I love savoury goodies, much more so than the sweet stuff. Best of all for me is pastry, be it shortcrust or puff pastry I really don’t care. I just love the way it crumbles when you bite in, sending golden crumbs all down your front and sticking to the side of your mouth.
In my pre-vegetarian and vegan days, I adored a home-baked sausage roll and I did miss letting go of this delicious little snack. It conjured up happy memories of Christmas as a child. Also be it bite size or jumbo, every buffet or picnic contained these tasty morsels. Eaten hot or cold it really didn’t matter.
It was not so much the meat I missed, but just the way the two textures went so well together. I have tried vegetarian sausage rolls and there were a couple I liked, then I became a vegan. Since then I have not found one that has been to my taste. I wanted the soft centre, all the ones I tried were too dry for me or far too spicy.
I do like a challenge, something to get the cogs turning. So mission vegan sausage roll started. I wanted a filling that rolled like sausage meat and was soft and pliable. Then it hit me, just when I was making a batch of vegan meatballs. It occurred to me that maybe if I tweaked the mixture a little, then I could possibly have the texture I wanted. All I needed then was to find a flavour balance I liked. I chose to go down the Italian route, the reason for that was my greenhouse was bursting with tomatoes and basil.
I hope you like these as much as I do. I am sure I will come up with different versions of these in the future, for now, though these will do me just fine. They were tested the first time, warm with some apple chutney for the company. Once again Christmas, picnics or any buffet will be without this snack, be it now a little bit different.
Makes approximately 18 Preparation time 15- 20 Minutes Cook time 20 Minutes
- 2 finely chopped shallots
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 Tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 Tsp dried sage
- 1/2 Tsp dried thyme
- 6 Tbsp grated vegan parmesan
- 60g chopped walnuts or pine nuts
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- few sprigs fresh basil
- 1 flax egg ( 1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds mixed with 2 1/2 Tbsp hot water)
- Tin of green lentils, drained then rinsed
- 2 Tbsp gluten free dried breadcrumbs
- 1/4 Tsp salt and ground black pepper
- 4 sliced sun dried tomatoes
- 1 pack of vegan/gluten- free puff pastry
Heat a non stick frying pan over medium heat and preheat the oven to 190C. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add 1Tbsp olive oil to the pan and saute the shallots and garlic for about 3 minutes until slightly golden but not too brown. Set aside
Mix the ground flaxseeds to the hot water, mix and leave to gel for two minutes, then add to the food processor. Then add the lentils, tomato paste, herbs, nuts, breadcrumbs, parmesan, sun dried tomatoes, 1 Tbsp olive oil, seasoning, sun dried tomatoes. Scrape in the cooked shallots and garlic
With the food processor, pulse or have it on low speed and mix until well combined while still containing a little texture. Taste a little to check the flavour is to your liking, adding more herbs, parmesan or salt and pepper if needed. Also if the mixture is too damp add some more breadcrumbs a Tbsp at a time until you get the right constistency. If the mixture is too dry, add a touch of water or oil. Be very careful, as we need to be able to roll the mixture into a sausage shape.
Scrape into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and place into the fridge for at least an hour. The colder the filling the better * see notes
Remove the pastry from the fridge about 10 minutes before you are ready to use, this makes sure it is nice and pliable.
Place the pastry onto a lightly floured large board, divide widthwise into three equal rectangles. Remove the filling from the fridge, divide into three. Form each piece into a sausage shape, roughly the length of each rectangle. Place each sausage in the middle of each pastry strip, brush the edges with non dairy milk and fold over. Seal the edges with a fork, trimming off any excess pastry. Do the same to all three, brush the tops with milk( or rapeseed oil) then cut each roll into 6 equal pieces ( you may want bigger or small rolls).
Place onto the baking sheet and into the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack.
I had a few mistakes while making these in the beginning. Firstly i didn’t put the mixture into the fridge before i used it. When i did this, the filling softned and spread out and I was left with empty pastry rolls. This was not pretty.
This brings me onto another tip I will definitely use in the future. You can make the mixture in advance, roll into sausage shapes, freeze, wrap in clingfilm then store back into the freezer. This sausages can be popped onto the pastry frozen and cooked. Now I will always keep a batch in my freezer, ready in case guests arrive unexpectantly as one thing I do always have in the fridge is a pack of puff pastry.
Instead of an egg wash to make my pastry look glossy and golden, I use rapeseed oil for its vibrant colour on savoury items. Only a little. If the colour is not so important then just glaze with non dairy milk.