Best vegetarian sausage for a pescetarian, at-home clambake
July 28, 2014 3:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm having guests over for a clambake and, because of dietary restrictions, will have to use vegetarian sausage instead of linguica or chorizo. I need your help figuring out what brand of vegetarian sausage to use--something that the meat-eaters won't mind.

I've eaten and disliked the Lightlife 'Chorizo style' sausage, so I prefer not to use that. I have enjoyed the Soyrizo-brand sausage, but it doesn't stay in link form; it crumbles and falls apart, which is fine in a paella, but not really for a clambake. I've also tasted most of the Tofurky, Lightlife, and Morningstar Farms sausages.

Ideally, I'd love to hear from someone who has made a clambake with such a substitution before. Keep in mind that my goal is to make something where the presence of the vegetarian sausage won't be deleterious to the clambake in any way.
posted by yellowcandy to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Tofurky just came out with a chicken apple variety that is better than the others. It is not cloyingly sweet. There was also an andouille I hadn't tried.

Given a reasonable budget, I myself would go to Whole Foods and get one of each brand...make it a veggie sausage taste-off instead of the one best sausage. Lots of people do like them (maybe more than you might).
posted by 8603 at 3:09 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I suggest Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausages. They do crumble to some extent, but not nearly as much as soyrizo.
posted by saeculorum at 3:10 PM on July 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Field Roast sausages are awesome. Easily the best veg sausage out there!
posted by joan_holloway at 3:21 PM on July 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

Field Roast is good in the mouth but it really gives the burps something gross. Where are you located? Try a local brand that your Whole Foods carries. Upton's seitan is a popular one in the Midwest.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 3:39 PM on July 28, 2014

Best answer: I'm not a veg sausage eater, but I do have advice for that smokey savory flavor that comes from chorizo - pimenton - Spanish Smoked Paprika. I'd get best in class veg sausage and put a nice dose of pimenton in the dish.
posted by JPD at 3:46 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you should happen to want to go the homemade route, you can't go wrong with Isa Chandra Moskowitz:
posted by whistle pig at 3:50 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

As a pescetarian, I'd tell you that my preference would be for you to make one batch with real sausage and one with no sausage at all. Now that I don't eat pork or most other meats, the taste of them is sort of gross to me, and I prefer to just skip it. Plus, I absolutely hate being at gatherings where a dish has been altered for my benefit, and then all anyone wants to talk about at dinner is whether it's as good as it would have been if I weren't there. I hate that.

So that would be my preference, if I were attending.
posted by decathecting at 4:07 PM on July 28, 2014 [5 favorites]

I have to agree with decathecting. I don't eat meat, but fake "meat" made from soy also repulses me. Can you just make a version without sausage? Replace the flavor by adding some of the spices that sausage is made with. Maybe you can make a veg version with beans or something in it. Or just the same as the original minus the meat. Then instead of one big batch you just split it in half and make two smaller batches. I've never had clambake before so I can't offer anything specific.
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:36 PM on July 28, 2014

I have never eaten clambake but a quick Google seems to imply that you'll be boiling or perhaps steaming the sausages? And you need sausages with cases, like a kind you could throw on the grill? i am sorry for ignorance, i am vegetarian. But i did eat meat as a kid and have attempted cooking many kinds of veggie sausages many ways to replace meat in dishes.

I would recommend against boiling any sausage, my experiences with vegetarian sausages are that once cut and wet the flavor gets washed away (or once uncrumbled like soyrizo or lightlife sausage in a tube). I mean no matter what the substrate, either soy or seitan or processed into a paste potato and apple or TVP, it's just a layer for the spices to adhere to, it has little flavor on its own, and the spices are usually water soluble! If you want the texture of sausage, I would buy a selection (cause preference is so individual. I love several, but hate a few passionately; my fiance likes the one I hate the most; my sister hates one i am meh on, my coworker dislikes them all) then panfry whole in some oil, then slice. Or slice and then panfry for crunchier sausage slices. Or skip altogether!

If the intent of sausage in the clm bake is adding oil and fat into the steaming water to cook and flavor the shellfish, veggie sausage is not so great either, it has little fat that melts while hot, and little savory flavor to impart, unlike meat sausage. In this case I would prepare the sausage as above or skip it, and either way add some fat and spices to the steaming water.
posted by holyrood at 4:42 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah, the Field Roast sausages are my favorite of the fake meat ilk. (My least favorite of theirs is the Mexican Chipotle, but it make work for what you are doing.) I would pick up a few different flavors and see what you like. Costco is the cheapest place to buy them, you get a package that has all four flavors.
posted by nanook at 6:09 PM on July 28, 2014

Another vote for Tofurkey brand sausage. My husband is a big meat eater and likes their sausage (although I can't remember which kind(s).
posted by trillian at 6:14 PM on July 28, 2014

Response by poster: Hi all. Some helpful suggestions in here.

More information: I'm not worried about the pescetarian being turned off by vegetarian sausages. That's not an issue. He isn't. He also is one of the family, so altering the dishes for him is not a problem.

Also, two batches aren't possible.

Holyrood, I think you're partly right about water-soluble flavors from the sausage going into the other components, but oils don't move through the steam fraction of any solution at temperatures you can achieve in a kitchen, so I'm a little confused about what you're saying.

So far, it looks like I should try Field Roast, but the casing issue might be a problem.

I'd still love to hear more--especially if someone has done this substitution.
posted by yellowcandy at 9:28 AM on July 29, 2014

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