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Vegan sausage in a bun

Vegan Sausage

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 Links 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Tender, flavorful, and protein-packed, these vegan sausages are easy to make and perfect for all your sausage needs.


  • 1 15-oz can (or 1 ½ cups) kidney beans (or any)
  • 1 12-oz jar kalamata olives AND brine (see note 1)
  • 1 cup vegan beef broth (see note 2)
  • ¼ cup agave or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp garlic powder (not a typo, really, tablespoon!)
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground mustard seed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp sriracha, optional (to taste, do more if you like spicy)
  • 2 ¾ cups + 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
  • ⅓ cup - ½ cup firm tofu crumbles (optional, don’t use if you can’t have soy)


  1. Make 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.
  2. Prepare: 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Form the seitan sausage: 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Prep the pot: 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.)
  7. Steam the Sausage: 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.
  8. Let cool: After the vegan sausages have steamed, remove the pot from heat, take off the lid, and let the sausage 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. 
  9. Serve: 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.
  10. Store: 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.


  • Note 1: I HIGHLY recommend you not skip the olives. 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. If you really are afraid to use the olives, you could try soaked cashews instead (about 1 cup). You may need to add a bit more broth to get a moist dough.
  • Note 2: 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.
  • Note 3: 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.
  • Note 4: Good quality spices make a huge difference. 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.


  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove top, Steamer Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan, Oil-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan Sausage