Sometimes, meals start with a side dish. I have been flicking through Vegan Planet a lot lately - I do love that book - and seeing as it is now summer I am looking at some salady type stuff to be making. I love a pasta salad, so I decided I should make Lighten Up Pasta Salad on Thursday evening. But what to go with? Pasta salad does not equal dinner. Well, sometimes it does, but not this night. The book suggested it is a great side for vegan sausages, and I remembered reading a homemade vegan sausage recipe not too long ago. I was sold!
The recipe in question comes was Homemade Sausages from Vegan Dad, which in turn seem to come from Isa's blog at The PPK. I made a double batch, because that was how much my tin of beans would make and also because I have a work BBQ on Sunday and wanted some extra sausages to take along to that.
The recipe is easy enough to follow and make. While other spice combinations are suggested, I followed the recipe to the letter for this first attempt. For those of you used to making seitan-type proucts before, this mixture is a lot more moist compared to if you are making seitan chunks or cutlets. I have to say, when you are forming the logs on the alfoil sheets, it is not the most appetising thing to look at! But don't let that put you off!
This recipe called for the sausages to be steamed. VeganDad and some other blogs I've seen have bought handy steamer trays that fit right into their saucepans. I didn't have the exact perfect steamer to use here, but I cobbled one together. I only have one of those vegetable steamers that expands to the size of your saucepan. For this recipe you work you need a large flat steamer to fit the sausages. What I did was I used this steamer in my 10L stockpot. The stockpot was big enough so that the steamer basket was completely extended and flat. That alone didn't really leave enough room to add much water underneath for the steaming, so I propped it up using a small round metal cake rack. That gave me room to add a good inch or so of water underneath. I then steamed it on medium heat with the lid on.
Here is a picture of the sausages placed in my makeshift sausage steamer. What dazzling silverness! It actually worked great, and could be used for any steamed sietan recipe. The only thing is that my steamer has a permanently attached spike in the middle with a ring to allow you to remove it from your saucepan, so that would make this unable to be used for large seitan roasts. However you can get these vegetable steamers with detachable hooks. I used to have one in Sydney, but I don't know where it is after the move, so I will go and buy another one. Much cheaper than buying the actual steamer component to the stockpot. Hurrah!
Here are the sausages, all steamed and awaiting their next fate. I had to steam them in two batches because I had doubled the recipe and only 6 at a time would fit in the steamer. One thing I wasn't sure is if I was meant to unwrap them from the foil to let them cool, or if I was supposed to let them cool in the foil. So for each batch I did a different thing. No really huge difference, but I think that the ones that cooled still wrapped in foil held up a bit better.
And here's dinner! I fried the sausages in a fry pan with just a smidge of olive oil. I also fried up some sliced onions to go with them. So homemade sausages and onions in a roll with ketchup and mustard. Also pictured here are the Lighten Up Pasta Salad and the Sweet Baby Salad from Coles. I know, prepackaged salads = evil. Bit I really like this one because it has lots of fun and interesting green stuff in it. Also I baked some frozen French Fries. Which weren't strictly needed but I saw them in the photo with the sausages from Vegan Dad and thus my craving was born!
The verdict? The sausages are amazingly wonderful! So tasty, amazing texture, completely cruelty free and you get to feel incredibly smug for having made your own sausages from scratch. Tee hee. They were maybe a little heavy on the fennel, so I might tone that down a bit next time. The Lighten Up Pasta Salad from Vegan Planet was quite a nice side dish, but did just seem to be lacking a little something in flavour. I like the Deli Macaroni Salad from Veganomicon better. But all around a great dinner!
And tomorrow I am taking both left over sausages and salad to my work Christmas BBQ, to show them all how much it rocks to be vegan!
Oh yeah, do yourself a favour and go and make the sausages if you haven't already!