Tender, flavorful, and protein-packed, these vegan sausages are easy to make and perfect for all your sausage needs. Grill ‘em and serve in buns or throw in your favorite pasta or soup--this seitan sausage is a winner.
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Hey Internet, it’s about time I give you another amazing seitan recipe. We are ALL about the seitan in this house.
My husband LOVED sausage before going vegan. While he loves some of the popular vegan sausage store brands out there, they make me feel a bit sick to my stomach (too greasy) and we both feel they are too expensive.
So, I challenged myself to come up with a delicious vegan sausage with no oil. I was convinced it would be dry or bland. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
This delicious vegan sausage is super flavorful, super moist (sorry), tender, and “meaty” but not in a gross way. I personally become a little grossed out when food tastes JUST like meat… My husband says this comes pretty close but I can still tell it’s vegan without having sacrificed flavor.
This vegan sausage is a base recipe, meaning you can alter flavors, but if you just make the recipe as written it is incredibly flavorful and incredibly delicious. If I do say so myself.
I have so many ideas on what to do with these seitan sausages: pasta, soup, rice, etc… I even have some special ideas coming out in the form of recipes very soon. Can’t wait for that, honestly.
Anyway, if you’ve never made seitan before, don’t worry, this recipe is pretty easy and simple. All we do is blend up some ingredients, roll up some sausage links, and steam them in a pot. It’s really that simple.
Alright, ready to jump in?
What You’ll Need
This vegan sausage is made from seitan, a vegan/vegetarian meat alternative made from vital wheat gluten. This is flour that has been stripped down to the protein of the wheat. It’s what makes this recipe so high in, you guessed it, protein!
Once mixed with liquid and the other things in this recipe, the vital wheat gluten will form a dough. Some people knead seitan dough to form it, however...
I actually don’t like to knead my seitan dough too much. Overworked seitan is rubbery and gross. Let’s not do that.
Unfortunately this recipe is not gluten-free and I do not have a substitute for the vital wheat gluten.
Standard seitan is ALMOST a complete protein, but it’s missing one of the essential amino acids: lysine.
To add lysine to make seitan a complete protein AND to add more of a tender, meaty texture, I like to blend my seitan with beans.
For this seitan sausage recipe, I used kidney beans (but any would work), mostly for color, but also for nutrients! Kidney beans are very high in antioxidants. Black beans would also work well in this recipe.
You’ll need a liquid to blend everything together.
To really make it taste like rich sausage, I highly recommend you use a vegan beef broth. My favorite is Better Than Bouillon Vegan Beef Base--which you just mix with hot water.
The Better Than Bouillon brand is much more economical than prepared broth, has better flavor in my personal opinion, and lasts forever in the fridge.
However, vegan beef bouillon cubes or prepared vegan beef broth will also work.
If you cannot find any of these, just use vegetable broth but you’ll need to go heavier on the other spices--you’ll need to add salt too. I recommend adding a bit of soy sauce for flavor if you use the vegetable broth.
To get that slightly tangy and smoky flavor, I recommend something a little strange: kalamata olives and their brine. This does NOT make the seitan taste like olives, but rather just gives it an extra kick of flavor.
The fat in the olives also helps the texture and mouthfeel of the seitan. Don’t worry, the food processor will blend up the olives so your seitan won’t be chunky.
Agave (or maple syrup) adds a much needed sweetness to the seitan. Don’t get me wrong; the seitan does not taste sweet. It just balances out the other flavors to compose a beautifully flavored mock meat.
So as far as spices, I used a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, sea salt, black pepper, and ground mustard. Like I said, flavor.
I actually order all my spices from The Spice House. You can get your spices cheaper if you order a flat pack (cheaper to ship as well) and refill your existing spice jars. Here’s a link for a discount with The Spice House
For a little spice, I also added a bit of sriracha, but this is completely optional.
I do, however, recommend the tomato paste both for color and flavor.
This last bit, is optional, and mostly for aesthetic purposes: Crumbled tofu.
A little bit of crumbled tofu sprinkled in the seitan after blending creates a look of real sausage--that speckled fat look. Ironically, the only fat in this sausage comes from the olives (and a little bit from the beans).
But like I said, this is fully optional. It does, however, add a little bit more protein. So you decide.
Tips for Making Perfect Vegan Sausage
Making the Dough
- Add beans, olives and brine, agave, spices, tomato paste, sriracha if using, and broth (basically everything except the vital wheat gluten and tofu (if using) to your food processor and blend until mostly smooth. Some black specs of the bean skin may remain and that’s OK.
- Now add the vital wheat gluten and pulse until mostly combined. If using the tofu crumbles, add them in now and pulse a few times. Your dough may still be a little powdery. We’ll fix that.
- Add the dough to a medium bowl. Press it into one lump. If it looks a little powdery still, wet your hands and smooth the areas. Don’t knead the dough.
Rolling the Seitan Sausage
- Set up a station with some prepared sheets of aluminum foil (I recommend 18” wide heavy duty aluminum foil). Each sheet should be about the size of a half sheet pan, about 13” by 18”. A little less or more is fine, but I like to be able to roll the sausage a few times to keep it from coming apart later. This recipe makes about 8-10 sausages, so prep at least 8 sheets.
- Optional Step: If you care about making all your sausages the same size, weigh the lump of seitan on a food scale and divide it into equal portions for however many sausages you want to have. So, if you have 1600 grams of seitan and you want to make 8 sausages (these will be large and thick, like brats), each portion should weigh 200 grams. This is a step I did not do the first few times I tested the recipe. My vegan sausages were still delicious, just kinda all different lengths and thickness. If you’d like them all to be the same size, I recommend doing this extra step (it really doesn’t take much time at all).
- Start by laying out your first sheet of foil and taking your first portion of seitan. Using your hands, form it roughly into a sausage shape. Place it in the bottom center of your foil sheet and press it and form it till it produces a sausage shape. Use a measuring tape or ruler to make sure your sausage is the length you’d like--I found just over 7” is the perfect length for a standard brat bun, but it’s up to you. If you did the above step in portioning out your seitan, you’ll find that each sausage should end up the same thickness if you’re measuring the length of each link as well.
- Roll it up: starting at the bottom, roll the sausage and foil up, smoothing the sides as you go. Roll fairly tightly, but don’t be overly concerned about it. Now take the edges and twist them, kind of like a piece of hard candy. Fold the ends in so they stay and repeat this step with the remaining seitan.
Steam the Sausage
- In a large steamer pot or pot fitted with a steamer basket, add about 2” of water to the bottom of the pot. Bring it to a boil without the basket part in. Place your sausages in the basket in whichever way they’ll fit. Try not to jam or mush any of them. If you have a smaller steamer basket, you may need to do two rounds of cooking. You can leave out the wrapped sausages for an hour if you do this, or throw them in the fridge for up to 24 hours. But this is one reason I recommend a large steamer pot (also great for veggies, potatoes, etc.)
- When the water comes to a boil, place the steamer basket with sausages in the pot and place on a lid. Steam (at full heat) for 45 minutes.
- After the sausages have steamed, remove the pot from heat, take off the lid, and let the sausages cool for 10 minutes in the foil. They’ll settle, so this step is important. After the 10 minutes is up, remove the foil carefully.
- Sausages may be eaten or grilled up right away (you can also brown them in a skillet). You don’t need to brown them or grill them up, they’re fully edible as soon as they’re removed from the foil.
- You can also chop them and throw them into soup or pasta. If boiling them in a soup, I recommend letting them cool completely before doing this, as it makes them a little more firm so there’s no chance they’ll fall apart. I really don’t think they would anyway, but I do notice that they firm up a bit in the fridge. They’ll still be tender and delicious.
- Refrigerate leftover seitan sausage in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Seitan freezes very well, so feel free to wrap tightly in plastic wrap/freezer paper, place in a freezer safe container (I hate freezer burn, so I’m cautious), and freeze up to 3 months.
More Seitan Recipes
I’m really enjoying making seitan. It’s fun to see what I can come up with, and that high protein, delicious meals don’t need to contain animal products.
Here’s a few awesome seitan recipes I’m loving right now:
- Vegan Philly Cheesesteaks (these happen to be the most popular recipe on my blog!)
- Vegan Drumsticks
- Vegan Corned Beef
- Seitan Chicken Nuggets
- Vegan Schnitzel
- Seitan Turkey
- Vegan Pastrami
- Vegan Gyros
- Instant Pot Seitan (the basic beefy recipe for any application)
As always, I hope you love this recipe–I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too. I definitely got the coveted reaction from him when he first tried it: eyes closed and “Mmmmpppphhhh” while chewing. I just love that.
This vegan sausage is:
- Moist (sorry)
- Meaty (but without the cruelty!)
And perfect for a satisfying lunch, family dinner, or even just high protein vegan meal prep!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!