Going vegan does not mean having to give up on sausage. Vegan sausage is delicious, satisfying, and widely available. Unlike meat-based sausage, these products are free of animal cruelty, nitrates, and large amounts of saturated fat. But you won’t miss out on the familiar flavors and textures. Vegan sausages provide all the satisfaction that’s unique to heavier protein-rich foods.
Since processed meats like sausage are strongly associated with increased risk of cancer, vegan alternatives offer a fantastic alternative for vegans and meat lovers alike.
Next to veggie burgers, sausages are probably the most popular kind of vegan meat. Just as meat-based sausages come in an endless variety of forms, you can find vegan versions of all the most popular varieties. As with meat-based sausages, textures and spices vary dramatically from one vegan product to the next.
Types of Sausages
Meat-based or vegan, sausages take four forms:
- Links. Most of the time they’re in an edible casing—a hot dog is the classic example. These sorts of sausages are commonly called links, since they commonly came in a chain with knots in the casing dividing one sausage from the next.
- Breakfast-style sausage. These are small patties that are fried up on each side, usually served with potatoes, pancakes, or eggs.
- Loose sausage. Some sausage comes in inedible casing. Prior to cooking, you squirt this sausage into dollops by squeezing its plastic casing. This sausage style is commonly used as a pizza topping. Mexican chorizo is another popular—and exceedingly spicy—variety of this kind of sausage. Many natural food stores sell vegan chorizo.
- Pepperoni. One of the most popular pizza toppings, this is made from spicy link-style sausage that’s thinly sliced across its width into circles. Field Roast and Yves make vegan pepperoni.
All three of these types of sausage are easy to find. A good natural foods store will offer at least a dozen different types of vegan sausage. You can usually find vegan link-style hot dogs and sausages in the refrigerated section. And breakfast-style sausage patties are typically kept in the frozen foods aisle.
Vegan Sausage Brands
Here are some top brands that are widely available in North America:
- Abbot’s: Spanish Smoked “Chorizo”
- Beyond Meat: Beyond Sausage (three varieties)
- BirdsEye: Green Cuisine Meat-Free Sausages (UK only)
- Field Roast: Sausages (five varieties)
- Frieda’s: Soyrizo (Also sold by Trader Joe’s, branded as, “Soy Chorizo”)
- Impossible Foods: Impossible Sausage
- Lightlife: Gimme Lean Sausage
- Meatless Farm: Breakfast Sausages & Sausage Patties
- Pure Farmland: Breakfast Patties
- Tofurky: (five varieties)
You may also be able to find locally-made offerings, thanks to the fact that vegan butcher shops are cropping up in cities all over the world. Every self-respecting vegan butcher sells sausage.
Little Caesar’s sells a Planteroni pizza topped with Field Roast vegan pepperoni. Unfortunately, there is no vegan cheese option and their online ordering doesn’t currently allow you to leave off the cheese. So call your local Little Caesar’s by phone to order it without cheese.
Vegan Sausage Recipes
You can easily make a totally plant-based sausage from scratch that delivers meaty, spicy flavors. You’ll find tons of terrific recipes on the web. Here are a few of the best:
- Karissa’s Baked Breakfast Sausage Patties
- Beyond Meat’s Beefy Lentil Breakfast Sausage
- Seitan Based Breakfast Sausages
- Walnut/Mushroom/Miso Easy Sausages
These sorts of recipes lend themselves well to experimentation, so dial up the spices if that’s your thing. Also experiment with various cooking methods from pan-frying to steaming to oven-roasting. Serve them alongside pancakes or hash-browns, or slice them up and add to your favorite tofu scramble recipe.
Sausages are of course only the start of your meaty vegan options. Visit our vegan meats page for additional ideas.
For further reading: please check out our vegan protein guide and our page on vegan alternatives to animal-based foods.