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What Are Vegan Sausages?

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  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2016
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Vegan sausages are a type of food‭ ‬that attempts to reproduce the flavor and texture of meat sausages without the use of any animal products.‭ ‬There are both commercially produced vegan sausages as well as recipes that can be made at home.‭ ‬Some vegans prefer to prepare these sausages at home to ensure that‭ ‬no animal products are incorporated.‭ ‬Although there are a variety of‭ ‬ingredients that can be used to create these sausages,‭ ‬the most common are beans,‭ ‬tofu and seitan.

Many recipes for vegan sausages use a combination of ingredients that are designed to provide the texture and flavor of a sausage made from beef or pork.‭ ‬One frequent problem with this type of‭ ‬cooking is the need for a vegan binder that‭ ‬allows‭ ‬the mixture to retain its shape during cooking.‭ Eggs cannot be used in truly vegan recipes,‭ ‬so other‭ ‬binders‭ ‬— such as potato flour,‭ ‬wheat gluten and chickpea flour — are added instead.

If beans or tofu are used to create the sausages,‭ ‬even with a binder,‭ ‬they might be too delicate in texture to cook like a traditional sausage.‭ ‬Wrapping the sausage mixture in foil and then steaming or boiling it for some time can help set the ingredients or can cook the links completely through.‭ ‬If steaming is used only to set the mix,‭ ‬then‭ ‬the sausages can‭ ‬be quickly fried or grilled afterward to develop texture on the surface.

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Seitan is a popular ingredient for making vegan sausages.‭ ‬It is a form of vital wheat gluten, and it can be purchased either as a powder or as a pre-made loaf.‭ ‬When seitan is combined with water and sometimes flour,‭ ‬it begins to form into a type of dough that,‭ ‬after it is cooked,‭ ‬has a strong textural resemblance to meat.‭ ‬Prepared seitan‭ ‬is also a very sturdy‭ ‬ingredient and can stand up to‭ ‬a variety of cooking methods.

Beans such as red pinto beans and black‭ ‬beans are popular choices as well,‭ ‬providing a very meaty texture for the sausage.‭ A bowl of mashed beans will not hold a cohesive shape,‭ ‬so wheat flour‭ ‬or gluten must be added to thicken the base.‭ Flavors‭ ‬from spices such as cumin and hot peppers‭ ‬are‭ ‬better‭ ‬absorbed by beans‭ ‬than seitan in some instances.

In the commercial production of vegan sausages,‭ ‬tofu is often the primary ingredient.‭ ‬It can be mixed with beans or vital gluten wheat for added texture and‭ ‬can be infused with a variety of spices.‭ ‬Commercial sausages can rely on binders,‭ ‬firmly pressing the mixture in industrial machines or soy-based casings to help maintain their shape during shipping and cooking.

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