December 3, 2012 by Meg G.
When the From Scratch Club book club got to the frozen aisle of Alaina Chernilla’s Homemade Pantry, the question of the day was: what are your go-to freezer items that you rely on for busy weeknight dinners? The challenge, of course, was to try making some of those items from scratch and then freezing them for later use.
As vegetarians, Heather and I are pretty reliant upon frozen, processed meat substitutes. What’s always in our freezer? Some kind of fake bacon, sausage, or chicken product that we can lean on when in need of some easy protein.
So, I asked my fellow book clubbers if they had any recommendations for from-scracth “meat” that can easily be frozen – perhaps some sausage, since we had already tackled bacon. Fellow book clubber Corrina instantly came to the rescue with two vegan sausage recipes: this one from Isa over at Post Punk Kitchen and this one from Julie Hasson.
If you’re not familiar, seitan (pronounced say-tan; NOT satan) basically consists of wheat gluten and is therefore a great soy-free protein for vegetarians/vegans (but is obviously not suitable for folks who have issues with gluten). It can be prepared a number of ways and takes on a meat-like texture. I have been wanting to try my hand at a batch of homemade seitan for some time and was pumped to give it a try in sausage form. We used the above recipes as our starting point. Here goes!
Seitan Italian Sausage – Makes 4 Links
- 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/8 cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- dash of all spice
- Several dashes fresh black pepper
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 Tbs soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1/4 small onion, diced
- Before mixing your ingredients, get you steaming apparatus ready, bringing the water to a full boil. As we don’t own an actual steamer, we used a large pot with a metal colander nested inside, with a lid.
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients.
- Whisk together the water, garlic, onion, olive oil and soy sauce and using a fork, gently stir into the dry ingredients. Stir just until ingredients are mixed. If dough mixture is too dry, you can add another tablespoon of water or as needed.
- Scoop 1/2 cup dough mixture at a time and shape into logs. Place logs on piece of aluminum foil and roll up, twisting ends. Place sausages in steamer and steam for 30 minutes.
In the time it takes to watch an episode of Wheel of Fortune, you’ve got lovely little vegan sausages just waiting to be sliced up and eaten!
We decided to make a pasta dish with these puppies, so we threw them in a skillet (to crisp them a bit) with some onion and olive oil. Meanwhile, we cooked some tri-color veggie pasta and thawed some peas from the freezer. We tossed the pasta with some fresh ricotta cheese and fresh basil and called it dinner.
And wowza was it delicious!
I think that these would work well frozen. I’d just steam them, wait until they cool, then slice them and put them in the freezer on cookie sheets (so they don’t stick together) until they are frozen. Then you could transfer them to a freezer a bag in whatever portion size you prefer.
Next time, I’d like to add some white beans to the sausages, like Isa’s recipe suggests. The flavor possibilities are endless – maple sausages, apple-sage sausages, chipotle sausages, etc. Yum!
Feel free to share some of your adventures in freezing pantry staples here or over at FSC’s book club! Enjoy!