Italian Fauxsages - Fake Meat Demystified

There are many reasons why I have been a vegetarian for the past 15 years. One reason is that I don't like the taste of meat. Yet, one fake meat product that I do like a lot (and so have all the meat eaters I've served it to) is Field Roast Grain Meat. I particularly like their Italian Sausages and Mexican Chipotle Sausages. Unfortunately, like many fake meat products, they are expensive...

Most processed fake meat is made from one of three different bases:

Soy-based and fungi-based fake meat is difficult to replicate at home. Vital wheat gluten-based is extremely simple to make at home.

Vital wheat gluten is the stuff in all-purpose flour that makes it possible to have elastic bread dough. Gluten makes things stick together. If you take some all-purpose flour in your hand and run water over it for about 10 minutes, you will rinse away everything but the vital wheat gluten.

Vital wheat gluten fake meat (also called seitan) is high in protein and low in fat. My body has been craving a lot of protein-dense foods lately so I decided to make some seitan. Seitan does take time but not a lot of effort to make. It freezes well and will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. I love this sausage recipe because the texture is perfect and the flavor is versatile. I found this recipe in a vegan cookbook, but I didn't write down the source.

These fauxsages have only 138 calories, 3.4 grams of fat, and a whopping 17.8 grams of protein per serving! The nutritional yeast makes these a good source of vitamins B-12 and B-6, among many other vitamins and minerals. So, these are a great healthy option to meat-based sausage, which typically have over 300 calories, 28 grams of fat, and 18 grams of protein per serving. Meat-based sausages also lack most of the vitamins and minerals that the fauxsages have.

The Italian Fauxsages are great chopped, fried, and added to tomato sauce for pasta. They also great in lasagna. They make a fantastic addition to scrambled eggs too. I haven't yet tried to grill them and eat them in a bun like a brat but that will be in my future this summer!

If making fake meat at home seems strange and intimidating, this recipe is the perfect one to start with. The ingredients are basic, inexpensive, and the technique is simple. Plus, this is hands-down the best tasting homemade seitan recipe I've ever tried (and I've lost count on how many I've tried!).

Italian Fauxsages
6 servings, 65 minutes (25 minutes prep, 40 minutes steaming)

Dry Ingredients
1/3 cup oatmeal
1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground flax
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients
1 cup cold vegetable broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the wet ingredients well.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until evenly moistened.
  4. Prepare the steamer: Add salted water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Place steamer basket into the pot (or use a metal bowl that hovers over the boiling water).
  5. Tear off 6 pieces of tin foil. Each piece should be about 7 inches wide.
  6. Divide seitan into 6 pieces. Shape one piece into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Place shaped log onto the narrow end of a tin foil sheet. Roll the sausage into the tin foil and twist the ends. Repeat with the remaining 5 pieces.
  7. Place all sausages into the steamer. Cover and steam for 40 minutes. Check on the steamer a couple of times during that time to make sure that there is enough water in the bottom of the pot. Turn the sausages over after about 20 minutes. Let cool. The sausages can be stored in the refrigerator in the tin foil for up to a week or the freezer for up to a month. When you are ready to use them, no additional cooking is needed; however, they taste even better when fried a little bit or cooked into the sauce.

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