Vegetarian Little Smokies, or Something Along Those Lines
December 28, 2009 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Need suggestions for a vegetarian appetizer similar to Little Smokies- more details inside.

I am looking for a vegetarian appetizer equivalent to Little Smokies (tiny sausages swimming in BBQ sauce served from a Crock-Pot) to serve on New Year's Eve. We are doing a spread of snack foods. I would like to provide a protein-focused comfort-food-style appetizer.

We will have plenty of dip (including hummus, bean salsa, and probably something with avocado) with chips and vegetables, cheese, crackers, cookies & sugary foods, and carbohydrates in general. The food will sit out for a few hours around midnight, so it shouldn't need a lot of last-minute preparation or heating other than a Crock-Pot (if necessary). This is a group of Midwesterners who would not be up for something terribly fancy. I would really like to do vegetarian Little Smokies, or something along those lines. A heavy, junky, salty/savory vegetarian snack with protein as a main component.

I am a marginal but determined vegetarian (formerly vegan) cook and I can obtain a few specialty vegetarian items, but not many (I live in a Midwestern college town). Tofu, seitan, gluten are all welcome as I love that stuff.

Suggestions, please! And any idea of how to make vegetarian Little Smokies would be great. (I'm not sure that cut-up vegetarian hot dogs would last for long soaked in BBQ sauce. But if you've done it, please let me know.)
posted by aabbbiee to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Are you looking for finger food only, or would baked beans work?
posted by TooFewShoes at 2:01 PM on December 28, 2009

Tofu in a tangy, vinegary bbq sauce is great--use firm because you want it to sit in the bbq sauce (the longer it sits, the yummier it is!). Just squeeze out extra moisture for a little while using paper towels and a weight, cube it, and toss it in the sauce. You could also fry up tofu (coated in corn starch or not depending on your preference) and make your standard spicy peanut sauce as a dipping sauce for it.
posted by Kimberly at 2:08 PM on December 28, 2009

Vegetarian sausages work great in Crock-Pot cooking, in my experience. Tofu Pups and Soyrizo are two brands that seem to hold together well.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:09 PM on December 28, 2009

cook a veggie meat (i like something like quorn bare cutlets because they soak up more juices and the texture holds together when slow cooked) in baked beans on the crock pot. add a brisket sauce (you find them around the bbq and the marinades - they're usually vegetarian, but read the ingredients) and a spicy bbq. i use gold buckle brisket sauce and stubbs bbq. if your friends like spice, add cracked black pepper and a dash of chipotle
posted by nadawi at 2:13 PM on December 28, 2009

Response by poster: We'll have plates and forks and places to sit, so foods don't have to be entirely eaten with fingers. But we'll have already eaten dinner and this is just a snack.

Keep them coming!
posted by aabbbiee at 2:33 PM on December 28, 2009

this could be a really good job for seitan as long as wheat gluten isn't a problem.

i've never considered soyrizo as something that holds its shape. tofu pups and morning star hotdogs are ok, but they are very much like bargin basement/food stamp hot dogs. morning star sausage links could be good if you cut them into thirds, but they're trying to replicate breakfast style breakfast links so the outside is a little rubbery and doesn't suck up seasoning well.
posted by nadawi at 2:48 PM on December 28, 2009

here are prepackaged vegan cocktail wieners. per the blog post, she found them at a vietnamese store.
posted by nadawi at 2:52 PM on December 28, 2009

Why use fake meat when you can use real fake meat? I refer, of course, to mushrooms. Delicious, delicious mushrooms are meaty and firm and carry flavor well. I recommend this recipe without bacon or with fake bacon if you'd prefer. Portobello chunks would work, as would shiitakes. Warm, hearty, and familiar, but meatless and yet meat eaters would probably be happy to help eat this where they might be wary of meat substitutes, if you're worried about that sort of thing.
posted by Night_owl at 2:57 PM on December 28, 2009

I make the traditional "white trash meatballs" (terrible name, I know...I need to think of something better) with veggie "meat"balls and they are always a huge hit.

Use 2 or 3 bags of veg-meatballs, one bottle of BBQ sauce (make sure the BBQ sauce is veggie) and a jar of grape jelly. Brown the veggie balls in a skillet, then mix it all up and let it sit in the crackpot for a few hours. Serve with those frilly toothpicks.
posted by JoanArkham at 2:57 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Why not get some vegetarian hot dogs (should be available almost anywhere), cut them into little 1" slices, then simmer them in BBQ sauce? Easy, quick, serve with toothpicks.
posted by amtho at 3:03 PM on December 28, 2009

This properly prepared (I'd up the spicy factor a bit and replace 1/2 a Tablespoon of Worcestershire with liquid smoke) would make awesome home-made little smoky replacements.
posted by togdon at 3:04 PM on December 28, 2009

Also: I found this "Easy Vegan Holiday Party" menu that you might find interesting. It includes recipes, plus three from-the-freezer-section treats.
posted by amtho at 3:07 PM on December 28, 2009

I'd buy some baked tofu and slice it into little sticks. The vegie meatballs is also a good idea and Trader Joe's has some excellent meatless meatballs.
posted by chairface at 3:40 PM on December 28, 2009

If you decide to go the tofu route, freezing it and then thawing it out will give it a firmer/spongy texture. The spongy texture will aid the tofu in soaking up more of the BBQ sauce, delicious. If you're looking for an amazing BBQ sauce, I recommend anything from Annie's Naturals. I've had the original, sweet & spicy and the hot chipotle flavors and they're all really, really good. I think my favorite of the three is the sweet & spicy. I buy mine at Wholefoods but I'm sure you could find it at most stores in the natural foods section.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:15 PM on December 28, 2009

I came in here to suggest veggie meatballs prepared with JoanArkham's "white trash meatballs" recipe... which around my family is simply known as my mother's go-to meatball recipe for parties. I'll have to let her know about the alternate name :). Her recipe uses chili sauce instead of barbecue sauce, though.
posted by MadamM at 5:06 PM on December 28, 2009

I've never made crock pot smokies, but along similar lines I've had good results with vegetarian "pigs in blankets," using the same Pillsbury crescent roll recipe (on the can) and simply substituting sections of meatless hotdog. (Another midwesterner-friendly junkfood option you may want to consider is the Morningstar Farms hotwings served with hot wing sauce, celery, etc..)
posted by applemeat at 5:14 PM on December 28, 2009

For New Year's, I'm making pigs-in-a-blanket, like applemeat suggested (a sheet of puff pastry, cut into 12 squares and then each square cut into two triang'les + a package of 8 veggie dogs cut into thirds = 24 piggies).

I'm also making toasted ravioli. Nobody doesn't like toasted ravioli. If you can get the giant ones from Costco or Sams it really helps. Cook ravioli according to package directions. For one pound, make bread crumbs from about 3 slices of bread, coat wet ravioli in the crumbs (re-wet them if they get too dry) and place on an oiled baking sheet. Spray tops with more oil. Bake at 450 F for 5 minutes or until crumbs toast. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
posted by zinfandel at 5:27 PM on December 28, 2009 [3 favorites]

amtho suggested vegetarian hotdogs cut into slices as substitutes. I definitely agree- but fry them up a little before you put them in! I like to fry them, already cut up, in a saucepan with a little oil (drain the oil before you cut them up) gives them more of the bite of the little smokies.

Also, the Tofurky brand (at least, I think they're Tofurky brand) sausages- they have a whole bunch of different kinds- are really good, I imagine they would work well in something like this.
posted by kro at 7:07 PM on December 28, 2009

Another possibility, if you have Asian grocery stores is fried tofu with peanut sauce. Yes, you can fry tofu at home, but it would probably be easier to get a bunch of already-fried tofu from the Asian grocery and either make your own peanut sauce or buy some. I find this works even cold. But I can literally eat a pound of deep-fried tofu. In like ten minutes.

But the fake-meat suggestions in general are great. "Fieldroast" brand fake meat is also very good and I think the texture is more meat-like than tofurky even. Slicing up a pile of their sausages into disks and putting it in some kind of BBQ sauce might be very similar!
posted by R343L at 7:48 PM on December 28, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions! I love a lot of these ideas!
posted by aabbbiee at 6:46 AM on December 29, 2009

I would weight the tofu, then slice it into dominoes and sautee it in something tangy (hoisin sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes). You could serve it with crackers and cheese on a little tray.

Soyrizo is the most delicious of all rizos, but I agree, it kind of loses its shape. Maybe you could make dumplings or something with it.
posted by dervish at 10:05 AM on December 29, 2009

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