A rich and smoky vegan sausage casserole full of roasted vegetables. This comes together in under an hour in the oven for a relatively hands-off dinner that the whole family will love. It’s easy to veganise this British classic when so many delicious meatless sausages are available, and I’ll show you how to add a little bit of richness in to make up for the lower fat content.
So this is the 260th post on this blog, and the first time I’ve used a so-called “faux meat” as an ingredient. I always said my recipes would avoid using these products, so what’s changed?
Well, I’d say A LOT has changed since 2011 when I first started posting recipes on the internet. More and more people are reducing their meat intake, and at this point I just see veggie sausages as a normal, staple British supermarket ingredient. NOT a weird meat replacer.
I think we all do, right? Most of my non-vegetarian friends eat veggie sausages as well as or instead of meat ones. The current offerings taste so delicious they’re not just for vegetarians who need a straight substitute for meat, they really are for everyone.
So these days it feels appropriate for me talk about how to make sausage casserole with vegan sausages. Now let’s do that!
Why do you even need a recipe for a vegan version?
Of course you can replicate a meaty sausage casserole recipe just by swapping in vegan sausages. So why do we need this recipe?
Well, in a meaty sausage casserole you’d have all the fat of your sausages adding extra flavour and richness into the casserole. Vegan sausages are drier and not fatty. A straight swap for vegan sausages would be fine, but I like to overcompensate for the loss of any flavour source.
First, roasting the vegetables! We get more depth of flavour overall this way, and the tasty olive oil they roast in stays in the casserole too.
Second, add lots of umami packed ingredients such as red wine, smoked paprika, and lots of garlic (including roasted garlic) and thyme. These add deep, savoury tones very quickly and easily.
The Best Vegan Sausages for your casserole
Despite how mainsteam meatless sausages have become, many of them contain egg so are only suitable for vegetarians. Fully vegan sausages without egg can be a little more elusive.
Both Cauldron and Linda McCartney (pictured) do offer purely vegan sausages as part of their ranges, but you need to check the individual product before buying. And lots of new brands are popping up all the time with their vegan sausage offerings – tell me in the comments if you have a fave!
You want something traditional style and not a jazzed up flavoured version. You ideally want something that’s not too bready, soft or delicate but if we’re honest, the vegan versions are often a little on the delicate side. It’s OK – this recipe compensates for that by frying or roasting them in a good amount of oil, by adding them at the end, and by keeping them whole in the casserole instead of chopping and submerging pieces.
You can of course make your own vegan sausages from seitan! Seitan holds up really well in sauces.
If you’re vegetarian rather than vegan, you’ve got a few more options such as Quorn sausages which are, to be fair, more robust than the vegan versions tend to be.
This is hands off and can be made entirely in the oven
I seriously love recipes that only use the oven. It really suits how I like to cook – stress free, lots of dead time. It can take longer, but ultimately it’s more hands off and more forgiving. In the case of this recipe, it frees you up to make mashed potato or rice, set the table, and whatever else you need to do in the run up to dinner.
The casserole is in the oven for around 45 minutes and you go in every 15 minutes to add extra ingredients. In the last part, you put your sausages in the oven so they can cook alongside.
The timings are flexible. You may want to roast your veg for a shorter or longer time, or your sausages may need longer if cooking from frozen; none of it matters too much.
Customisations and How to Serve
You can of course change up the veg here. I personally don’t love carrots, even though I know they’re a classic sausage casserole ingredient! I just prefer the softer, more melty vegetables in this. You may also want to add some greens – you could stir some spinach or kale in when you add the wine and tomatoes.
A lot of sausage casseroles contain beans. You can certainly add a can of beans here, but you may also want to add some extra tomatoes in that case. And if you’re adding extra tomatoes, I’d also double the wine, smoked paprika and garlic.
What to serve with? For me, it’s gotta be mashed potatoes. But there’s no denying that a loaf of fresh bread or a quick pan of white rice (especially if you have a rice cooker) would be an easier route to dinnertime, and these are also delicious options.