Do you know what I love even more than gluten free chickpea cutlets?
Gluten free mini meatballs.
Last year during the Vegan Month of Food, I shared my de-glutenized version of chickpea cutlets. This year, I bring you gluten free sausage. My friend Kathy has a killer ground sausage recipe in her first cookbook, and I’m doing my part to spread the word. My version’s made with pear butter and sage, kissed with the flavors of early autumn.
Pear sage sausage
Adapted from Kathy Hester’s The Vegan Slow Cooker
These work well as both patties and mini meatballs, so I’ve included shaping and baking instructions for both.
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 tablespoon vegan, chicken-flavored bouillon powder
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
3-4 tablespoons hot water
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
2 cups cooked brown rice, or grain pilaf that is at least 50% brown rice
3/4 cup pear butter (apple butter works well, too)
Preheat oven to 375 F / 190 C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the first eight ingredients (flax through salt) in a small bowl, whisk to combine and set aside. Do not add the water yet.
Combine the walnuts and cooked rice in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground, but not pureed. Transfer to a large bowl and add the pear butter, stirring to thoroughly incorporate it into the walnut mixture.
Add 3 tablespoons hot water to the dry ingredients and whisk or stir until everything is completely incorporated. The slurry should be a pudding consistency – add water 1 tablespoon at a time if your slurry is too thick. Add the slurry to the walnut mixture and stir until everything is completely mixed together.
Shaping into patties: You will want to wet your hands between patties to keep them from sticking, so keep a bowl of water nearby. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, place a walnut-sized dollop of the sausage mixture onto the parchment paper and flatten to 1/2-inch thickness. Space patties 1 inch apart.
Shaping into mini meatballs: A juvenile spoon or small dessert spoon work to get the desired amount, 1 teaspoon’s worth of the sausage mixture. I find it helpful to have a bit of water to dip my fingers into between meatballs. Scoop the sausage mixture and use your index finger and thumb to slide it onto the parchment and pinch it into shape. Space meatballs at least 1/2 inch apart.
Bake the patties for 20 minutes, flip, and then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until firm to the touch. Bake the meatballs for 7-10 minutes, until they are browned on the bottom. Flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let your patties or meatballs firm up while cooling on their baking sheet for a couple of minutes before serving.
When I know that I’ll be using some of the patties later and they’re headed for the refrigerator or freezer, I leave them in the oven to cool after I’ve turned it off. They end up a little bit firmer, and retain their shape perfectly when reheated (dry skillet, medium heat) or crumbled.
Yield: 12-16 patties, or many many mini meatballs