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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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Macadamia Nut Frosting

Dreena Burton: she knows what’s up.

For years I have been searching for macadamia nuts that do not may contain peanuts, and last weekend my dad found some at Costco!! This is a happy moment; for those of you with food allergies, you get what I am talking about. So, I was finally able to make a recipe that I had on the backlog for months: Dreena Burton’s Vegan Pumpkin Cake and Fluffy Macadamia Mallow Frosting. For her thorough and delicious recipe complete with tips for modifications, go here. Burton is the author of “Let Them Eat Vegan” that is full of delicious vegan recipes for the whole family. I highly recommend it.

Here is my experience with the recipe.

I made my own macadamia nut butter by soaking the nuts in water and blending them into a butter with a food processor. I had to soak the nuts and rinse them well, as they were salted and roasted. Ideally I would have liked to buy actual macadamia nut butter, or make the butter from raw macadamias, but these things are hard to find peanut-free. I would have also liked to use a Vitamix, but I do not own one.

First thing to do is put a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, for the frosting.

Ingredients for the Cake
Dry Ingredients
2 1/4 cups flour (I used half millet flour and half white all-purpose)
1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsps, sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/16 tsp ground cloves
(1/8 tsp allspice – I had to omit this because I did not have any)

Wet Ingredients
3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used soy)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup neutral flavoured oil (I used melted coconut oil)

I preheated the oven to 350*F and greased 12 muffin tins (next time I will do 18, as the batter rose more than I expected it to. Cupcakes can be smaller because of the frosting on top that makes them larger).

In a large bowl I whisked together the dry ingredients. For optimal blending of the batter, they should be sifted, but I was lazy. If you do not sift dry ingredients in recipes, make sure that you whisk it well to ensure the lumps are out, and when incorporating the wet ingredients, ensure that there are not any lumps.

In a medium bowl I whisked together the wet ingredients, then added the wet mixture and the oil to the dry ingredients. I used a spatula to incorporate the ingredients together, scraping the bottom of the bowl to ensure everything blended. I filled the muffin tins with batter and baked them for 25 minutes, until a toothpick came out clean. This is how long it took for my cupcakes, as the tins were full, but with 18 instead of 12, I think it would take more like 18 minutes. When in doubt, set the timer for less time than you think, and check on them. I let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.

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Ingredients for Frosting
1 can of coconut milk, refrigerated over night*
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeded*
3 tbsp macadamia nut butter
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (found it at the health food store)

*note: I used a brand of coconut milk called Arayuma. I got it at the health food store, and it claims to be organic, fair trade, and preservative-free. 1% of the proceeds go to protecting Sri Lanka’s wild elephants. It was the cheapest coconut milk there, and I wanted to try a good-quality coconut milk. I have heard that canned coconut milk is not too good for you, but I am not exactly sure why. Anyway, I just wanted to try something new.

*note: cut vanilla bean length-wise and use a knife to scrape out the dark paste inside. You can use 1 tsp vanilla extract if you don’t want to use vanilla bean.

To make the frosting, first off, I scooped out the fatty part of the coconut milk, making sure to leave behind all the coconut water. The fat is much more solid than I was expecting, and took up about 2/3 of the can. I placed the coconut fat into a large bowl and whipped it with an electric mixer for about a minute to fluff it up. I added the salt, sugar, vanilla bean, and nut butter and slowly whipped it to incorporate, and added the xanthan gum last. I whipped the frosting for about two minutes until it was creamy. I put it in the fridge to let it solidify a bit more, leaving it in there for about 10 minutes.

Using a piping bag, I piped the frosting on the cupcakes. It would have been easy to just use a knife to spread it on the cupcakes, but I felt like they deserved a little more love than that, given how delicious they are.

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With the leftover coconut water, I plan on making a green smoothie and adding it to that. For the leftover pumpkin puree, check out this recipe of mine from a previous post.