Since I discovered vital wheat gluten, I have not stopped making these vegan sausages. They are just as good, if not better tasting than any vegan sausage I have ever had, homemade or store-bought. They are not full of preservatives and flavour enhancers like the ones you buy in the store, and to top it off the texture is fantastic!
Your core ingredients are vital wheat gluten, chickpea flour, water, tomato paste and olive oil. This is what makes the base - then you add all the spices. I have been exclusively experimenting with the spicy Italian sausage, but I shall be branching out very soon and trying out some other flavour combinations to create other types of sausage; perhaps breakfast sausage, chipotle, and maybe even a chorizo.
I make 4 small-ish sausages, wrap them in tinfoil and steam them in a steamer basket with the lid on for 45 minutes. Once they are finished, remove them from the steamer basket and unwrap the tinfoil. They will have firmed up and as they cool they will become even more firm. After they have cooled for about 5 minutes they will be ready to slice.
The photos above show the sauce-making process step-by step. It is fairy simple, first sautéing the onions, mushrooms and garlic, removing them from the pan and then sautéing the tomatoes and sausage for a minute or two. You will add the onions, mushrooms and garlic back into the pan along with the tomato sauce and sundried tomatoes and cook for a little longer. Next comes the fresh oregano and basil and finally the spinach.
While the sauce is being prepared you should be cooking your pasta to al dente and when it is ready, rinse it in cool water to reduce the sliminess from the starch in the pasta water. Drain and add to the skillet with the prepared sauce. I always rinse my pasta with cool water not only to reduce the sliminess from the starch but also because your pasta will continue to cook if it remains hot despite that it is no longer in the boiling water. Rinsing it with cool water ensures that it stops cooking, stays the perfect texture, and is not slimy!
Voila! Garnish with fresh basil strips and parsley and enjoy!
Spicy Italian Sausage (makes 4 sausages)
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
2 1/2 tbsp chickpea flour
1/2 tsp coconut sugar
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground thyme
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1 tsp if you like really spicy)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp of chili flakes
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 cups uncooked penne rigatta
3 cloves garlic
½ cup onion, finely chopped
4 vegan spicy Italian sausages
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
¾ cup crushed tomatoes
5 sundried tomatoes in oil, sliced
¼ cup fresh basil
3 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, packed and chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Prepare a large pot with ~2 inches of water in the bottom and a steamer basket placed inside and bring to a boil. The water should not come above the bottom of the steamer basket. Also prepare 4 pieces of tin foil about 8 inches by 5 inches (doesn't have to be exact).
Combine the vital wheat gluten, chickpea flour, sugar, all spices and salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl and stir until combined.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, olive oil and water.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until a ball forms, it should not be sticky to the touch but it will look kind of wet.
Separate into 4 equal sized portions and roll between your hands into a sausage shape.
Place each sausage on a piece of tin foil and roll up, twisting at the ends.
Place the 4 sausages in the steamer basket and put a lid on the pot, you can reduce the heat to a simmer while the lid is on. Steam for 45 minutes and remove from the basket.
Unwrap the sausages and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Cook penne to al dente.
Slice the spicy Italian sausages and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Sauté onion, mushrooms and garlic for about 1 minute. Add the sliced spicy Italian sausages and cherry tomatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil and oregano and sliced spinach. Cook for another 4-5 minutes.
Lastly, add salt and pepper to taste and serve with fresh basil strips and parsley on top. Enjoy!