BBQ Sausages

This recipe was made for what my family calls “mixed gril” that usually involves an assortment of meats. My mom found this recipe for vegan Italian sausages, and it turned out to be a great recipe. Here is the link to the original recipe, from onegreenplanet.org.

I ate them with Hot English Mustard (AKA hem), and the next day I ate them for lunch cut into rounds on a charcuterie board – baguette, avocado, tomato, hummus, olives, and a bit of cheese (flexed my flexitarian there). They are pretty tasty, but certainly do not expect to be eating a pork sausage.

When I told my boyfriend about the sausages he sent me this link where you can order cases for homemade veggie sausages. I think it’d be neat to try in the future.

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Ingredients for spice mix
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed into a powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp allspice

I mixed all the spices in a small bowl and set it aside.

Ingredients for the sausage
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum (at a health food store you can buy this in the bulk section – I bought the equivalent of 1 tsp)
3 tbsp vegan Worcerstershire sauce

I started by heating a skillet with the olive oil and sauteeing the onion and mushrooms until softened, about 10 minutes. I added the garlic about half way through. I let the mixture cool while I did the next step.

The next step involved mashing the black-eyed peas in a bowl with a potato masher. It is important not to make the mixture a puree, but get the beans nice and mashed. Then, I added the spices, tomato paste, nutritional yeast, rice flour, and xanthan gum, making sure to mix well.

I added the cooled mushroom and onion mixture and the Worcertershire sauce.

Next, I formed the mixture into four balls and rolled them into sausages, making sure they were as sturdy as possible. I used pieces of aluminium foil, about 6 inches long, to help get the sausages to the right size and shape. I wrapped each sausage in foil.

Next, I steamed the sausages between 15-20 minutes, and put them in the freezer once cooled, to use in a couple days. Otherwise, they should be refrigerated for a few hours.

The sausages were BBQed, grill lightly oiled and foil off, until browned. This task was done by my awesome stepfather. Three out of four sausages stayed together perfectly well, and one broke in half, so that’s pretty good for homemade vegan meat.

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Christmas Feast 2013

Christmas at my house traditionally involves my stepfather pulling off a giant turkey dinner for the family; it wouldn’t be Christmas without bacon roasted on the turkey and sausage in the stuffing. This was the first Christmas since I became flexitarian (vegan with exceptions here and there), and I wanted to make a festive vegan dish to contribute to the plant-based options on the table. I decided to make a Festive Savoury Tart with Mushroom Gravy. I got the recipe for the tart from Dreena Burton, who I follow on Facebook. She included this recipe in her cookbook called Let Them Eat Vegan. I do not own this cookbook yet, but had access to it over the summer while living with another vegan. Here is my adaptation of her Festive Chickpea Tart recipe.

Festive Savoury Tart
Ingredients for the pie shell
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil at room temperature
4-7 tbsp cold water

Ingredients for the filling
3-4 tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
2 cups chickpeas, with 1/3 cup reserved
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp soy sauce (ideally tamari instead, but I don’t know where to find it)
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup pecans, toasted (ideally use walnuts)
10 oz spinach, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tbsp fresh thyme
Fresh parsley
Pepper

Ingredients for the topping
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce (again, ideally tamari)
2 tbsp pecans or walnuts

Mushroom Gravy
Ingredients
2 shallots, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
3-4 tbsp flour
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp thyme
3-4 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper

First off, I made the pie dough. It is important to note that this recipe needs some tweaking, as it was quite difficult to roll out, and I ended up pressing it in with my fingers. While the crust stayed together when the tart was being served, I am still not convinced that this recipe is the best approach to vegan pie crust.

To make the dough I tossed together the four, sugar, and salt, then cut in the coconut oil with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembled sand. I added the water little by little until the dough easily forms a ball. I think I required a little extra water to do so. I formed a ball with the dough, wrapped it in plastic wrap, flattened it into a disk, and refrigerated it for an hour.

Next came the filling for the tart. I began by toasting the pecans for 8-9 minutes in an oven of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and let them cool. Next, I sauteed the onion, celery, garlic, and salt and pepper in a pan with the coconut oil. I let them cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion was soft and golden.

In a food processor, I pulsed the chickpeas (not including the reserved 1/3 cup) with the lemon juice, soy sauce, sage, and sauteed mixture, leaving the mixture slightly chunky; you do not want it to look like hummus. I added the toasted pecans and briefly pulsed it to break up the nuts. I transferred the mixture to a bowl and stirred in the spinach, cranberries, parsley, thyme, and reserved chickpeas. Then, I transferred the filling into a pie shell, with the pie dough pressed in evenly.

On the top of the tart I sprinkled the topping ingredients. The pecans will toast in the oven, so there is no need to toast them beforehand.

The tart was baked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

Next came the mushroom gravy. I sauteed the shallots and garlic for a few minutes, then added the sliced mushrooms and browned them for 10 minutes. I added the flour, reduced the heat, and cooked for another five minutes. Little by little I whisked in the vegetable stock and added the thyme. The gravy simmered for 30 minutes, then I seasoned it with salt and pepper. If the gravy had been too thin for my liking, I would have added more flour by mixing it with water in a little bowl, then adding it to the mixture (this reduces the likelihood of lumps in the gravy).

The savoury tart was eaten by all at the Christmas meal, and I was able to enjoy the festive flavours without having any turkey. Even though this time of year has proven to be more difficult to eat vegan (with all the family get-togethers and all), it was nice to share this dish with my family.

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