With the ambition to eat less meat, comes the quest to find meatlike meatless alternatives to things you really enjoy! Today that quest takes us into the territory of Vegan Chorizo. This spicy, smokey, meatless, seitan chorizo sausage is super easy to make and contains all the spices required to get as close to authentic chorizo as we possibly can.
I think I've said this before, but I'm not a vegan, YET. I do, however, love experimenting and eating vegan. We are actively trying to eat less meat, to achieve that we need to find, or create, tasty meat alternatives, right? I've searched many recipes, and I couldn't find one that was chorizo-y enough, so I decided to go about crafting my own. These seitan chorizo sausages are not the most attractive, but they ARE the tastiest.
The thing about meat substitutes is they are sometimes a little bit bland. I love that challenge, and who knows throughout this blogging journey maybe we'll find that end up a full-time vegan, wouldn't that be fun, eh?
What's in the chorizo spice mix?
The short answer is, alot. For this part of the recipe, I took heavy inspiration from Laurie over at Simply Scratch, with just a couple of substitutions. I switched in smoked paprika because what's chorizo without that smokiness? The addition of toasted, ground fennel seeds into the mix is an absolute winner. We're not adding those guys into the initial spice mix though, more on that later. Oh, I also ditched the bay leaf from Laurie's mix, soz Laurie.
So the mix is:
- Two tablespoons of chilli powder - I've tried variations with both ancho chile powder and hot cayenne chilli powder, it really depends on the spice level you're after.
- One tablespoon of smoked paprika
- A teaspoon each of salt, garlic powder, onion powder and ground cumin
- Half a teaspoon each of ground black pepper, dried oregano and dried thyme
- A quarter teaspoon each of coriander and ground cloves
- ⅛ of a teaspoon ground cinnamon
The remaining ingredients for this spicy seitan chorizo are:
- Half a tablespoon of fennel seeds
- Three tablespoons of oil - ideally cold-pressed rapeseed oil, but sunflower, vegetable or olive oil will work.
- One medium onion
- 6, yes SIX, cloves of garlic
- Two tablespoons of tomato puree (or tomato paste, depending on where you're reading)
- Four tablespoons of soya mince (aka textured vegetable protein or TVP)
- 4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of water
- Half a tablespoon of liquid smoke - this is optional, but I highly recommend using it
- 120 grams of vital wheat gluten - plus a little extra for dusting and kneading
How to make vegan chorizo
This vegan chorizo recipe is made using wheat gluten, which itself makes seitan. If you want to learn a little bit more about seitan and vital wheat gluten head on over to my Easy Seitan Roast recipe.
The main thing to remember when making seitan is you need to load the dough with flavour. Every time I'm making it, or developing a recipe I think I've put in too many spices or too much of a particular ingredient and that is seldom the case. This recipe has nearly 7 tablespoons worth of herbs and spices, that seems a lot, right? Alas, it's near perfection if I may say so myself.
Making Vegan Chorizo Sausage step by step
- Start by toasting half a tablespoon of fennel seeds in a frying pan over medium heat - until their aniseed fragrance fills the air. This will only take two or three minutes.
- Transfer the toasted seeds to a mortar, and grind the seeds, patiently, into a powder.
- Finely chop one medium-sized onion and six cloves of garlic. I give mine an extra blitz in a food processor to make sure they are super, super finely chopped. Add two tablespoons of rapeseed oil (or other flavourless oil) to a frying pan and cook over medium-low heat for 8 - 10 minutes until super soft, fragrant and almost paste-like in appearance.
- Whilst the onions and garlic are doing their thing, combine all ingredients for the chorizo spice mix into a large mixing bowl.
- Next, add two tablespoons of tomato puree and the ground fennel seeds to the onion, garlic mixture and cook a further minute before removing from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then add to the spice mixture.
- Add four tablespoons of each soy mince and white wine vinegar to the spice mix along with three tablespoons of cold water, one tablespoon of rapeseed oil and half a tablespoon of liquid smoke. Stir thoroughly to combine.
- Gradually add 120g of Vital Wheat Gluten, mixing to combine as you go. You will end up with a dough.
- After the flour is incorporated, sprinkle a little extra on the side, and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Don't worry about any little bits that escape during the kneading process. This is perfectly normal.
- Divide your dough into four equal portions, roll each into the shape of a sausage and wrap TIGHTLY in tin foil, twisting each end tight.
Shape the sausages into a sausage-ish shape and then use the rolling in tin foil part to properly shape, but rolling really tightly, and then twisting the ends to apply pressure.
Cooking spicy seitan chorizo
You have two options here, both are good for different uses. You can either steam or bake your chorizo.
To Steam: Get a pan of water onto boil, place the chorizo sausages in a steamer basket on top, and steam for 40 minutes, turning the sausages halfway through. If you don't have a steamer basket you can use a colander or sieve on top of a pan, make sure the little chorizos aren't touching the water.
To Bake: Preheat you oven to 175 Celsius (that's 350 Fahrenheit), place the sausages on a baking tray, and cook for one hour, turning half way through.
Either way, leave the vegan chorizo sausages to completely cool before unwrapping from their tin foil cocoons.
Steaming your chorizo leads to a softer, chewier texture and is perfect if you're planning on cooking it again in something like a pasta dish, or as part of a tofu scramble for example. Baking it leads to a much firmer texture and is best suited for eating cold, as part of a charcuterie platter or a super tasty, sandwich.
How to use plant based chorizo
Seitan Chorizo is perfect in a tofu scramble, on top of a pizza or cold as part of a vegan charcuterie platter.
You can also use it in a vegan chilli or lasagne to a touch of smoky, spice.
More Seitan & Vegan Recipes
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Have a tasty day.
Homemade Vegan Chorizo.
- ½ tbsp fennel seeds
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil sunflower, vegetable or olive oil will also be OK.
- 1 medium onion
- 6 cloves of cloves
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 tbsp soy mince
- 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp cold water
- ½ tbsp liquid smoke optional but recommended
- 120 g vital wheat gluten
Chorizo Spice Mix
- 2 tbsp chile powder heat level is up to you, I'd recommend hot.
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp ground clove
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- Toast fennel seeds over medium heat in a dry frying pan until fragrant, 2 - 3 minutes. Grind to powder using a pestle and mortar. Set aside.
- Heat two tablespoons of oil to the frying pan over medium heat. Add very finely chopped onion and garlic* to the pan, and cook until super soft - almost paste like consistency. This will take about 10 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and ground fennel seeds to the pan and cook for further 90 seconds.
- Combine all spices for the spice mix in a large mixing bowl. Add onion and garlic mixture to the bowl along with the water, oil, vinegar, soya mince and liquid smoke. Mix well to combine.
- Add Vital Wheat Gluten to the mix, stir to combine with a spatula. Lightly flour your work surface with Vital Wheat Gluten, once combined, kneed the dough mixture for 5 Minutes.
- Divide the dough into four even-sized pieces. Roll each into the shape of a sausage. Wrap each sausage, tightly in tin foil, twisting each end tightly.
- Set a colander, steamer basket or sieve over a pan of boiling water: add the foil wrapped sausages to the steamer and steam for 40 mintes, turning half way through.
- Allow sausages to cool completely before unwrapping.°
- After finely chopping my onions and garlic I give them a quick blitz in a food processor to make sure they are super fine. This helps them to incorporate into the dough better when kneading.
- Vegan Chorizo Sausages will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
- If you prefer, you can bake your seitan chorizo - preheat your oven to 175 Celsius and bake for one hour, turning half way. Allow your sausages to cool completely before unwrapping.