Looking for a quick hearty dinner that incorporates the veggie sausage? Need inspiration for what to do with a bunch of vegan sausages beyond a fry-up?! I feel you! But you've come to the right place because today we're making an exceptional, one pan vegan sausage casserole complete with orzo, butter beans and, of course, harissa.
Table of contents
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
It took me a while to warm to veggie sausages, maybe that's because when I first tried them, I was not contemplating giving up meat. Let's face it, as a carnivore a veggie sausage and meat sausage don't really compare taste-wise. However, now I'm on the journey towards eradicating meat from my diet, I'm learning to love them. Nowadays there's A LOT more variety in the sorts of meat-free sausages you can get your hands on, let's dive in.
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Picking Your Veggie Sausages
Before we dive into the recipe today, I wanted to give my opinion on various veggie sausages. That is not something I ever thought I'd be saying if you'd asked me this time a year ago! But, let me tell you there are some absolute bangers out there! See what I did there? Gosh, that was a good one!
I've tried this recipe with three different veggie sausage brands; the trusty Linda McCartney variety, Richmond's Veggie Sausage and then Cauldron's Lincolnshire Sausages. Before we dive in, none of these are affiliate links. These are just my honest opinions based on what I wanted from the sausage for this recipe.
Linda McCartney's frozen veggie sausages, divine! Honestly, totally divine. I find they're not great for cooking on the stovetop, awesome in the oven though! For me, they're my go-to veggie sausage for a fry-up or a sausage sarnie.
The Cauldron Lincolnshire sausages are actually mad tasty! There were two issues for me though, firstly, this is a vegan sausage casserole recipe, and these sausages, NOT VEGAN. They contain egg, which I discovered after my test run, which is fine for me, as someone on the road to veganism, not fully there just yet! My second issue was that they stuck to the bottom of the frying pan quite a lot. Now, I'm not saying that wasn't me not oiling the pan enough, or having it too hot, but it was something that didn't happen with the next sausage.
The winner is...
The best for this recipe was Richmond's! They come in a bigger packet, they fry better, they're vegan and didn't get stuck to the pan! That's not to say the others weren't delicious, and if you wanted to grill or oven cook another brand, then you could use them without really noticing a difference taste-wise. However, I was keen to make this a vegan one-pan recipe, so for me, it's the Richmond all the way!
Do you have a different preference? Or do you love a vegan sausage I haven't mentioned? Let me know in the comments below. I'm all down to stuff my face with extra sausages.
Ok, so we've got the sausages sorted, what else do we need? Well, I've become obsessed with orzo since I saw Nigella Lawson use it on her BBC One show, based on her book, Cook, Eat, Repeat. It's an awesome book, full of stories alongside recipes, which is exactly what we want from this culinary legend. Anyway, orzo - we're using delicious ricey pasta in this hearty midweek meal.
The bulk of the flavour comes from red onion, garlic, harissa paste, a sprinkling of cumin and a squirt of tomato puree. I love sundried tomato puree in this dish, but you can use whatever you have to hand. There's a splash of red wine vinegar too which I find brings everything together beautifully.
The sauce is made up of a combination of chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock. Finally, for extra goodness, we're throwing in a can of butter beans and a couple of large handfuls of kale. This is a dish packed with vitamins, nutrients and goodness. Gorgeous.
This veggie sausage casserole recipe is a straightforward, one pan, number. I'm consciously making an effort to create more recipes of this ilk, mainly because it saves arguments about the masses of washing up I create regularly. I'm still mastering "clean as you go you're an adult". One day, one day!
Start by cooking whichever sausages you chose, as per the packet instruction in a high-sided frying pan - this should take 7 - 10 minutes according to my research. Whilst the sausages are doing their thing, roughly chop one large red onion, and finely dice three cloves of garlic. Remove the cooked sausages from the pan and set aside.
Add half a tablespoon of oil to the pan, over medium heat, and add the red onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes until soft, fragrant, and the red onion edges are beginning to caramelise and char. Next, add the harissa, tomato puree, cumin and chilli powder, stir well and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Don't worry if there is a bit of sticking to the bottom of the pan, use a wooden spoon to detach, it's all adding to the flavour.
Now add the orzo, vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, red wine vinegar and a couple of handfuls of kale, stir well to combine, bring to a simmer and cover - cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Chop your cooked veggie sausages in half and add them back to the pan. Pop in the butter beans, season liberally with salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the beans are warmed through, and the orzo is just beyond al dente.
Scatter over some finely chopped parsley or leftover kale, and that's it, you're ready to serve a hearty midweek dinner! Easy, wasn't it?
There are plenty of things you could change up with this recipe next time you make it! Don't fancy sausages? Why not serve it up with some lentil meatballs. There's scope to add almost any vegetable you want too - mushrooms would be a great addition, as would red bell peppers. No kale? No problem - throw in a handful or two of spinach.
Want to go the sausage and mash route instead? Can't say I blame you! Ditch the orzo and 300ml of the vegetable stock and serve the whole lot on top of super creamy mash.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
This casserole keeps well in the fridge for 3 - 4 days. After cooking, allow the dish to come to room temperature before transferring to a container and popping in the fridge. Either reheat in the microwave for 3 minutes (stirring halfway) until warmed through, or transfer to a baking tray, cover with tin foil and heat for 10 minutes at 180 degrees, or until warm through.
I wouldn't recommend freezing this dish.
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Vegan Sausage Casserole
- 8 Vegan Sausages
- 1 large Red onion roughly diced
- 3 cloves of Garlic finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Harissa Paste
- 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
- ½ tbsp Ground Cumin
- ½ tsp Chilli Powder
- 500 ml Vegetable Stock
- 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
- 200 g Orzo
- 2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 tin Butter Beans
- 2 large handfuls of Kale approx 100 grams. Plus extra to garnish (optional)
- Cook veggie sausages in a high-sided frying pan, as per packet instructions (about 10 minutes). Once cooked, set aside. Frozen sausages may well take longer, and will probably need to go in the oven. In which case crack on with step 2 and add your sausages at step 4.
- Add a splash of oil to the frying pan, and cook onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the harissa paste, tomato puree, cumin and chilli powder and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add the orzo, vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, red wine vinegar and kale. Stir well to combine, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Cut the sausages in half, and add to the pan along with the drained can of butter beans. Season well with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes or until the beans are warmed through and the orzo is cooked just beyond al dente.
- Scatter over some freshly chopped parsleys, or finely chopped kale and serve immeidiately.