Vegan Daughter Paleo Son

Adzuki Bean Italian Sausage

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Adzuki Bean Italian Sausage

The idea of vegan charcuterie has always intrigued me. It is the ultimate contradiction. And one I have frequently explored. The mock meats, fakons, tofurkeys, and quorn… leave a lot to be desired. But if you are working at home and you start with your own wheat gluten or soy, you can make an impressive and delicious charcuterie plate.

To make it a real challenge though, take out the wheat and soy. And if you have an intolerance to nuts, take those out too. What are you left with? Some pretty amazing ingredients.

When making a vegetable sausage, it is good to think of it as just that… a vegetable sausage. Not a “meat substitute”. The substitute thing implies an inferiority complex, and a bit of a martyrdom factor, as though it really aspires to be meat, but can only be a sad little wannabe, an imitation.

My vegan food does not have meat envy.

For this particular sausage, I want umami, heat, and Italian cuisine flavor that will keep me coming back for more. And nutrition (without tasting “nutritious”). It has to taste good. And it does! And it makes me feel good too.

adzuki bean italian sausage

Key Ingredients

Adzuki Beans make a great base. They are meaty, a great source of protein, iron, potassium, and folic acid. And they are often more easily digested than other legumes. They have a nutty flavor that will add to the dish without overwhelming, or making muddy, the other flavors.

You can usually pick up organic whole adzuki beans at an Asian market, or order them online. Soak them in water overnight, then cook them like you would cook any dried bean… bring to boil, simmer til tender. When 3 random beans are tender (eat 3 beans), not mush, the batch is probably cooked.

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Sundried tomatoes have a deep rich gorgeous umami flavor.  Try to find a good brand, preferably organic, to get the best flavor. You can easily reconstitute dried tomatoes by putting them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Just let them sit for 30 minutes.

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Then for this recipe, puree them into a paste. Flavor town!!!

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The secret ingredient.

Star anise, combined with tomato and pungent herbs, is the magical ingredient that makes this a sausage, and not just mushed beans. It is the ingredient that brings everything together and reminds you of pepperoni pizza.

If you buy it whole, you can grind it up in a mini food processor or with a mortar and pestle. If you do not have either of these tools, buying them will change your culinary world!

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Adzuki Bean Italian Sausage

Prepare your ingredients so that you can enjoy building your flavors. Mince onion, pepper, and mushroom very finely. If you use a food processor, be careful that you do not puree your ingredients. It should be minced for good texture.

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In coconut oil, begin sauteing your onion. You can be generous with the coconut oil. Sausage is better if it is fatty, not dry. Give onions time to get tender and begin to brown. This is flavor!

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Add hot pepper and mushrooms. Add more coconut oil, as needed.

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When mushrooms are cooked, add garlic. Cook for a few minutes. Do not allow garlic to burn.

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Add sundried tomatoes. For a deeper tomato flavor, add in a little extra tomato paste.

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Add cooked beans. To get a firm texture, be sure you have not overcooked your beans.

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Using a potato masher, break up all the beans. You do not need to completely pulverize your beans, you just need them all broken up and mingling with the other flavors.

Sausage is “forcemeat” I am forcing these meaty beans through my potato masher. 🙂

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Add the remaining ingredients. Taste, and adjust ingredients to your liking. Don’t forget salt and black pepper! Fresh hot peppers, red chili flakes, and black pepper hits different places on the tongue. They work beautifully all together. Spice up your sausage as much or as little as you like.

I like to add star anise until the mixture reminds me of pepperoni.

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If you would like your sausage to hold its shape a little better, remove from heat and stir in xanthum gum.

Divide mixture into even pieces and roll them into logs. Wrap them in cheesecloth, twist the ends to firm and shape sausages to your liking. This is not terribly pretty food. If you have kitchen string, you can tie the ends. If not, just twist them up.

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In a stainless steel calendar over a pot with water, steam sausages for about 15 minutes. This will allow them to begin to set, especially if you have added xanthum gum.  To help them set better, refrigerate them overnight. This is a great make-ahead recipe!

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When you are ready to serve your sausages, gently remove cheesecloth, slice and enjoy!

This is not the prettiest of foods. It doesn’t care. It has other virtues.

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adzuki bean italian sausage

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If you do not have xanthum gum, or just do not want to use it, your sausage will make a nice crumble, great for pizza toppings, over rice, in an omelette, etc. Here is a xanthum gum free sausage that I crumbled up.

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Enjoy any way you like! Consider a charcuterie plate with nut cheese and seed crackers. 🙂

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Adzuki Bean Italian Sausage

Ingredients

This is delicious as-is, but can also be a great base for any flavors you like. Because it is wheat and soy free, the texture is not as firm as a traditional sausage. It is delicious on a pizza, in hash, or as part of a charcuterie plate. Make it your own!

Ingredients

  • coconut oil, be generous… fatty sausage is a good thing
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • 1 hot pepper (I really like a serrano)
  • 1 cup finely minced mushrooms (will take about 8 mushrooms)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 T reconstituted and pureed sundried tomato paste
  • 1 T tomato paste, if needed
  • 1 cup cooked adzuki beans
  • 1 t ground star anise (at least, you may want more)
  • 1 t ground oregano
  • 2 t vegan worcheshire sauce
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • optional: 1 t xanthum gum -please see Chef’s notes below
  • cheesecloth

Method

Prepare your ingredients so that you can enjoy building your flavors. Mince onion, pepper, and mushroom very finely. If you use a food processor, be careful that you do not puree your ingredients. It should be minced for good texture.

In coconut oil, begin sauteing your onion. You can be generous with the coconut oil. Sausage is better if it is fatty, not dry. Give onions time to get tender and begin to brown. This is flavor! Add hot pepper and mushrooms. Add more coconut oil, as needed. When mushrooms are cooked, add garlic. Cook for a few minutes. Do not allow garlic to burn. Add sundried tomatoes. For a deeper tomato flavor, add in a little extra tomato paste.

Add cooked beans. To get a firm texture, be sure you have not overcooked your beans. Using a potato masher, break up all the beans. You do not need to completely pulverize your beans, you just need them all broken up and mingling with the other flavors. Add the remaining ingredients. Taste, and adjust ingredients to your liking. I like to add star anise until the mixture reminds me of pepperoni.

If you would like your sausage to hold its shape a little better, remove from heat and stir in xanthum gum.

Divide mixture into even pieces and roll them into logs. Wrap them in cheesecloth, twist the ends to firm and shape sausages to your liking. If you have kitchen string, you can tie the ends. If not, just twist them up. In a stainless steel calendar over a pot with water, steam sausages for about 15 minutes. This will allow them to begin to set, especially if you have added xanthum gum.  To help them set better, refrigerate them overnight. This is a great make-ahead recipe!

When you are ready to serve your sausages, gently remove cheesecloth, slice and enjoy!

Chef’s notes: Planning ahead makes this dish very easy! Cook your beans, ground your star anise, and puree your sundried tomatoes. You can even shop you veggies and store them in containers in the fridge. With this done, you can just build all the flavors in your skillet and enjoy the intoxicating aromas in your kitchen.

Fat is good in this. Water is not. Before filling your cheesecloth, use the skillet to cook out as much water as possible.

Xanthum gum does help the sausage to hold it’s shape so that you can slice into it. But to me, it adds a slightly gummy sticky texture which numbs the flavor. I prefer to leave out xanthum gum and crumble the sausage.

Enjoy!

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