Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hot Italian Seitan Sausage

(pictured: Sweet Italian Sausage, which looks the same ... I forgot to take pictures yesterday)

Yesterday I was at my friend Sue’s house demonstrating how to make seitan. This sausage is the first thing we made since her husband John requested it. We put this is quick red sauce and had it with penne.

The seasonings for this sausage come from the cookbook “Charcuterie”. Adjust the flavors to your liking, below is what we used yesterday.

If you haven’t made seitan before I recommend that you start with the sausages. I have yet to have a batch of sausage not turn out well. I have a method for making all seitan sausages that I want to share.

To begin I put all the herbs and spices, whole wheat bread crumbs and a cup of the water in a large bowl and let everything sit until the bread has fully absorbed the water. Then I taste the mixture to see if I like the blender of spices. Since the mixture doesn’t have the gluten yet you want the flavor to be about double what it will be in the end. In other words if it isn’t a flavor rush you need to add more herbs and spices. You can taste it after you add the gluten but I don’t find it to have a pleasant texture before it is cooked.

When you are happy with the flavor add the vital wheat gluten and stir. You want the all the gluten to be damp (it will change color so it will be obvious). Add the remaining ½ cup of water slowly until all the gluten is damp. Now go in with your hands and knead the seitan dough to thoroughly mix all the ingredients.

Now the easy part of the recipe is forming the seitan sausages. I remove the 8 sheets of aluminum foil before I start. You want sheets that are about 8 – 10 inches in length. Take the seitan dough and form it into a log and cut the log into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a snake. Place the snake of dough on a sheet of foil and roll the foil to enclose the snake and twist the ends to form what looks like a wrapped candy (like a tootsie roll).

Next you steam the sausage and then you are finished. The entire process from making the dough to steaming takes under 30 minutes if you have a pressure cooker. I always make a batch or two of these and then store them in the freezer for when I “need” a little sausage for a recipe. They keep for months in the freezer if well wrapped.

Hot Italian Seitan Sausage
Makes 8 links


1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander, ground
2 teaspoons paprika, sweet
¼ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
½ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon oregano, dried
1 teaspoon agave
1 ½ cups whole wheat bread crumbs
1 ½ cups water
6 ½ ounces vital wheat gluten


See the narrative above for directions on the dough and forming the sausages.

To cook, put a steamer basket in your pressure cooker. I use one of the collapsible baskets that will fit into any size pot. Add water until it just comes to the bottom of the basket. Place the sausages in the cooker and lock the lid. Bring the cooker up to pressure and when it begins to release steam set the timer for 15 minutes. Adjust the heat as low as possible but with the cooker up to pressure.

After 15 minutes turn off the heat. You can release the pressure quickly or let the cooker pressure come down naturally. Next remove the links from the cooker and allow them to stand for about 10 minutes. If you unwrap them too quickly the escaping steam can burn you. I did this one time and won’t try it again.

Now you can use these in any recipe that calls for hot Italian sausage. If you are going to freeze any of these wrap them completely in plastic cling film and place in a zippered freezer bag. I wrap them individually so that I can pull out one of two sausages at a time.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 144.09
Calories From Fat (8%) - 11.77

Total Fat - 1.33g
Saturated Fat - 0.24g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 139.95mg
Potassium - 117.93mg
Total Carbohydrates - 13.35g
Fiber - 2.28g
Sugar 1.54g
Protein - 20.28g


Seitan sausages are very easy to make. They are my favorite form for seitan. I like the complex flavors you can add to the sausages. I also like the shape of the sausage, which I think is very similar to the animal based version. I have served seitan sausages to many omnivores and everyone has enjoyed them.

Once you make seitan sausages you will realize how easy they are to make. The fact that you can make the sausages as mild or spicy as you like is also very useful. I don’t like to be constrained by the flavors manufacturers have chosen. Since I can make these so quickly, and inexpensively I would rather make my own.

When we were finished making sausages yesterday I think both Sue and Wil were surprised how simple the process really was. If anyone has any questions about making sausage please post a comment and I will try to answer. Making seitan is a very simple and satisfying process that I hope everyone will try. I love making seitan sausage, and my husband loves eating them.

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