Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Vegan Chorizo 'Sausages'

For those who follow either a vegetarian or vegan diet, seitan sausages may not be a revelation to you, but it may be for some of my other readers.

Seitan is wheat gluten. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten. Wheat gluten is most popular in China and Japan where it was first developed, as well as in the cuisines of other East and South east Asian countries. Over the past few years, seitan has become a much valued ingredient in the West, especially in vegan cookery. It is often used in place of meat in vegetarian, vegan and macrobiotic diets. So it should not be a surprise that has been dubbed as ‘vegetarian wheat meat’.

I’ve made many vegetarian sausages in the past usually with cheese, but never with seitan, namely because I have had great difficulty finding the essential ingredient in the U.K: vital wheat gluten, and when I did locate a place that sold some, it could only be purchased in bulk orders. Having never cooked with it, I just wanted to purchase a small quantity, but the company made that difficult as small packets were hit with heavy postal charges.
Well my search for vital wheat gluten came to a halt when a big hearted blogger friend posted me a small package to allow me to experiment. The packet has been in my cupboards for a few good months. With D away, I found myself in the kitchen yesterday evening tempted by a Chorizo sausage recipe from Terry Hope Romero latest book Viva Vegan.

I’ve never ever had chorizo – Spanish or Mexican, but as a 'spice head' I have always liked the idea of a spicy vegetarian sausage and have been waiting in patience for one to appear at the health shops, but nothing appeared. This recipe gave me the opportunity to make my own. A lot of ingredients go into making these sausages: vital wheat gluten, chickpea flour, vegetable stock, olive oil and loads of flavourings such as tomato paste, nutritional yeast, garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, chilli flakes, paprika and cayenne, but it is so worth it. I really enjoyed the mixing and kneading process. The spicy aroma was wonderful, lingering on the palms of my hand like good perfume. Then wrapping them up in foil like Christmas crackers for the final baking process.
I was so delighted when I took them out of the oven. The sausages looked fantastic. Even I was blown away by how real they looked. I tell you, had I not made them myself I would have been doubting the sausages suitability for vegetarians, not just vegans. It really is hard to believe that these were made without any meat! Not only was it an interesting and exciting culinary experiment (to work with vital wheat gluten), the result tasted absolutely amazing. The chorizo sausage was bursting with spicy flavours and lingered on the tongue afterwards.

On my first bite, I was reminded of my meat eating childhood days. It was very much like Shish or Sheesh kebab, a spicy sausage snack consisting of meat threaded on a skewer and grilled. But the fact is this was a vegan chorizo sausage and it tasted really, really delicious. Oh I have so many ideas of what to do with the chorizo – so watch this space.
The recipe comes from Viva Vegan, as this was my first time ever playing with seitan, I’ve not tampered with the recipe at all and would have been happy to post it here to share. But out of respect, courtesy and without the permission of the author I am not going to and recommend that you purchase the book. Also you may want to check out Terry Hope Romero here making seitan potato tacos from her book, or check out her site Vegan Latina.

Updated 09/02/2011
I am delighted to report that I have heard from Terry Hope Romero and she has been gracious to permit me to post the recipe here. Knock yourselves out!

Chorizo Seitan Sausages
Makes 6 - 7
325ml/1 ½ cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons sun dried tomato paste
3 tablespoons Annato infused oil (or olive oil) - see here for recipe
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 cloves garlic, grated
210g/1 2/3 cups vital wheat gluten
40g/1/4 cup chickpea flour
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
4 teaspoons hot or smoked paprika
4 teaspoons ground chilli powder (or 2 teaspoons ground chilli powder and 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes)
3 teaspoons Mexican oregano or dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons ground coriander
1 ½ cayenne
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Tear  off 6 to 7 pieces of foil about 8 inches wide each. Preheat the oven to 4.
Whisk together the vegetable stock, tomato paste, oil, vinegar and garlic. In a large bowl combine the gluten, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, paprika, chilli powder, cayenne, cumin, coriander, salt and oregano.
Make well in dry ingredients and pour in liquid ingredients, stir well with rubber spatula until dough leaves side of the bowl. Knead for 3 minutes and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Knead again for a couple of minutes.
Divide dough into 6 or 7 equal pieces. Place piece of chorizo on foil and shape into sausages about 6 inches long. Bring wide ends of foil together and wrap firmly around the dough. Leave a little room under the foil for the chorizo to expand during baking. Twist ends of foil to secure filling. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
Place each directly on the middle rack and bake for 40 – 45 minutes Allow to cool for an hour before using, or for best results chill overnight. Store it in fridge tightly sealed for up to 2 weeks or freeze.
To use, slice or chop and fry before adding to your recipe.

Updated 06/2011: This recipe has also been made by Bekkitae of Greenisms.  Please do check out her version of this vegan chorizo, she has written some fantastic information about the ingredients.
Updated 16/02/2012: Made by Vegan in Montreal too.


  1. Glad you finally got your hands on some wheat gluten...the results are stellar!Perfectly shaped, the color is gorgeous and the texture looks perfect. It took me ages to get seitan sausages not to come out all wobbley.

    I've recently acquired Viva Vegan...so may things I want to try in there.

  2. I am not a vegetarian, but I know many who are. And, I tried to be once, but including meat in my diet just works better for me. This does, however, sound so healthy and delicious, vegan/vegetarian or not!

  3. Sounds really really good!

  4. Those are so awesome!!!!! I have to make them! They really do look so perfect!

  5. That sounds pretty good. Does the chorizo remain firm when used as an ingredient in a mde-up dish, or does it go soft and disintegrate?

    1. When I used it in a gumbo it disintegrated - however slice it up, fry a few slices and pop on top of a dish - heaven :D

      (Link to ye olde post: http://bekkitae.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/daring-cook-challenge-pt1-vegan-chorizo.html)

    2. Thanks Bekkitae,
      I guess cooked in a gumbo style dish it would fall apart, but I would have done as you have done, fry it and put it on top. Yum

  6. I've never had seitan either and dont find it locally. These sausages look fantastic.

  7. They look delicious. Never heard of wheat gluten must look out for it.


  8. This is a really interesting post, those vegan sausages look fantastic. I am looking forward to the recipes..

  9. This looks lovely! A few days ago I made seitan sausages... just regular 'sausage'flavor. They were great but they didn't have the lovely spice profile that yours do... great job! We love our seitan around here and there is something lovely about being able to make your own!

  10. Oh, these look fabulous! How kind of Terry Hope Romero to allow you to post the recipe (I'm such a fan of the Veganomicon! Delicious veggie recipes and horror film references make me a very happy fox!), I'll be making some of those!

    I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed using the wheat gluten (ket me know if you need any more!)

  11. What a great recipe. I'm going to have to try this out I believe.

  12. These look amazing! I am so going to give it a try!

  13. Thanks Rose.
    Me too :)
    I have to admit, I am really chuffed with the result, so your compliment is much appreciated.

    Enjoy cooking from Viva Vegan - I know you'll enjoy it.

    Thanks for your comment Emily Z.
    I really enjoyed reading about it and understand completely, that everyone is different in how they approach food and what works for them. I do think these sausages would be enjoyed by all - vegan/vegetarian or not - I am going to get my nephew to try, he is due to come up!

    Thank you Theanne.

    Thank you Morgan.
    You sure do have to make them!

    So glad you approve Mark.
    I am pleased to report that the seitan chorizo remains firm when used as an ingredient in a cooked dish. I sliced it and chopped it and it did not go soft or disintegrate. I'm pleased with it for sure :)

  14. Raw_Girl.
    I do hope your able to locate some one-day :) It will be worht the wait.

    Many thanks Jane.

    Thansk Alessandra.

    Thank you so much Kath.

    Thanks Tamy.

  15. Thanks Ellen.
    I have another recipe with fennel seeds for seitan sausages, so am lookign forward to making a less punchier flavour.
    I do agree there is something lovely about being able to make your own sausages, plain or flavour packed!

    Thank you so so much littleblackfox.
    You know this recipe would not have been possible without you :) And I know where to come if I wish to have more. Many thanks my dear friend.

    Thank you affectioknit.

    Thanks briarrose.

    Thank you so much Bianca.
    You must! They are so packed with flavour!

  16. You are a "spice head" after my own heart, Mango. You never cease to amaze me with your creative cooking. These "sausages" really sound delicious! I don't so seitan enough, but I am inspired to try your recipe.

  17. Thank you Barbara :D
    This is the first time I've made seitan from scratch and have to admit I was ever so impressed with it. I have to give credit to Viva Vegan for the excellent recipe, which is a most excellent recipe.

  18. Oh they're exciting! I've never had chorizo, or found cheap seitan - I'll have to keep my eye out!

  19. Thank you Sooz.
    If you lived near by I would have been happy to have given you one to try.

  20. I've seen lots of these recipes and even tried one but I haven't seen any which bake rather than steam the sausages - must try - they really are amazingly good

  21. Johanna.
    Me too. I've seen them for about 10 years now, even on you tube and never tried them because of difficulty locating vital wheat gluten here.
    I really recommend these. I'll def. be making them again and adventuring with different flavours.

  22. very impressive!
    i'm feeling inspired to try this ... we love the store-bought vegan soyrizo, and never considered making my own. it seems so daring!

  23. Thank you so much Tera.
    I really recommend making your own. I was at the health store today and noted some in the veggie section, these are just a fraction of the price.

    Also Thank you so much for choosing to become a follower. It really is most appreciated.

  24. These sausages are awesome! I've made them before and this post reminded me that I need to make them again! Love your blog <3

  25. Thank you so much Amy :)
    I so agre - They really, really are Awesome!

  26. I haven't tried making these yet but will do very soon as I love the Chorizo style vegan sausage you can buy (if you can get it as it's not often in stock).
    I found a supply of Wheat Gluten here
    which might help, as I too struggled to find some at a sensible price, delivery charges are still a bit steep but it's and option.
    I'm glad they freeze and it's only me who will be eating them.
    Thanks for posting.

  27. Thank you so much Helen.
    I'm aware of the store, but its been a while since i checked out prices plus P&P, so will do so again and see if its worth investing in.

  28. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I miss chorizo and have fallen in love with the wonders of seitan. You've made my day!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  29. Your so Welcome Chucky,
    But i truly have to Thank Terry Hope Romero for permitting me to share the recipe on my blog. It is a fantastic recipe, packed with real flavour and it has good texture!

  30. This looks fabulous, and done right from scratch! I already have some gluten and I'll definitely be able to find all of the other ingredients here in Mexico. Thanks for posting!

  31. Thank you so much MexZihCan.
    Its really a delicious seitan sausage.

  32. Thank you so much for sharing this (and of course to Terry Hope for giving permission to!). I've been eyeing off trying it for a while ... and finally managed to do so - using it in a Vegan Chorizo Gumbo as part of a 'Daring Kitchen' challenge.

    They are so easy to make once you source the ingredients, not to mention absolutely divine in regards to flavour.

    I have, of course, linked back to this page and also Terry Hope's website rather than repeat the recipe on my own blog.

  33. Thank you so much Bekkitae.
    I am really thankful to Terry for allowingme to post it on my blog. Your right the flavours are gorgeous. Its one I will be making a lot.

    I've recently made another spicy seitan sausage, this time based on Eric Tuckers recipe. Hoping to post soon.

    thank you for the link back its most appreciated. I;ll be over later to check it out. Blogger has been playing up the past two days and comments posted on my blog have been lost in cyberspace and blog posts temporarily offline.

  34. Bekkitae,
    Can you post me your blog link so I can link it from mine. For some reason I can't seem to connect to your blog from your comment.

  35. Wow these look incredible! Thanks so much.


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