February 26, 2008

On Sausages And Community

by IsaChandra

Julie Hasson’s steamed seitan sausages have been calling my name for weeks now and who am I to deny a sausage? I actually purchased a new (and needed) steamer just for the occasion. And wow, just wow. What a great method steaming turned out to be!

This is one of the reasons that I sometimes get frustrated with “vegan secrets.” I’ve written about it a little before and I know it comes across as bisque-y, but the reason behind it is nothing but nice. When you have a great new method for, oh, I don’t know, meringue or frosting or mayo- why not share it? I mean, for free – the way Julie has in her video. People will still support you and buy your cookbook, in fact, they might be more apt to buy your cookbook because of recipes they’ve tried from a blog or where ever. My book sales aren’t hurting because the chickpea cutlet recipe is all over the internet.

But besides just increasing book sales, the experience of collaboration can be rewarding as you watch the recipe morph with every kitchen it passes through. It’s like a game of telephone, except at the end you’ll hopefully have an awesome sausage and not a sentence like “You have titty owls on your head.” But what I’m saying is that in collaboration there is community, in community there is strength. In strength there is…I don’t know. But you get the idea, don’t you? Sharing can only help vegan cuisine.

Speaking of morphing, I did deviate from the original recipe to reflect the way I usually cook. Since my steamer could only fit 4 sausages, I had to change the quantities. I also wanted to try to get a little more texture out of them, so I added some mashed pinto beans for a little Mexican flair. The result is a really nice, slightly spicy sausage that would go well with chorizo type dishes. Really, as Julie says in her cooking video, the variations you could come up with are endless. People on the PPK forums have had good luck with their own variations, including an Apple Sage one that I’d like to hit up someday soon.

Spicy Pinto Sausages

Makes 4 big sausages

1/2 cup pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup vegetable broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, grated (with a microplane, or very finely minced)

1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Several dashes fresh black pepper

Before mixing your ingredients, get your steaming apparatus ready, bring water to a full boil. The rest of the recipe comes together very quickly.

Have ready 4 sheets of tin foil. In a large bowl, mash the pinto beans until no whole ones are left. Throw all the other ingredients together in the order listed and mix with a fork. Divide dough into 4 even parts (an easy way to do this: split the dough in half and then into quarters). Place one part of dough into tin foil and mold into about a 5 inch log. Wrap dough in tin foil, like a tootsie roll. Don’t worry too much about shaping it, it will snap into shape while it’s steaming because this recipe is awesome.

Place wrapped sausages in steamer and steam for 40 minutes. That’s it! You can unwrap and enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. I refrigerated some of mine in wrappers and some out of wrappers to see if there would be a difference, but there really wasn’t. They’re really great sliced up and lightly sauteed, and this weekend I’ll be trying them on pizzas.

Check out Julie’s video and see just how easy these are. Thank you, Julie! I love you! <3<3<3 Also – you have titty owls on your head.

  • February 26, 2008 at 2:54 pm: Ijdi

    These look so great! I was wondering if they tasted just as good without refrigerating first. I’m so glad they do. I’m making some sausages tomorrow!

  • February 26, 2008 at 2:57 pm: ecogirl73

    There is a great article in this month’s Wired magazine all about how giving things away for free does increase sales – particularly when it comes to books:

  • February 26, 2008 at 4:30 pm: Melisser

    I love these sausages! I’m going to have to give your version a try.

  • February 26, 2008 at 4:43 pm: Ducky

    these look great! my favorite part was when you see her puppy in the background :)

  • February 26, 2008 at 4:50 pm: Alexis

    Oh gosh, I totally agree about community and openness. I actually stopped reading Dreena Burton’s blog because she very rarely posts recipes but always posts pictures of the food and which book it came from. I have one of her cookbooks, but I just got frustrated seeing all the pictures from the others but not being prepared to buy them at this point (I have too many cookbooks as is). Dreena’s nice and I like her cookbook that I have, but the others went to low priority because of her position on sharing. I got similarly frustrated with Vegan Yum Yum during her cookbook prep. I was going to buy it anyway because I know from her earlier recipes that Lolo is awesome. Not getting to try the recipes but seeing the pretty pictures was very annoying.

    I know it seems counter-intuitive to the old guard but sharing is the way to go on these things. I love being able to try out a few things on the PPK or (e.g.) the Chickpea Noodle Soup from Veganomicon and have some idea what I’m getting. It’s just friendly and fun. And you can get a lot of feedback, ideas, evolution, etc.

  • February 26, 2008 at 5:42 pm: John

    Yes, I bought Julie’s DVD, etc, specifically because of the wonderful free stuff that she posts all the time. And, Isa, your version of the sausages looks great – I will definitely give it a whirl, and will be interested to see what the pintos do the end result. Thanks!!

  • February 26, 2008 at 5:59 pm: Innochka

    I love Lachesis’ Seitan O’Greatness and Julie’s steamed seitan sausages seem just as awesome. I can’t wait to try my hand at these too. The spices for Julie’s are along the lines of what I’ve been doing to S.o.G. except I’ve been adding 1 tsp caraway seeds, it’s surprising that I didn’t think of fennel. I have on hand the excess of navy beans hmmmm – I want to play.

    I too agree that we as a community and veganism on the whole are strengthened by sharing. We don’t need secrets. In our knowledge is power and it’s selfish to keep that to oneself.

  • February 26, 2008 at 6:15 pm: Anonymous

    all this bean and vital wheat gluten mixing has opened up a new world for me. julie’s recipe is awesome- great plain, on a bun, on pizza, sliced and pan fried with breakfast, on and on…
    i cannot wait to try this pinto variation and i should start making chickpea cutlet variations as well. good eatin’.

  • February 26, 2008 at 6:16 pm: foiled_again

    ooops, i’m anonymous.

  • February 26, 2008 at 7:16 pm: Katie

    Is this about me not giving you my recipe for vegan foie gras?

  • February 26, 2008 at 7:45 pm: darjeeling

    Nothing is more thrilling to me than when I see an awesome recipe comprised entirely of ingredients that I have on hand. For sure making this tonight!

  • February 26, 2008 at 8:13 pm: Veronica


    erm. Well, yes. Yes, I agree that sharing is the way to go. Being vegan the worst thing I can hear is the assumption that I don’t eat anything tasty. Why hold back the veggie-arsenal of new knowledge? Over the past six months I have purchased six cookbooks (including VWAV, VCTOTW, and Vcon) all because I was able to see some recipes for myself, not just a couple pretty pictures.

    Tasty sausages. Gotta try me some of those.

  • February 26, 2008 at 8:25 pm: bazu

    I love love LOVE these sausages. I have really spotty luck with seitan, so these made me feel really accomplished and talented- thanks, Julie!
    I cut the recipe in half because my steamer basket is small, but the 4 sausages ran out in 2 days. I used 2 in gumbo and just ate the rest in pieces of them cold with mustard and horseradish.

    As for the sharing, it’s absolutely true. Because of the internet, new media, postmodernism, call it whatever you want, you actually get more attention by sharing than by withholding. We’re all voyeurs like that. Share, share, share.

  • February 26, 2008 at 8:56 pm: Cherie

    Well, if I had the desire to make merginue, I’d share it! :p But I will leave it to those who desire the stuff.

  • February 26, 2008 at 9:09 pm: r.

    these are awesome. i mean really really awesome. the husband? adamant meat eater…but will break for these sausages…as well as vegan dad’s burgers. he doesn’t have a cookbook, as far as i know, but he should. he also deserves his own post, i swear, on the merit of this recipe alone: http://vegandad.blogspot.com/2008/02/perfect-tempeh-burgers.html

  • February 26, 2008 at 9:18 pm: dww

    yay for sharing! i tittyowl agree. i mean, totally agree.

    there’s no time for secrets! it’s a REVOLUTION, peoples!!

  • February 27, 2008 at 12:26 am: vwam

    Oh jeez! You linked to my recipe! I’m famous!

  • February 27, 2008 at 11:07 am: John

    Agreed on R’s mention of VeganDad’s Perfect Tempeh Burgers – they are the best ever! People are creating so many good recipes!

  • February 27, 2008 at 1:05 pm: SuperDave

    I have to agree with the whole community thing.. one day I was searching for something, Found it on “Get Sconed” hit a link for the PPK and bam in less then 2 weeks had both your cookbooks… (Vcon not out at the time).. I think it is cool to see how a recipe morphs as people fork with it to meet their needs..

  • February 27, 2008 at 2:44 pm: Joan(gwgredux)

    I am very excited to try these! Oh and another one in favor of community. If I ever come up with a Vegan Secret it’s all yours PPK and other internet vegans!

  • February 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm: Lauren

    Titty owl made my day. Thanks. I needed that.

  • February 28, 2008 at 8:23 pm: Melanie

    Holy Jeebus those look good.

  • February 28, 2008 at 9:44 pm: Paula

    I just made a pumpkin sage version of these! Yum!

  • February 28, 2008 at 10:57 pm: the vegan vulcan

    I just messed around with another variant of the apple sage and holy crap these are amazing! Everyone needs to make them. They are so freaking easy and delish!

  • February 29, 2008 at 11:19 am: Vegan Dad

    I should point out that the tempeh burgers are really just a variation (dare I say rip off?) of the chickpea cutlets. So, props to Isa.

    So, Isa, does all this mean we can post a few recipes from your cookbooks on our blogs? I have been refraining thus far and encouraging people to buy Vcon. Or should we just point our readers to the free recipes on the PPK site? Or have I just opened a big can of vegan worms and should now shut up?

  • February 29, 2008 at 1:10 pm: cupcakerevolution

    I’m in the same boat with Vegan Dad. I don’t want to post recipes from cookbooks unless I’ve changed them up a bit, which I usually do anyways, but I just feel like a giant tease when I post photos of things without any sort of recipe to go along with it. I’m all for community, and sharing recipes, and I would be thrilled if people reposted any of my own recipes, but I don’t want to be known as the chick who “steals” from cookbooks. I totally agree that online/free recipes help increase sales in some sense. We tried a few recipes on this site and totally loved them, which led us to purchase Veganomicon.

  • February 29, 2008 at 3:37 pm: IsaChandra

    I think proper etiquette is to ask the author and use common sense. Don’t put up half the book, but a few recipes is no biggie.

  • February 29, 2008 at 5:58 pm: SeitanSaidDance

    Those look amazing. Definitely have to try them soon.

    And I agree with you about sharing within the community. Even just allowing people to try a few recipes by making your books searchable on Amazon and Google is a great help. If I have to choose between two books, I will always pick the one I’ve been able to sample from.

  • February 29, 2008 at 8:49 pm: Anna

    Those who try to keep the vegan secrets make me not want to buy their cookbooks. A cookbook is about owning something inimate, getting pancake batter all over the pages and sometimes catching it on fire. I buy it to have it on the counter, not because I couldn’t figure out how to make a vegan flan by myself. That meringue game, along with the goth outfits, has really turned me off.

  • March 1, 2008 at 12:27 am: pandacookie

    My meringue recipe shall be unleashed in good time! I am working on the whipping of tofu to replace egg white. My arm is tired.

  • March 1, 2008 at 1:12 am: Julie Hasson

    Can I just say that without Isa sharing her incredible website & forums, there wouldn’t be the incredible vegan community that there is. So Isa, thank you for being so generous!

    I’m honored to have titty owls on my head.

  • March 1, 2008 at 8:25 am: Shellyfish

    Amen Sister! “Sharing” in this anti-vegan world seems not only the right thing to do, but the *only* thing to do! We need to help one another as much as we can, be it sharing our recipes, our experiences or our mistakes, to help make our community a stronger, more united one! From a marketing (shudder) standpoint, well, take for example the new Radiohead CD- available gratos on their site, and it’s still breaking sales records. If the author of a vegan cookbook is generous & shares recipes & info, we’ll get a feel for their stuff, & we’ll want more! Cookbook writers need to pay their bills, but it’s so much cooler when their blogs are just running ads for their books, but ancellary to their already rich contribution to the vegan world!

    Here’s to sharing what we can, when we can,

  • March 1, 2008 at 9:00 am: Shellyfish

    The altitude way up on my soap box hindered my editing skills: I meant to say are not just running ads…
    Oh, and the sausages look incredible!

  • March 1, 2008 at 3:13 pm: Cephi

    I just made Julie’s version into the parmigiano cutlets… frikkin amazing.

    I agree about community and openness too, but uh dood, the chickpea cutlet recipe isn’t listed on this site… I just thought it was a little funny after the implication in the post. The chickpea recipe is all over the web because others have posted it outside of your watch, not because you chose to share it, lol! It’s all love tho. And for all I know your publishers don’t want you to share it or something.

  • March 1, 2008 at 11:39 pm: IsaChandra

    Cephi, I gave people permission to publish it so I did choose to share it. Thanks for playing.

  • March 2, 2008 at 5:19 pm: corrie

    Cephi, I think the point is that Isa isn’t on “watch.”

  • March 3, 2008 at 5:59 pm: mel

    Ooh…pintos! Good call.

    And hurray for community recipes a thousand times over. The whole inspiration for my blog was to do away with the Grandma’s Secret Apple Pie and The Best Potato Salad at the Block Party type mentality, especially when that type of hoarding is often rooted in seriously anti-fem desire to be defined by your cooking so you husband doesn’t leave you for the hussy down the street who stole your pork chop recipe and added a touch of sage, and now you’re sitting home, alone, with your sub-par chops and a dozen cats. Hello, run on sentence.

    I’m glad this post finally came to fruition after that previous, short-lived, emotional rant.

  • March 7, 2008 at 8:57 pm: Billy

    Wow, those look great. I may have to branch out and try making my own, rather than throwing Tofurky soy sausages in the oven. Soy sausage and roasted vegetables are staples of mine. :)

  • March 17, 2008 at 10:20 pm: Jennifer

    They are as good as they sound and super easy. Steaming the sausages gave them a great chewy texture.

  • April 5, 2008 at 4:35 am: Maralyn Pickup

    What gluten free flour would be the best subsitute for these steamed sausages?

  • April 10, 2008 at 12:36 am: Susan G

    Maralyn, you could try checking the Soysage from The Farm Cookbook, using any safe flour for you, and merging it with this recipe. I think they’d work together. 25 years ago I was selling soysage in our store’s deli, making about 6 variations including Polish and Hot Italian. Once you have the base you think of it as plastic and take it from there. I was happy to see this variant — I needed to have the pintos to make it entice me.

  • April 20, 2008 at 8:35 pm: Regina

    I steamed these in my rice cooker and it worked great! I could fit six big sausages in it easily.

  • April 22, 2008 at 2:09 pm: Marlena

    So, the first part of this post made me feel not so shy about asking you a question. I recently bought Vegan with a Vengeance and LOVE IT, I got so into cooking after buying it, I decided to start featuring things I made (not just from VWAV, from wherever) on my LiveJournal. I’ve seen blogs where people post entire recipes from books and magazines, but it always seemed kind of wrong to me somehow, like something I could get in trouble for, or would anger the cookbook author. I’m wondering what your position is on this.

    Here’s a link to my LJ, if you’re interested! http://marclar.livejournal.com/

  • August 14, 2008 at 3:20 pm: kimmykokonut

    I just made your pinto sausages today and they are great! I made 6 smaller links and they are cute and tasty. How well did you mash your pintos? I used a potato masher so it’s not pureed, but mushy. Thanks for sharing your variation! I’m working on a kielbasa version, but I don’t like the first trial, It was sort of bland, but my memory of Polish kielbasa is the blandness and the kick is from the kraut.

  • October 3, 2009 at 6:09 am: Nuky1982

    Hi, I would love to try this recipe today but I don’t have any pinto beans. Do you think it would work the same with some mashed boiled potato instead of the pinto beans? Maybe if I reduce the amount of water too. What do you think? I live in a small town and since my supply of vital wheat gluten is running low, I don’t want to experiment at the moment. Any thoughts on what I could use instead of the pinto beans would be great. Thank you! :)

  • May 18, 2010 at 10:11 am: Pauthebread

    I’ve made these – or something like them – with a variety of ingredients.

    My technique now is to blitz some leftover bean chilli (say) to lumpy mush, add extra flavourings such as vegan worcester sauce or mushroom sauce, then add sufficient wheat gluten to make a dough.

    Because I’m too tight to use tin foil, I then fill a small casserole dish with the seitan, using whatever won’t fit to make cutlets.

    I then bake the seitan for about 60 minutes at 180C.

    I slice the seitan for pizzas, etc, cut it into chunks for chilli non carne/curries, and mince it for spaghetti bolognaise.

    Cheers, Paul

  • November 16, 2010 at 3:38 pm: Keyla

    I just tried these at a vegan thanksgiving potluck and the were incredible! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  • December 22, 2010 at 8:06 pm: J. Applebee

    Thank you so much for this. In the United Kingdom there are only 3 places that sell Vital wheat gluten (that I am aware of, and blimey I’ve searched). But once I got some, I really wanted to try this. I’m at this moment sitting down to some spicy sausage love… I didn’t have pinto beans, so I used drained baked beans instead. The mixture was very soft, but it still worked! It is so delicious it’s just amazing. Kind regards from London!

  • February 16, 2011 at 1:04 am: DessertForTwo

    yum! I can’t wait to try these! I’ve been looking for a vegetarian/vegan pizza topping for a while. Thanks :)

  • February 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm: Sarah Haynes

    I made these from Julie’s recipe, looking forward to trying out the pinto bean variation.

    Now, I don’t know if the rest of the world is into ‘sausage rolls’ like in Australia, but here’s my variation:

    Make the sausage mix as per recipe, but instead of wrapping them in foil and steaming, wrap them in vegan puff pastry and bake them!

    I wanted ‘mini’ sausage rolls so I cut my (store bought) pastry sheet into thirds, then squished and pulled the sausage mix down the middle. Then pulled the edges over to make a sausage/ pastry tube.

    I baked them at about 200 C for about 15 min (that’s a bit hotter than moderate), then sliced them up while still hot, cutting off the ugly ends (and popping them in my mouth). Then I baked them covered in aluminium foil for another 10 or so minutes prior to serving the next day.

    We eat them with ketchup (which we call tomato sauce).

    I took them to work, waited till my boss had gone for his second, then ostentatiously popped one in my mouth – he sucked in his breath, pointed at me and announced “you’re eating meat”. I delighted in correcting him that he was enjoying vegan.

    Do take heed that the mix gets a bit harder to work with the longer it’s out, so try to get them done pretty quickly.

    Also the sausage mix does expand a bit, so make sure you seal/ crimp your pastry well.

  • February 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm: Sarah Haynes

    Oh note to J Applebee and others outside of US: “Vital wheat gluten” is sold as simply ‘gluten flour’ in Australia. Available in quite a few healthfood stores (I had more trouble finding nutritional yeast flakes – eventually found them, but found that any non-rising yeast works well for flavour enhancement (and you can get the texture from onion flakes and now we learned also pinto beans).

  • October 13, 2011 at 9:41 pm: Melissa

    Could you do this with corn husks? Like tamales?

  • November 15, 2011 at 3:03 am: kelley

    Did anyone else have them come out like bread opposed to sausage?

  • January 14, 2012 at 12:20 am: Sarah

    These are soooo good!! After we steamed them we threw them on the grill and crisped up the outsides, then we ate them on buns like hot dogs! NOM!

  • July 21, 2012 at 7:49 am: Heather

    I made these tonight (Isa’s variation), and they are fantastic. A bonus: they look really good. In fact, my partner (the sweetie!) said, “these look like something you bought at the store.” The wrapping/steaming really neatens them up.

    I’m glad I made a double batch. Half will be frozen. The other half will be enjoyed with sauteed cabbage.

  • July 24, 2012 at 1:43 am: Leigh

    I was wondering, can I substitute the wheat gluten for something else? I have a gluten allergy^^

  • October 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm: Robyn

    Wowzie! This is a life changing recipe! When I first went vegetarian, I loved my Boca Brats and gashed my teeth when they were discontinued. During my pregnancy I craved them so much and did not think to search for a recipe to make them myself.

    I tried other seitan recipes and failed big time with the simmer method. Gak.

    This? I devoured and made myself put two in the freezer for later (which I hope works), and the third one in the fridge.

    Tofurkey is fine, but all my stores carry just the beer brats which gets old after while.

    Love the recipe! Thank you!

    By the way, every cupcake I make out of your book gets rave reviews! Now I need to obtain your other books, it is just expensive to do all at once.

  • June 18, 2013 at 12:19 am: Silvio

    Is there any substitute for the vital wheat gluten? I can’t have it, but I’d really like to make these.

  • August 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm: HmKLGs2OeGvu55

    330133 354715Thank you, I

  • September 15, 2013 at 7:54 am: kitchen cabinets calgary

    Way cool! Soome extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and the rest
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  • July 1, 2014 at 3:07 am: tammie

    nope, you’re not losing a book sale from me! i first picked up your book out of curiosity at the library, but then i decided that I need to have the seitan sausage while waiting for amazon to deliver :)

  • November 22, 2014 at 2:27 am: Michelle

    This vegan sausage preparation is so good and so innovative! This basic method allowed me to make vegan Andouille sausage for my blog’s recipes for Cajun gumbo and Creole jambalaya.

    One tip is that if any readers are having trouble finding chickpea flour in stores, I’ve substituted soy flour and it works fine, likely because they’re both high protein flours. Thanks again for such a great idea–vegans and omnivores alike love my sausage!

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  • September 18, 2016 at 4:26 pm: Dave Jackson

    These sausages are always rubbery when they are cooked and need to be refrigerated over night to firm up,