In keeping with the vegetarian theme from the previous post, I have a fun and slightly more complex recipe for you today. Only complex in the sense that it’s more time consuming than the Four Bean Salad, not complicated in a “Holy Chihuahua, who does he think we are? Emeril Lagasse?” kind of a thing. Funny I should mention Emeril as this meal is very Cajun inspired and we all know Emeril is the king of Louisiana Cajun cooking. BAM! But where he cooks with mostly pork fat and ham hocks (and where is this supposed hock located on a pig exactly?), I cook with much healthier non-piggy items like vegetable oils and robust spices– still provides all the flavor without all the hypertensive and artery clogging after-effects.
With the upcoming arrivial of mi papa’s family for Thanksgiving, I’ve been frantically trying to come up with meals to make while they’re here that will not only please their palates but also coincide with my passion for healthy lower-fat cooking. They live down in New Orleans, deep in the heart of fried chicken and waffles and the infamous Mardi Gras King Cake. Where vegetables are buried beneath a thick layer of oily breading, and Sweet Tea is easier to find in stores than fresh water. Ahh, yes, the South. Now don’t get me wrong. His family doesn’t exactly eat like that on a regular basis. It’s just that my type of healthier and sometimes vegetarian cooking has often been referred to as “diet food” by the elder male member of his family… not to name any names, of course. I want to be able to cook for them without their feeling as though the meals lack in depth and flavor. Now I’ve been toying around the idea of trying my paw at making my own vegetarian sausage for awhile now, but always been a little nervous to take on this endeavor. For one thing, just the idea of a vegetarian sausage can make some people kinda skeptical or want to gag. For others, even the idea of real sausage makes them want to yack too. But once I decided that I would like to make mi Southern familia a big ‘ol pot of red beans and rice during their upcoming visit, my plan for concocting my own vegetarian sausage went into full swing. Now don’t let the ingredients or pictures scare you. It’s really quite simple and incredibly tasty, despite looking a little odd. And once added to the Red Beans and Rice, it ends up absorbing all the flavors from the sauce and spices and becomes just a nice accompaniment to the dish. Oh and did I mention, one serving of the sausage contains nearly 20 grams of protein. Yowza!
Homemade Vegan Sausage
2 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup water or vegetable broth
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari sauce
2 tbsp Liquid Bragg’s Aminos
1) Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3) Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl.
4) Add wet ingredients to dry and combine into a thick dough using your hands.
5) Roll out dough blob into a two long loaves and roll up in a greased sheets of foil like a Tootsie Roll.
6) Bake for 90 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing and adding to Red Beans and Rice recipe.
*If you have any questions about the ingredients in this recipe, please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me. I would be happy to answer any concerns you may have
Louisiana-Style Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice
2 tsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium size green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped homemade vegan sausage
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried sage
1 tbsp dried parsley
1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning, I used Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
4 1/2 cups water
2 cups long-grain brown rice
1) Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Saute until onion is softened, about 5-7 minutes.
2) Add vegan sausage, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth and seasonings. Adjust heat to low, cover and simmer 40-45 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, bring the rice and water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 35-40 minutes or almost all the liquid is absorbed. Serve beans over rice and enjoy!
Mi mama and papa both really loved this dish. I’m crossing my paws and toes that the rest of mi familia will love it too. And if not, well I guess I could always throw in a couple ham hocks and brush up on my CPR in preparation for the ensuing heart attacks. Woohoo, I can’t wait for the holidays.
Well, mi amigos, I better be going now. Mi mama just got home and needs me to help her take off her shoes. I think she forgets that I don’t have any thumbs. I hope she doesn’t mind if I chew them off.