who has a recipe for Spicy Pinto Sausage on her blog, and Julie Hasson, who created this method and has a recipe and video demonstration for Spicy Italian Vegetarian Sausage on her website Everyday Dish TV. In the video, she encourages folks to create variations on this recipe, which I think is so cool of her.
My task was to make it andouille-style. The instructor of the class I went to last week at the New Orleans School of Cooking said that andouille sausage is double smoked. You make the sausage out of smoked ham and smoked pork, then you smoke the sausage. Also, it is usually reddish in color. So, I selected some key ingredients to add smoky flavor, reddish color, and spiciness. These include chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, liquid smoke, smoked paprika, and tomato paste.
If there was a negative about this recipe, it would be that it calls for certain ingredients that might not be available at your local grocery store. The main ingredient and what makes the sausage hold together is vital wheat gluten. I’ve been seeing it more and more these days in regular grocery stores, particularly the Bob’s Red Mill Brand, so hopefully it shouldn’t be difficult to find. The recipe also calls for chickpea flour and nutritional yeast, two more ingredients which aren’t in most people’s pantries.
To get around this, I tried making sausages without using the chickpea flour and nutritional yeast. The experiment was unsuccessful. I learned that these ingredients add serious flavor, but even more importantly, without them the texture of the sausage is rubbery and just not enjoyable to eat. Including them creates a lighter texture that makes the sausage a pleasure to bite into.
If you’re setting up your vegan pantry, vital wheat gluten, chickpea flour, and nutritional yeast are things you will want to have on hand. Regardless, if these items aren’t available in your local grocery store, you could order them online so you can whip up these sausages anytime.
Inspired by the aforementioned recipes by Julie Hasson and Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 4 sausages (recipe can easily be doubled)
Smoked paprika can sometimes be hard to find, so feel free to substitute regular paprika and add a dash of cayenne to give it an extra kick. Liquid smoke can usually be found in the same aisle as barbecue sauce.
1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
a generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon)
1/4 cup chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, drained (i.e., peppers only, not the sauce), coursely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Combine the dry ingredients (namely, the vital wheat gluten, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast flakes, smoked paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper) in a medium bowl and stir to mix.
Place the chipotle peppers, garlic, and 1/4 cup broth in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients (the remaining 3/4 cup broth, maple syrup, olive oil, soy sauce, tomato paste, and liquid smoke) and blend until smooth.
Add the contents of the blender into the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until wet and dry are incorporated.
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a roll about 5 inches long – they don’t have to be too perfect – and wrap up in a piece of foil like a Tootsie Roll, twisting the ends.
Place in a steamer basket, cover and steam for 40 minutes.
© 2011 BistroKatie.com
Enjoy, and if you do make these or some variation of them, I would love to hear about it. For all of you: what do you think of this idea of creating vegan sausages at home? Does it look easy, hard, appetizing, or not? I’m curious to know.