Sunday 22 July 2007

It’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll

I think it is an Australian joke to sing 'It’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll' to the tune of the AC/DC song 'It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll'! It might have been sung about vegetarians.

There are lots of vegetarian sausage rolls in the shops but I struggle to find good ones! The best I ever had was in Cranks vegetarian restaurant in Covent Garden, London. Unfortunately, this specialty long ago fell off their menu. I can’t think why. But the memory lingers. This is the sausage roll I have always aspired to imitate in my own baking. One of the joys of baking is being able to make foods we love in memory of those we can no longer find anywhere outside our own kitchens.

I decided to make sausage rolls for a kid’s birthday party yesterday. It was organized by my sister Francesca for her partner’s little girl, Maykaylah. Fran is an organizer extraordinaire. She sends emails, draws up Excel spreadsheets and searches the net for ideas. She said there would be sausages, hamburgers and sausages rolls. Of course, my family is great about me being vegetarian and so Fran had got some veggie sausages for me but we planned to cook them inside so they didn’t cook in the meat fat on the barbecue.

But when I heard my mum was making sausage rolls, I thought it would be easier to make vegetarian sausage rolls than to have a separate cooking of veggie sausages. (The logistics of being vegetarian aren’t always easy.) So I made my sausage rolls and then when I arrived, I found my mum had made vegetarian sausage rolls for me. I should have known! She had even scored lines on them with a knife for easy identification.

After all this palaver, I felt for my little celiac niece who desperately wanted some Twisties (cheese corn snacks). It is hard sometimes to be different from everyone else. I feel a pang when I attend catered events and there are hot pastries and I am meant to pick through the soggy sandwiches to find which are free of meat. I don’t feel at all tempted to eat the meat but I hate having second rate food when everyone else has something wonderful. So it is always a treat when I am out and can partake of the sausage rolls. And I am lucky to have a family who look out for me.

The theme was Jungle Party and it was held out the back in the huge shed. Although it was sunny enough for people to sit outside. There was music and games and jungle juice (cranberry juice, orange juice, soda water, chopped strawberries and chopped pineapple) in the shed. And once Steve had fired up the barbie, it had a table laden with barbecued meat, salad and sausage rolls. Later the table held cupcakes (which I made!), jellies, fairy bread, and a birthday cakes. There was even a home made piñata hanging off the clothes line full of treats. A kids party to remember! Maykaylah was beaming with pleasure.

I ate my mum’s sausage rolls at the party and then went home and had my sausage rolls for dinner with salad. Now I couldn’t eat them day in day out but as a vegetarian, it is happy days when there is an abundance of vegetarian sausage rolls so I wasn’t complaining. (But I did put the remainder in the freezer.) The recipe for the ones I made is below, but it is one of those recipes where it is just a matter of using whatever is at hand.

Update Nov 2009 - found the lyrics to the whole Long Way to the Shops if you Want a Sausage Roll parody. Also have started making Liz O'Brien's Sausage Rolls more regularly - they are like meat sausage rolls but have oats, cottage cheese and eggs or can be made with tofu for vegan versions. Highly recommend them.

Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
(makes about 25-30 small sausage rolls)

5 small carrots, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/3 cup ground almonds
1 egg
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1-2 tbsp tahini
½ cup water
Generous grinding of fresh black pepper

450g puff pastry
Egg to brush on the pastry

- Mix all filling ingredients and check seasoning. The mixture should be fairly stiff so you can shape it into a sausage with your hands.
- I use ready rolled puff pastry which comes in sheets that are 25 x 25cm. I cut each in half and used 5 of these 25cm x 12cm strips of pastry. I put a 5cm wide strip of filling down the middle – I use my hands to shape it into a sausage shape.
- With your finger or a pastry brush, use water to moisten the long side of the long side. Roll the pastry over so it overlaps and seals with this moistened side.
- Use a knife to score where you plan to cut them (they can be as long or short as you want) and brush with beaten egg.
- Bake for 20- 35 minutes at 220ºC and cut into smaller pieces. (I baked 20 minutes, cut them up, cooled them, and when I was ready to eat them put them in a moderate oven for about 15 minutes.)

On the Stereo:
Flood: They Might Be Giants


  1. Right, that's it! This is exactly what I'm craving - I kid you not Johanna, I dreamed about sausage rolls last night...these look fantastic. Golden pastry, yummy filling.

    Party sounds like it was a huge success!

  2. Clever! Your blog really enhances my imagination about vegetarian food. There's so much to cook and explore with vegetables, something I love to learn...

    Right, I need to think of some Vietnamese vegetarian dishes to make. :D

  3. Mmm, I love a vege "sausage" roll! (Here's my favourite recipe.) Great party food - I think I'll be making some for a lunch group next weekend.

  4. Hee hee, you got me singin' that AC/DC song now. How fun! i forgot about that tune. Those rolls look soooooooo good. Wow. Vegan sausage is one of life's better things... Your mum is awesome to have made you veg sausage rolls!

    My mom is also that nice. When she makes her special sauce for meatballs, she has me bring over my veggie balls and makes me my own... So nice. If she knew how to make my veggie balls, she would, too.

    Mums are the best!

    What you write here really rings compassionate about you (your concern about your sweet niece) and also is something i can relate to so absolutely:

    "... I felt for my little celiac niece who desperately wanted some Twisties (cheese corn snacks). It is hard sometimes to be different from everyone else. I feel a pang when I attend catered events..."

    Wow, do i know how that goes, and i'm sure a lot of your readers here can relate.

    A Jungle Party! Wooooooo! i like the sound of that!

  5. See, and I usually get boring and go for a vegetarian pastie when I'm craving a vegetarian pastry treat! Those look delicious!

    I wonder could I use them to persuade the children to eat a greater variety of vegies...?

  6. Lucy - how bizarre you were dreaming of them - this is really nutloaf in pastry which is double decadence!

    Thanks Anh - glad I am inspiring you - there is so much good vegetarian food out there - I had an excellent vegetarian vermicelli for lunch today at a Vietnamese restaurant - so am sure you will be able to find some great Vietnamese dishes.

    Cindy - thanks for the recipe - looks excellent - maybe I could use it to use up the rest of my puff pastry - it is party season coming up in my family and sausage rolls do maketh the party :-)

    thanks for your comments Kleopatra - sharing good food with family is such a joy. We are still getting used to the gluten free stuff for my niece but I am sure we will get better at making sure she has good food!

    thanks Kathleen - hey pastries are not boring - they are just not party food - I think sausage rolls appeal to kids because they are small - worth a try seeing if they will eat these - because if they don't you will no doubt enjoy them :-)

  7. Thanks, Johanna. I'm not a tofu fan, so these are especially tempting. If I didn't know better, I'd swear they were baklava. Wish I had some right this moment while I wait for dinner.

  8. thanks susan - I am sure they would make perfect appetizers!

  9. I think I would love these rolls more than sausage rolls with sausage meat (which I am not too keen on).They sound and look delicious!! Excellent post!!

  10. thanks Valli - I was always a bit suspicious about what was in sausage meat before I went vegetarian so I would recommend these - and they taste fantastic!

  11. And a good time was had by all!

    I know how you feel about having to explore a buffet table for something that might be vegetarian. You have to get there quick as the meat-eaters, seem to love a spot of veggie food and if you aren't quick, it is all gone!

    Thank you for the recipe, I will give it a go!

  12. Thanks Holler - it is depressing some days - but it makes you happy when people are thoughtful and put little labels on the vegetarian food (rather than writing vegetarian on the plastic clingwrap that is removed to serve the food)

  13. Wow this looks so good, I am gluten-free, but I am wondering If I can "gluten free" the filling and wrap it in a tortilla (don't laugh :-( !!!)

    But I do have a question...isn't worchestershire sauce not a veg product?

    I am thinking you are not in the states is that correct?

  14. I think this would be fine in a tortilla wrap - or you could bake it without a 'skin' as a nutloaf or you could do it as a pie or mini pies with a simple grated potato crust - the gluten free possiblities are endless.

    re the Worcestership sauce - traditionally it has anchovies but I made some which is in my blog index (check for index link towards top of right hand index) and you can buy vegetarian versions too. If you go to the blog index there are a few links towards the bottom of conversion charts if you are struggling with my Australian measurements too (because you are right that I am not in the states!)

  15. G'day Johanna. I was glad to find this recipe, there is a distinct lack of recipes for vego 'sausage' rolls on the net!

    I started off following exactly, and then after only grating one large carrot, I freaked out about too much carrot and just started winging it with the ingredients. The tahini was the key though, that absolutely drives the taste for me. Perhaps I put too much in, but either way, they taste fantastic. I also freaked out when I read "1cp grated cheese" but I halved that and used ricotta as well and it seemed to work out nicely.

    I wanted something to freeze for busy nights or for lazy weekend lunches and they're perfect for that. They'll be a good way to use up leftover vegies too. I put a tiny bit of chilli in, because it was there, but I can't taste it so maybe a bit more next time. I'm thinking I'll experiment with other base flavours too, eg. mustard, curries, etc etc.

    Thanks, not just for the recipe but for the inspiration! Yum!


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