Juicy, meaty, and packed with flavors, these vegan Italian sausages will please even meat eaters! They are easy to make and only call for simple ingredients. These seitan sausages are incredibly versatile and can be baked, grilled, or pan-fried!
These vegan Italian sausages are firm, chewy yet tender and taste like authentic ones. You can have them on their own or slice them up and add them to casseroles and stir-fries!
💚Why you will love this recipe
- Juicy, firm, and incredibly flavorful
- A good source of plant-based protein
- Super versatile - feel free to add to any dishes that call for sausage!
- Meal-prep friendly and freezable
🤔What are vegan sausages made of
These vegan Italian sausages are made primarily from vital wheat gluten. Wheat gluten, also known as gluten flour, is a wheat-derived flour mainly consisting of the wheat protein gluten, which has a chewy and elastic nature. It gives meat substitutes their meat-like texture.
Other than that, tofu is also used in this recipe to provide some moistness and tenderness, as seitan made from only wheat gluten can be extremely tough and chewy.
Various herbs, spices, and seasonings are added to these seitan sausages to flavor them.
🌿What you will need
- Vital wheat gluten - A wheat-derived flour that is super high in protein. DO NOT substitute it with other flours, it simply will not work!
- Tofu - Use extra-firm or firm tofu that has been drained and pressed beforehand to remove excess water. You can press your tofu with a tofu press or by stacking something heavy on top. Check out this post on how to press tofu for more details.
- Fennel seeds - Not shown in the above picture, but I highly recommend adding them as they give the sausages an authentic Italian flavor.
- Cayenne pepper - Can be substituted with ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Omit to make this recipe spice-free.
🔪How to make
Sauteing aromatics - Heat some oil in a non-stick pan. Add onion to the pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and fry for another minute.
Making seitan dough - In a food processor, place all ingredients (including cooked onion and garlic) except vital wheat gluten and blend until smooth. Then, carefully pour in gluten flour. Pulse until a dough forms.
Kneading the dough - Transfer the dough to a flat surface, and knead for 60-90 seconds.
Shaping the sausages - Divide the dough into 6 balls and roll them out individually to form a 5-6 inches long log. Wrap them in foil, twisting the ends to seal. You can now either steam them or cook them in the Instant Pot.
Steaming - Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a pot with a steamer basket fitted. Once the water starts to boil, place in seitan and steam for 30 minutes.
Instant pot - Place 1 cup of water into the inner pot and fit in a trivet. Place wrapped sausages in and cook at high pressure for 16 minutes. Quick-release pressure after the timer goes off.
Cooling and serving - Allow seitan sausages to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. I highly recommend grilling or browning them in a pan to enhance the flavor and texture of your sausages.
- Do not over-knead - Be careful not to overdo the kneading as this will yield a chewy and tough seitan.
- Allow sausages to cool - This allows enough time for vegan Italian sausages to firm up, improving their texture.
- Aluminum foil - If you are uncomfortable with the foil touching your food, wrap sausages with a layer of parchment paper before wrapping over aluminum foil.
- Making sausage links - You can also make 10-12 smaller sausage links instead of 6 large ones.
🍝How to serve
- Hotdog-style - Grill or pan-fry your sausages, then stuff them into hotdog buns, topped with ketchup and mustard.
- In salads/salad bowls - Slice up your seitan sausages, and add them to salads like protein pasta salad or lettuce avocado salad.
- On pizzas/toast - Slice them thinly, and they can be used as a topping for pizzas, along with pizza sauce/marinara sauce and vegan cheese!
- In stir-fries - Make the classic pepper, onion, and sausage stir-fry using chunks of vegan Italian sausages.
- Make a full English breakfast - Grill them up and serve alongside tofu scramble, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, etc.
Fridge - These sausages can be refrigerated for up to 5 days in a sealed container or Ziploc bag.
Freezer - Vegan Italian sausages can be frozen for up to 3 months. I recommend portioning them out using freezer bags before freezing, so you will only take out what you need. Let them thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Reheating - You can reheat sausages in the microwave, on the grill, or in the pan with oil.
❔Commonly asked questions
Most vegan sausages recipe are not gluten-free, as they are commonly made from seitan. The main ingredient in seitan is vital wheat gluten, a flour that consists mainly of gluten.
It will be close to impossible to substitute wheat gluten with other kinds of flour due to their unique characteristics. If you want a gluten-free alternative, I recommend checking out this gluten-free vegan sausages recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite.
These vegan Italian sausages do not need casing as they hold their shape well after cooking.
🍽More high protein vegan recipes
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Vegan Italian Seitan Sausages
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ block extra-firm tofu drained and pressed (about 7oz/200g)
- ½ cup water or low sodium veggie broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons Italian herbs
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional but highly recommended)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 ½ cup vital wheat gluten
- Prepare 6 sheets of 7-8 inches aluminum foils. (I am using 12 inches wide foil.)
- Heat ½ tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan. Add onion to the pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent.
- Add garlic and fry for another minute until fragrant.
- In a food processor, place in all ingredients (including cooked onion and garlic) except vital wheat gluten and blend until smooth.
- Then, carefully pour in wheat gluten. Pulse until a dough forms.
- Transfer the dough to a flat surface, and knead for 60-90 seconds.
- Divide the dough into 6 balls, and roll them out individually to form a log about 5-6 inches long. Wrap them in foil, twisting the ends to seal.
- Steaming - Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a pot with a steamer basket fitted. Once the water starts to boil, place in seitan, and steam for 30 minutes.Instant pot - Place 1 cup of water into the inner pot and fit in a trivet. Place wrapped sausages in and cook at high pressure for 16 minutes. Quick-release pressure after the timer goes off.
- Allow seitan sausages to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Optionally, grill or pan-fry them before enjoying.
- Be careful not to overdo the kneading as this will yield chewy and tough seitan.
- Allow sausages to cool down completely, for at least 30 minutes before serving. They will firm up and have a meatier texture!
- If you are uncomfortable with the foil touching your food, wrap sausages with a layer of parchment paper before wrapping over aluminum foil.
Nutrition info calculated is just a rough estimate and is provided as a courtesy. Bear in mind that value will vary based on variables like specific brand or type of product used. To obtain the most accurate representation, it is highly recommended that you calculate it on your own with the actual amount and type of ingredient used.