Sunday 28 October 2012

Nut free vegan sausage rolls

I had odd dreams last night about visiting a cafe that looked great but when I learned to look at it the right way it was a bit like the emperor's new clothes - the decorations were all a sham and just a trick of the eyes.  I was given a bunch of brochures to hand out.  They too were not as they at first seemed.  Once I knew how to look, I found they were promoting some crazy extreme political party.

Perhaps the dream was due to my voting in the council elections yesterday.  Or maybe it was my subconscious reflecting on an odd experience of finding my Rennie Mackintosh pendant that I tossed into a drawer after the chain broke recently.  I've worn this pendant almost every day for years.  Yet I couldn't find it.  Perhaps I own too many Rennie Mackintosh pendants.  I just couldn't recognise it among the other pendants.  In fact I thought it was lost.  I chose another.  I found it was actually the pendant I have been wearing daily.

Fortunately for vegetarians and vegans, things not being what they seem is not always a bad thing.  Yes, I am talking about faux meat.  It does make me nervous at times.  I can be more likely to believe my eyes or my tastebuds than my ears.  But when it comes to sausage rolls, I am happy to find that it is possible to make vegetarian sausage rolls that might even fool hardened carnivores.  Take my favourite Vegetarian Sausage Roll recipe (courtesy of Liz O'Brien via Cindy and Michael).

It is a brilliant recipe.  The only problem is that it has nuts in it.  Sylvia's child care centre has a ban on nuts.  As do, or so I have heard, many schools.  Given that Sylvia has a peanut allergy herself, I understand.  Yet it makes it hard to share.  As sausage rolls are such great kids finger food, I am seeking a nut free recipe.  When Cindy and Michael mentioned that a new cookbook by Leigh Drew, Wrapped in Pastry, had a recipe for sausage rolls, I was interested.  Especially when I saw it was nut free as well as vegan.

My first opportunity to try the recipe was for my niece Ashton's party.  I made some minor tweaks to the recipe.  It looked meaty, though not as red as Leigh's, but it was not quite right for me.  My main complaint was that the the texture was wrong.  Too pasty.  Not enough structure.  These were far more seasoned than my regular recipe.  In fact I had used less pepper but worried it was too much.  It settled once cooked but I am not sure so much was needed.  The spices seem more meat pie than sausage roll.

Don't get me wrong.  I enjoyed them.  Just not as much as my regular sausage rolls.  And I am being quite critical because I went on to experiment.  The sausage rolls below are from my nephew, Cooper's birthday party.  I think they might be the Cranks recipe but it is months ago and my memory is failing me.  Let me explain.  Around the time that I was trying these sausage rolls, I asked if anyone had the recipe for Cranks sausage rolls.

While no one had the recipe for the ones I loved to buy at Cranks restaurant in Covent Garden, a kind reader (thanks Shelagh) sent me a recipe for Cranks Savoury Mix that could be used to stuff sausage rolls.  I was interested to try them.  The recipe was far plainer and stodgier than Leigh's.  I quite enjoyed it, even though I got the seasoning a bit confused when I used nutritional yeast flakes instead of yeast extract.  The below photos is definitely one of the Cranks recipe.  Maybe I will try it again with different seasoning.

I still had dreams of trying Leigh's sausage rolls again.  The recipe appealed because it was gluten free - and I often take sausage rolls to family get-togethers where there are people with gf diets.  Leigh's recipe had instructed to blend the filling.  I wanted to try it unblended.  It had cooked quinoa which seemed more likely to imitate the texture of meat when whole rather than blended.

I made Leigh's sausage rolls - part II for my sister Fran's birthday.  As you might have guessed about the above photo, I tried making some gf pastry (using this hot water pastry recipe but with a commercial GF flour) and it was a disaster.  The filling was far more pleasing.  I added less water and more besan, and didn't blend the mixture.  I thought the texture was much improved.

These recipes make a lot of sausage rolls.  I usually end up with leftovers to put in the freezer.  At one stage I had two different sorts, which is why I have a photo at the top of the post of both recipes.  We sometimes take out a few for weekend lunches.  Even better, is having some sausage rolls in the freezer when there is another get-together on.

This last photo is of the last occasion where I have taken sausage rolls over the last few months.  It was when we watched the AFL Grand Final at my mum and dad's place.  The match was a nailbiter (and I was glad that Sydney won).  I didn't get to see much of it because I was too busy herding small children.  At half time, the kids made fish out of paper plates and decorated them.  Great craft fun.  And I was pleased to have some sausage rolls for nibbles.  It is great to keep up with tradition, or at least to look like I do.

Other sausage roll recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Liz O'Brien's vegetarian sausage rolls
GF vegetarian sausage rolls (Liz O'Brien's)
Vegan sausage rolls (Liz O'Brien's)
Vegetarian sausage rolls (my pre-Liz O'Brien's recipe)

Leigh's vegan sausage ro
Adapted from Wrapped in Pastry by Leigh Drew (2012) - original recipe here
Makes about 4 dozen

1/2 cup quinoa (red or white)
1 1/2 cups water + 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped - food processor
3 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped (about 1 bulb)
2 cups brown lentils (cooked or canned)
3 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon pepper (I used a bush pepper mix) - maybe less
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
about 10-15 sage leaves, finely chopped
handful chopped parsley
2/3 cup besan flour
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt maybe less
To assemble
4 sheets vegan puff pastry
soy milk
sesame seeds
To make the filling:

In a medium saucepan (with lid on) simmer quinoa in the water and stock powder for about 20 minutes or until (most) water is absorbed.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan, fry onions in oil over medium heat for at least 5 minutes until translucent.  I cooked mine gently over medium low heat while I pottered and prepared the garlic.  Add garlic and stir for about 1 minute.

Stir in the cooked quinoa,  brown lentils, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, pepper, nutmeg, tomato paste and water.  Simmer gently, stirring occasionally until liquid has been absorbed.  This should take about 15-20 minutes.  Stir in besan and nutritional yeast flakes.  Check seasoning and adjust to taste.  Cool.

To assemble sausage rolls:

Place the first sheet of puff pastry 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 milk and fold in the long edges so the one with milk overlaps the other edge.

Repeat with other pieces of puff pastry. When all pastry is filled, place sausage rolls seam down on a greased or baking-paper lined baking tray.  Brush pastry with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Use a sharp knife to slash deep marks across the pastry to mark out about 6 sausage rolls. The knife slashes indicate where to cut them after cooking (they can be bigger if you desire).

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 and because they are easier to cut wen partly cooked (esp if you have time to cool a bit first) than when raw.

The sausage rolls that you want to eat now should be returned to the oven for an additional 10 minutes or til golden brown.  Completely cool any rolls that you don’t want to eat straight away. These can be kept in the fridge or freezer for later. The leftovers can go straight from the freezer into a 220 C oven to cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with tomato sauce.

Cranks Savoury Mix
adapted from The Cranks Recipe Book by David Canter, Kay Canter and Daphne Swann (1985)
Makes about 2lb or 1 kg of mixture

100g or 4oz yellow split peas
1 medium carrot
1 medium onion
450ml or 3/4 pint water
175g or 6 oz coarse oatmeal - I used rolled oats
1 tbsp or 15ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp or 10ml yeast extract - I used nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp or 15ml tomato paste
1 tsp or 5ml thyme - I used mixed herbs
1 tsp or 5ml sage - I used mixed herbs here too
2 tbsp or 30ml parsley - I assume this means fresh
100g or 4oz fresh breadcrumbs 4oz (100g) - I used wholemeal
1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste
2 tsp salt, or to taste (less if using yeast extract rather than yeast flakes)

Soak the peas in water (ideally this should be overnight but I poured boiling water on mine in the morning and they were ready by early afternoon). Grate the carrot and onion. Drain peas and add to 450ml or 3/4 pint of water, carrot and onion in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the oatmeal and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. By the time I was ready to stir in breadcrumbs and parsley it was cool and easiest way to mix was by hand because it was quite a stiff mixture. Adjust seasoning to taste.

To make into sausage rolls, follow recipe instructions above on how to assemble.

On the Stereo:
Bruder des Schattens - Sohne des Lichts: Popul Vuh

This post is part of Vegan Month of Food October 2012.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my Vegan MoFo posts.


  1. Besan flour is a new one on me - will have to look it up. Very interesting coming up with a non nut filling for sausage rolls. I don't think I've ever had a sausage roll at cranks and I've eaten there more times than I care to remember. I've just checked my Cranks Bible and nothing there. I'll try and remember to look in my mothers much older Cranks cookbook and see if I can ferret out anything. Your rolls all look delicious and even though I've just had lunch, I'm sore of craving one now.

    1. Thanks Choclette - chickpea flour is sometimes called besan. The sausage rolls at cranks are ones I ate there over 10 years ago now - I have looked and looked in their cookbooks but never found the recipe (and maybe if I found it I would be less impressed given the recipes I have tried since) but if you find something you think might be it, let me know

  2. One of my best friends is vegan so I'll definitely bookmark this - though I've not heard of besan flour either. And where do you get vegan puff pastry - is there a particular brand that is vegan?

    1. Thanks Caroline - Besan flour is chickpea flour - you could probably use regular wheat flour if you don't want the filling to be gf - the mainstream low fat pastry here is vegan so it not too hard to find - don't know about it in the uk but check the ingredients esp of low fat

  3. You can buy oil based puff from Coles (their brand) and it works amazingly well and is quite cheap. Besan is chickpea flour and is easy to make if you have a high speed blender or just go to an Indian or Asian grocery store. I love its nutty taste and its binding capacity. I love this blog and especially the music selection at the bottom of every post. I get to learn a new recipe as well as hear something new :)

    1. thanks fran - I think I buy the low fat pampass puff pastry and it is vegan. The chickpea flour is also available in many health food stores. I agree the chickpea flour or besan is great - it tastes quite strong but if used in the right way is great. Glad you enjoy the music too - Popul Vuh is a favourite of E's.

  4. Wow, you've been on quite the sausage roll voyage! If you haven't hit on your ideal mix yet, you might also consider Vicki Vegan's gluten-free vegan adaptation. They still have nuts in them but her other ingredients might provide some inspiration.

    1. Thanks Cindy - I think I checked Vicki's adaption when I did gf sausage rolls - but for kids I am probably more likely to leave out the nuts and keep in some oats. I've been thinking about trying to take bits of all these recipes but thought i would post where I am up to in my experiments because sometimes it is easier to refer back to my blog for my ideas than to find my scrappy notes

  5. Haha - what Cindy said, you've had quite the sausage roll adventure! I feel quite unadventurous now - I haven't tried a new sausage roll recipe since Cindy posted hers! (And now that I think about it, it's been a long time between sausage rolls... must make a batch soon.)

    1. Thanks Lisa - I have made Cindy's sausage rolls heaps and will again but just need a nut free recipe up my sleeve - I make them a bit because they are so easy to take to a gathering and know I will eat well

  6. I have had some really delicious vegetarian sausage rolls in my time! These look so good Johanna(oops and that reminds me, I forgot to vote-arrrgh!).

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I think sausage rolls are one of my favourite ways to eat faux meat - I hear that you are not alone in not getting to the polls - we just got there at the end of the day

  7. You have been busy making sausage rolls! Are you planning to try other gluten free pastry recipes?

    1. Thanks Mel - I do have another GF pastry that I mean to try - had hoped I could easily do the hot water pastry as gf but was too optimistic - maybe chickpea flour or besan would work better in it

  8. What an impressive series of sausage roll pictures - they look completely authentic. I too am a little daunted by faux meat, as it looks so real that I get a bit put off! Your ingredient list has me convinced though and I like the idea of quinoa.

    Funny about your dreams too - the mind is an interesting thing sometimes! I hope you get the results you're hoping for in your election.

    1. Thanks Kari - I love the quinoa in sausage rolls too - highly recommend trying some of these sausage roll recipes when you are entertaining - I always find that people love Cindy and Michael's - I think everyone liked these ones but too many versions to remember much detail of responses to them

  9. What an intriguing recipe. I've got an afternoon tea party coming up at my place soon and with all the various dietary requirements of my friends these look like they may be just the ticket to serve.


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