A dish I’ll often order in Italian restaurants is pasta coated in a rich, meaty, fennel-seed studded sausage ragu, but at home, I generally try to cook without meat as much as possible. SO, I set out to see if it’s possible to recreate a good sausage ragu using vegetarian sausages. And the answer is yes it is.
The key is to find veggie/vegan sausages which mimic meat in their texture – in other words, soft and squishy enough to break up into ‘mincemeat’. I have specified this in the ingredients list too but I want to reiterate it here: DO NOT use a firm veggie sausage such as Linda Mcartney (no offence to Linda Mcartney veggie sausages – they definitely have their place!) For this recipe, you need soft sausages that you can squish into the pan and break up easily – I used Naked Glory vegan sausages, but Meatless Farm ones would work too.
First time I made this, it still lacked an umami depth that salty sausage meat usually provides, so I added a bit of marmite to rectify this and think it works nicely.
N.B – Sorry to be blasphemous to veggies out there but this is also very delicious as a non-veggie sausage ragu – just follow the recipe exactly but use pork sausages and omit the marmite!Continue reading