Deliciously meaty Vegan Breakfast Sausage made with vital wheat gluten, maple syrup, sage, thyme, and spices. Pair with your favorite tofu scramble, biscuits, or pancakes for a hearty vegan breakfast. Oil-free option.Yield: makes 16 medium-size links or 8 entree-size sausages. Nutrition facts represent 1 ½ medium links.
Decide whether you'll be cooking the sausages in the Instant Pot, oven, or steamer. The Instant Pot is my preferred method for simplicity, shorter cook time, and ideal texture of the sausages.NOTE: a food processor is a quick way to make the seitan dough, but you can also prepare this recipe without one. See Notes for instructions.
In the bowl of a large food processor, combine the first 15 ingredients and the maple sugar, if using (this is everything except the broth, chickpeas, and gluten). Process into a slurry.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the broth and chickpeas, and pulse 5 to 7 times to break up the beans. Add the vital wheat gluten, and process for 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to a flat work surface, and knead by hand for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the dough feels firm.
Shape the dough into a square, and cut it into 4 equal-size pieces. To create 16 small/medium-size links, cut each of those pieces into 4. Or for 8 large, entree-size sausages, only cut each piece of dough in half.
One at a time, shape each piece into a log. This doesn't need to be perfect as the sausages will snap into shape inside the foil packages.
Cut enough pieces of aluminum foil (preferably heavy duty foil) for the number of sausages you're making. The foil should be large enough to completely wrap around each link, with enough excess on the ends to tightly twist closed (like a candy wrapper). See process photos in post above for reference. Feel free to add a layer of parchment paper between the foil and sausage, though this isn't necessary.
Instant Pot method:
In a 6 quart or larger Instant Pot, add 1 cup water to the insert. Place the trivet inside, and stack the wrapped sausages on top of the trivet.
Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and set to sealing. For the smaller sausages, cook at high pressure for 16 minutes. For large sausages, cook at high pressure for 18 minutes. Carefully quick release the pressure, and use tongs to transfer 1 or 2 sausages to a plate or cutting board. Check for doneness as described below.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place wrapped sausages on a baking sheet, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes (or 55 to 60 minutes for large sausages), flipping the sausages at the half way point. Check for doneness as described below, returning them to the oven for a few more minutes if needed.
Add a few inches of water to a large pot and set up a steamer basket. Make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the basket. Bring the water to a simmer. Add sausages to the basket, and steam for 45 to 55 minutes, depending on size. Check for doneness as described below.
Check for doneness:
Use tongs or another utensil to press the center of one or two of the sausages. The center should feel firm. If it feels significantly softer/squishier than the ends of the sausage, carefully unwrap the foil to take a closer look.No matter which cooking method you're using, it's very easy to cook the sausages longer if you discover they're underdone. Even with the Instant Pot you can add a few more minutes of cook time. Simply re-secure the lid, and cook at high pressure for another 1 to 3 minutes. Use your best judgment here, depending on how done the center of the sausages seem. Because the contents are already hot, the Instant Pot will come to pressure much more quickly this time.
Once done, allow sausages to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the foil. Serve immediately, or allow to cool completely before transferring to a storage container.
To make the sausages without a food processor:
In a mixing bowl mash the chickpeas with a fork, then add the seasonings, spices, and wet ingredients. Whisk to combine, then add the vital wheat gluten. Knead the dough by hand for about 5 minutes or until firm. Then proceed with shaping and wrapping the sausages.
Store sausages in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Re-heat briefly in a microwave or steam in a large pan.Seitan sausage can also be frozen for 1 to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then microwave or steam to re-heat.