About a year ago, I thought I found the perfect non-meat substitute for Italian sausage. Field Roast. They were the perfect substitute, until I realized gluten was doing a serious number on my insides. They are full of protein and most importantly, have a short, non-processed ingredient list. Oh, and they taste pretty amazing too.
It’s not that I miss the actual meat part of the sausage, it’s the flavor. I just love the flavor of Italian sausage.
This recipe has been in the back of my head for quite some time. I figured it would serve quite well as an alternative protein for Thanksgiving dinner. Or really any dinner.
While this may not be the most photogenic dish, don’t let that fool you. The taste is where it’s at. If you don’t want to serve it up in a large bowl, you could always mix it in with a batch of herb baked stuffing.
I attempted this a few times, and finally found the secret ingredient is red wine. Thanks to the ingredient list for Field Roast sausages, for clueing me in.Field Roast ingredient list for clueing me in. For some reason the wine really brought all of the flavors together, without giving it a wine-y taste.
There are a few tips when making this dish.
- You want to crumble the tofu into large pieces and not break it apart too much in the pan. I got a little stir happy, and broke this apart too much.
- Spreading on a baking sheet, and broiling, after cooking in the pan. This will brown the tofu and draw out some of the moisture.
- You can also cube the tofu into bite sized pieces [after pressing the liquid out], broil the pieces until crispy and then incorporate it into the pan mixture. The tofu won’t absorb quite as much of the flavor, but if you like your tofu crisp, this is the way to go.
- If you’re not into soy, this works with beans as well. I would recommend a nice sturdy bean, like chickpeas. I tried it with white beans, and while it tasted great, the beans fell apart too much.
- We try to keep our soy consumption fairly low over here, at about 1-2 meals per week. When we do consume soy, we either eat fermented organic tempeh or organic sprouted tofu. I’ve found that the only tofu my stomach is okay with is the sprouted variety.
Italian Tofu Sausage
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1 med onion [1 1/3c], diced
- 1 med red bell pepper [1 1/3c], diced
- 2T sunflower oil
- 1/4c red wine
- 2-3t garlic, minced
- 1.5t whole fennel seeds
- 1t dried oregano, sage, basil
- 1/4t smoked paprika [or 1/4t liquid smoke]
- 3/4t salt
- black pepper
- sage, chopped [to top]
- Cut tofu into 8 even slices, and lay flat on a doubled over kitchen towel. Lay another towel [doubled over] on top, place a cutting board over that, then place a few heavy books on top. Press for 20min.
- While pressing, prep the veggies + garlic.
- In a large pan over medium heat, add 1T oil.
- Add the onion + bell pepper and cook for about 5min, stirring frequently until softened.
- Crumble the pressed tofu into the pan and cook for another 2-3min, stirring gently, trying to not break up the tofu too much.
- Add the other 1T of oil to the pan, then add the garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, sage, basil, smoked paprika, salt + pepper.
- Cook for 2-3min, stirring gently.
- Slowly pour in the red wine, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan and cook for another 2-3min.
- Preheat your oven to broil + spread the mixture evenly onto a large baking sheet.
- Broil on the top rack until lightly browned, stirring once. ~8-12min *Time can vary depending on your broiler. Keep a close eye on the tofu so it does not burn.
- Add more salt + pepper to your liking and top with fresh chopped sage if desired.
Serving suggestions? Here are a few:
- mixed in with stuffing [like traditional sausage stuffing]
- pizza topping
- wrapped in a tortilla with marinara + cheese
- eaten as is
If you’re more the breakfast sausage flavor type of person, I’m sure an apple + sage version would be quite delicious as well.
It’s like a marathon of food over here. And I’m loving it.
Tomorrow: sweet potatoes two ways!