On the weekend I had a yen for sausage rolls. I mean the vegetarian variety, of course. Perhaps my neb at nut roast event has made me nostalgic for food from my childhood. Some might even argue that a vegetarian sausage roll is just a nut roast in pastry.
When I was too young to know any better and ate meat, sausage rolls were eaten at parties or just for light meals (or even sitting in a dressing gown in front of a soap opera, but I can’t mention names)! They were often offered as an alternative to meat pies which we called plasma pies (shudder of horror)! We usually had small sausage rolls that lots of little hands could grab and dunk in tomato sauce.
When I posted about making my version of vegetarian sausage rolls for party food last year, Cindy from Where’s the Beef kindly pointed me in the direction of the recipe she has been using for years. In her post Cindy remembers trips to the local bakery for sausage rolls. Such memories make me nostalgic for a time when I could stop at a bakery and eat any baked goods. I am of course nostalgic for the choice rather than the taste.
Many pie displays now include some sort of vegetarian pie but you still rarely find vegetarian sausage rolls when eating out. Cindy comments that this recipe should be shared with the world and, after finally making them, I can’t help but agree. It is easy and so delicious that I am sure there would be many takers if some enterprising person tried selling these. I thought the raw mixture was unbearably salty but when cooked it tasted so good. They are darker and richer than mine; closer in texture to that of their meaty cousins and packed with flavour.
The main problem is that these sausage rolls look so like the meaty ones that you could be mistaken for thinking they actually were. I mention this problem because it is easy to become paranoid about eating out when a vegetarian. Some meat eaters think it is hilarious to tell me the food they have just served up has meat in it, but it is too close to the truth to seem funny. Most vegetarians will have had the experience of being told that the stock is vegetarian, only to find bits of meat (or a ham bone) floating in the soup.
My mum has embraced the idea of choice and begun to make me some vegetarian sausage rolls when she makes meat sausage rolls but I worry she might mix them up. So I was inspired by the seeds on Cindy’s sausage rolls. I am now wondering if I should suggest my mum puts sesame seeds on my sausage rolls so it is easy to recognise the good ones! I know it seems obvious but it has just never occurred to me before.
Cindy’s sausage rolls with a mug of leftover mushroom stew were wonderful warming comfort food after a lazy Saturday. We even had a few for lunch the next day. This is an excellent version of a classic snack that I would recommend everyone try. Don't ask me who Liz O'Brien is because not even Cindy knows.
Finally, if you are looking for other ideas for filling vegetarian sausage rolls, you might like to try using the nut roast mixture from one of the recipes in the neb at nut roast round-up and baking it in pastry using the same method as in the recipe below.
Update Nov 2009: If you want a vegan version, see Cindy's vegan sausage rolls where she substitutes tofu for the egg and cottage cheese - I still mean to try it some time.
Update 2011: I have tried a vegan version of these sausage rolls that was very good. I have also tried a gluten free version that worked but the pastry needs work.
Liz O’Brien’s Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
(from Where’s the Beef)
Makes about 28 x 5cm (2 inch) sausage rolls
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (125g) pecans, chopped finely
1 medium to large onion, finely chopped
1 vegetable stock cube (I used 1 tsp of stock powder)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons soy sauce (I used 2 tbsp tamari)
250g cottage cheese
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup breadcrumbs
3 to 4 sheets of ready-rolled 25 x 25cm puff pastry
Beaten egg for glaze
Sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)
Combine all filling ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Thaw 3 to 4 sheets of ready-rolled puff pastry. Place the first sheet on a flat surface and cut it in half, into two rectangles. Spoon the non-sausage mix down the centre third of each rectangle. Brush one long edge with beaten egg and fold in the long edges so the one with beaten egg overlaps the other edge.
Repeat with other pieces of puff pastry. Brush with beaten egg (or milk) and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place sausage rolls seam down on a greased or baking-paper lined baking tray. Use a sharp knife to slash marks across the pastry. You can use the knife marks to indicate where to cut them after cooking (halves, thirds or quarters) and/or to make decorative marks
Fill all the pastry and bake sausage rolls at 220C for 20 minutes. I cut up the sausage rolls after they are cooked so the ends don’t dry out too much. The ones that you want to eat now should be kept in the oven for an additional 10 minutes or til golden brown.
Take out any rolls that you don’t want to eat and cool. These can be frozen for later. The leftovers can go straight from the freezer into a 220 C oven to cook for 15 minutes.
Serve with tomato sauce.
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