The thing I miss most being gluten-free, right after homemade whole wheat bread, is homemade seitan. I discovered the joys of cooking with vital wheat gluten mere months before swearing off the stuff completely.
Fast-forward three years, to Westley discovering that he loooves Tofurkey sausages, and me rediscovering that they're quite pricey. Especially when your husband and son mow through a package in a matter of minutes. So I made homemade (gluteny) vegan sausages one day, and Westley was delighted—until I told him that no, I wouldn't eat any, because they had wheat in them. He was heartbroken, and begged for a sausage recipe we could all eat.
And I nearly died from the sweetness of it all.
Fortunately, making a delicious gluten-free vegan sausage wasn't as difficult as I expected. They're a make-ahead recipe, since they really benefit from chilling overnight. These won't trick anyone into thinking they have gluten in them, and they definitely won't fool anyone into thinking they're actual meat, but they are tasty. And they can be grilled. And sliced.
Just don't tell my son that they're made from beans and mushrooms, both of which he claims to despise.
Note: The spice blend is very versatile. Feel free to throw in what you have, or what you like. If you own a copy of Vegan Brunch and want a jumping-off point, I highly recommend playing around with the spice combinations from Isa's sausage recipes.
Gluten-Free, Soy-Free Vegan Sausages
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp canola oil
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (I used 3 really large cremini mushrooms)
1/4 large sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 cups garbanzo, black, or pinto beans (or a combination—I used 1 cup each garbanzos and black beans)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 Tbsp coconut aminos or soy-free vegetable broth (or gluten-free tamari, if soy isn't an issue)
1 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
Prepare spice mix and set aside.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium. Saute onion, mushrooms and garlic until onions are translucent. Set sauteed veggies aside to cool.
In a large bowl, the mash beans. You can use a potato masher, but a strong fork seems to create the best texture. Don't bother dirtying your food processor for this; you want everything well-mashed, but not pureed. Add the tomato paste, nutritional yeast, rice flour, and xanthan gum. Add the spice blend, and mix everything up as well as you can. It will look pretty crumbly.
Add the sauteed vegetables, coconut aminos, water, and liquid smoke to the bowl. Mix everything up really well. It won't be really homogeneous, but you want it to be as uniformly sticky as possible. And it will be sticky.
In fact, I don gloves for the next few steps.
Divide the mixture into four equal pieces. Shape each part into a log, and wrap each log in a piece of foil. Steam them for 20 minutes.
When the sausages are done steaming, refrigerate them, still in their foil wrappers, for at least a few hours. Overnight is ideal. Chilling helps the sausages firm up and makes them more slice-able. When you want to use them, simply unwrap and cook. We like them best sliced and pan-fried (on pizza!), but you can pan-fry them whole, and they'll also stand up to being grilled.