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sliced vegan andouille sausage

Vegan Okara Sausage (with Customizable Flavours)

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ORIGINS: I came up with this recipe for vegan sausage using okara, the gritty pulp byproduct from making homemade soy milk, to reduce the amount of food waste in my kitchen.

Vegan Okara Sausage (with Customizable Flavours)

This recipe uses okara (the leftover pulp from making soy milk) for a tasty zero-waste vegan sausage. Easy meat-free Andouille, pepperoni, chicken sausage, and more!
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 1 hr 15 mins
Total: 1 hr 45 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: International
Servings: 6 sausages (100 g each)
Calories: 195kcal
Cost: $0.67

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of the okara from 1 batch of Homemade Soy Milk see Note 1 for recipe or substitution options
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or soy milk 240 g
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste 16 g
  • 2 tbsp maggi sauce or soy sauce 30 g
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil 25 g; see Note 2
  • 1–2 tbsp seasoning of choice see "Spice Mixes" section below for sausage flavour options
  • cup vital wheat gluten 210 g

Instructions

  • Mix together all the ingredients thoroughly. Let rest, covered, for 15 minutes before proceeding.
  • Give the dough a few more mixes—you should see its texture has now changed, having formed lumpy strands. Divide the dough into six pieces (see Note 3).
  • Place each piece on a sheet of aluminum foil and mold into a rough sausage-looking shape. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and twist the ends to seal. No worries if they’re a bit misshapen and lumpy; they’ll expand into a nice proper sausage shape once steamed.
  • Set the sausages on a steamer rack or trivet and steam for 1½ hours on the stovetop (make sure to check on the water occasionally to see that the pot hasn’t boiled dry), or 45 minutes in the Instant Pot (Steam setting on High Pressure using 1 cup of water, full natural release).
  • Sausages are ready when they are cool enough to handle. You can use them in a recipe or eat them right away as a snack.
Vegan Creole jambalaya with okara “chicken” sausage

Recipe Notes

  1. Wondering what okara is? See Note 1 of this recipe. When I say “1/2 of the okara,” I mean half of the total okara you strain out from making a full batch of my Homemade Soy Milk recipe.
    • I am not giving out an exact volume or weight measurement of the okara because that depends on how thoroughly you strain your soy milk. It could be anywhere from 80–200 g.
    • If you don’t have okara, you can also substitute with 1/2 cup of mashed cooked beans or tofu.
  2. Any plant-based oil works here. I love using coconut oil because of the higher saturated fat content, which mimics the fattiness of real meat. It just makes for a more satisfying taste. But like I said, any oil works: I’ve tried with grapeseed oil and olive oil, and both have worked fine.
    • While technically this recipe can be made oil-free, I don’t recommend it. The oil is there to add moisture and impart a smooth mouthfeel. If you must, I would reduce the oil by half but no more. Anyway, sausages are supposed to be fatty and this one is already quite lean, if you compare with real meat or storebought vegan sausages!
  3. You can also divide the dough into 12 pieces to make little cocktail-sized weiners. Perfect for pigs in a blanket!

Spice Mixes

Each of the following mixes make enough to season 1 batch of vegan okara sausage (6 links).

frying sliced vegan Andouille sausages in skillet

Andouille Sausage

I make these smoky Andouille sausages all the time to add into my Proper Vegan Gumbo.

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp allspice *optional

If you’re lazy, you can also use 1 tbsp (8 g) of storebought Cajun or Creole seasoning + 1 tsp liquid smoke instead of all the separate spices above.

Boerewors

[TBA. Boerewors is a South African sausage. Still experimenting with spice combos for this flavour.]

Bratwurst

The bratwurst is one of Germany’s most famous sausages. It’s commonly eaten with potato salad or sauerkraut but can also be served on a bread roll. Just like English bangers (see below), bratwurst refers to a big familiy of sausages. Every region has their own version, but the differences mainly come from the mix of meat or the weight of the sausage. Most share similar spice profiles.

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Vegan Cajun gumbo with okara “Andouille” sausage

Chorizo

[TBA. Chorizo is a sausage with both Spanish and Mexican varieties. Still experimenting with spice combos for this flavour.]

Cumberland Sausage (for Bangers and Mash)

Bangers are uniquely British sausages frequently eaten for breakfast as part of “bangers and mash” (sausage and mashed potatoes). The word banger is actually an umbrella term that encompasses many regional varieties of sausages. However, one of these regional specialties, the Cumberland sausage, is especially famous in the bangers and mash ensemble.

  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses or carob molasses
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Frankfurter or Vienna Sausage (Hot Dog Wiener)

In Canada and the States, Franks and Viennas are pretty much used interchangeably to refer to the smooth, pink sausage most popularly eaten in a hot dog bun or straight out of a can with tomato sauce/BBQ sauce. Roughly speaking: Frankfurters are used for hot dogs while Vienna sausages are the short ones that come in cans. But there is no real strict definition for either of these names, at least in North America.

  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp mace
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke *optional; these sausages are typically unsmoked but when I make these for hot dogs I like to add a dash of smoky flavour 🙂

These sausages are best known for being the hot dog wiener of choice, but you can use them in many other ways:

  • Chopped up into breakfast hash
  • Add them to spaghetti with tomato sauce
  • Sliced in budae jjigae (Korean army stew)
  • Roll them up into pigs in a blanket (sausage roll for you Brits)

Chicken Sausage

I haven’t worked on a spice blend recipe of my own for this one, because I’ve discovered an amazing seasoning that is made locally here in Calgary: Mesmerize Spices. 1 tbsp (12 g) of their Calgary Steak Spice makes this sausage recipe taste sooo much like a black pepper chicken or turkey sausage. (I mean, tbf, it’s been a while since I’ve had any kind of meat sausage, but this seasoning immediately evoked my old memories.)

You can use this sausage in place of Andouille in gumbos and jambalayas. I also love adding it to tofu scrambles.

(Note: The Steak Spice already contains plenty of salt. Leave out the 2 tbsp maggi sauce or soy sauce if you’re using this flavour.)

Kiełbasa Polska (Polish Hot Dog)

Kielbasa is another hearty choice for filling hot dog buns. (Anyone remember the Polish dogs in the Costco food court?) They’re also a good all-purpose sausage that can be tossed into a stir fry, mixed in with pasta, or substituted for most of the other sausage flavours on here.

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke *optional

Lap Cheong (Cantonese Sausages)

[TBA. Lap cheong or 腊肠 is a Chinese sausage. Super fatty, super flavorful, with a sweet and salty flavour. Still experimenting with spice combos for this flavour.]

Pepperoni

Who doesn’t love pepperoni?! It’s a favourite on pizzas but is also a great addition to a vegan charcuterie board or zakuski spread. It’s also my sausage of choice to use in Olivier salad (Russian salad). And sometimes I snack on them straight up because they are just so savoury and tasty.

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard or 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds or caraway seeds
Vegan red beans and rice, made with a mix of okara “chicken” sausage and “Andouille” sausage

Storage FAQ

How long do vegan okara sausages last in the fridge?

These sausages keep for a week in the refrigerator. I recommend keeping them wrapped in tin foil until you’re ready to use them, to prevent the outer layer from drying out. It’s not a big difference either way though.

Can okara sausages be frozen?

Yes! They freeze wonderfully, I’ve successfully kept them frozen for up to six months. I found no changes to their texture after freezing and thawing them. You can either store them still wrapped in the aluminum foil or unwrap them first. I prefer keeping the aluminum foil on because they are easier to separate while still frozen. If you freeze them unwrapped, they will stick to the sides of the container and to each other until defrosted.

What’s the best way to thaw vegan sausages?

You can thaw them in the fridge overnight or on the counter for about half an hour. If you’re really in a hurry and must use them right away, remove all the tin foil and microwave them in 15-second increments. However, note that the microwave method will dry them out more than the other methods.freshly steamed okara sausages

VWG vs WTF

Okay so if you’ve done research into seitan recipes you may have stumbled across these two terms: VWG and WTF. No, WTF doesn’t mean what you think…

These acronyms refer to the two basic ways one can make seitan at home.

  • The VWG or “vital wheat gluten” method uses vital wheat gluten, aka gluten flour. Gluten is a protein that is responsible for the wonderfully meat-like properties of seitan. So a VWG recipe takes that purified protein and mixes it with other stuff to create seitan. (You can buy vital wheat gluten flour at Bulk Barn or Qualifirst here in Canada, or even Amazon, though the first two options are cheaper.) This okara sausage recipe uses the VWG approach.
  • The WTF or “wash the flour” method starts with plain old all purpose flour. All wheat flours contain gluten (hence why gluten-free folks need to stay away from wheat products), but it’s mixed in with a bunch of other stuff. To isolate the gluten, you first knead together a dough ball as if you were making bread, then literally wash it repeatedly in a bowl of water until all the starch falls away and you’re left with a spongy, gloopy, mesh-like network of pure gluten. This method takes a lot longer and is more tedious than VWG method, which is why VWG is more approachable for beginners.

Imo, VWG is best for sausage recipes as it emulates the firm, homogenous texture of sausages. However, WTF can be more versatile and depending on how you handle it, results in a number of different final textures that can simulate other types of meats. If you’re interested in learning how to WTF, check out this detailed step-by-step guide.)

Results of My Tests

A good vegan sausage should have a good chewy texture to mimic the texture of real meat, but shouldn’t be too rubbery. Where a sausage lands on the spectrum between doughy and rubbery comes down to the percentage of vital wheat gluten in the mixture. The less gluten, the more crumbly and doughy. The more gluten, the more bouncy and rubbery.

On my first attempt, I used nearly the entire batch of okara and only 1 cup of vital wheat gluten. This resulted in a very gritty, almost crumbly sausage that offered no resistance when I bit down. Big disappointment.

For attempt #2, I cut down the okara to only half of what I used before. The texture improved a lot but it was still a tad too doughy and soft. I wasn’t entirely satisfied.

For the final trial, I stuck with the same amount of okara as attempt #2 but I also increased the vital wheat gluten by 1/2 cup. I also added a little more soy milk to make the dough easier to work with, plus a spoonful of tomato paste to add some savoury oomph. Success! The texture was nice and firm with a good bite to it.

Easy Beginner Seitan Recipes

I like to call this okara sausage a “gateway” recipe. It’s perfect for beginners who are looking to get into seitan-making because:

  1. It’s made with VWG, which is easy to work with
  2. All you do is mix together the ingredients in one bowl and steam. No kneading, no stretching, no fancy techniques
  3. Only 7 ingredients are needed
vegan sausages wrapped in tin foil

You’ll be shocked at how effortless it is to make delicious sausages at home!

If you’re interested in learning more about seitan, and maybe exploring more advanced techniques, I recommend checking out the guides on Seitan Society.

Other Uses for Okara

Here’s a spiced red lentil soup that sneaks in some okara. You won’t be able to taste it in the cooked soup!

Nutrition, Cost, and Emissions Information

Each vegan okara sausage is 195 cal, costs $0.67, and releases 87 gCO2e of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

Calculation for full recipe as written (6 servings):

Feel free to contact me for sources on the nutritional and carbon emissions information presented here. Note that I am not a nutritionist and guidelines on this page are provided for informational purposes only.


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