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How to Make Homemade Spicy Italian Sausage (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

These sausages are firm enough to hold up on the grill. When you cook them, they are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside but not mushy, and filled with spicy, Italian flavor. Using black-eyed peas instead of pintos removed the “beany” taste and provided a neutral background for the spices to shine through.

The same recipe can be used with different spice mixes to make breakfast sausages, chorizo sausages, or apple sage sausages. They can be sliced up to use in other recipes or eaten whole on a hero with sauteed peppers and onions. You can shape them into links or patties.

How to Make Homemade Spicy Italian Sausage (Vegan, Soy-Free and Gluten-Free)

This Recipe is :

Dairy FreeVegan


For the Spice Mix

  • 1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. fennel, crushed
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
For the Sausage 
  • 2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups cooked or 1-15 oz. can of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbs. sun-dried tomato paste
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 3 Tbs. of gluten-free, vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • A few drops of Liquid Smoke (optional)


  1. Prepare spice mix in advance. Set aside.
  2. Heat a skillet with 2 tsp. of olive oil. Sauté the onions, mushrooms and garlic until softened. Set aside and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, add the black-eyed peas and mash them up. You can use a fork, a potato masher or just get your hands in there. If you want to use a food processor, do a rough chop. You don’t want a puree. Then add the tomato paste, nutritional yeast, spice mix and brown rice flour. Mix well.
  4. Sprinkle the xanthan gum over the mixture and incorporate it well.
  5. Add the cooled veggie mixture to the bowl and mix it into the dry ingredients. Add the Worcestershire sauce to the bowl and mix it all up well. If you are using the Liquid Smoke, add it in now too.
  6. Divide the mixture into 4 parts. Shape each part into a log. Wrap the logs individually in foil and steam them for 15-20 minutes. I use a metal steamer that sits atop a large stockpot of boiling water. Let them cool. Then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, if possible. This will help them firm up even more.
  7. When ready to use, unwrap and cook them however you desire. We cooked them on a grill pan and topped them with mustard and sautéed bell peppers and onions. Yum!


Beans / LegumesMushroomPlant-based Meat




When Rhea became vegan, there were no places in her neighborhood to eat so she had to learn to cook.  That led to the creation of The "V" Word blog which focuses on vegan versions of favorite, familiar foods. Because if you can have the foods you love, the foods you crave, the foods you grew up with, all in a compassionate, cruelty-free way, why wouldn't you?  Rhea is also a college professor specializing in child and forensic psychology. She shares her life with a rescued Westie mix named Benoni and a rescued husband named Tom. It is Rhea's hope that she can spread the "V" Word and compassion to improve the world.



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51 comments on “How to Make Homemade Spicy Italian Sausage (Vegan and Gluten-Free)”

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S Rai
2 Months Ago

Made these a couple days ago. Nice flavor, but lacking in texture IMO. I added cooked brown and wild rices.

I was curious whether the steaming made a difference. I took enough for 2 small patties out before steaming and pan fried. This was very sticky and difficult to manage than after steaming, but still tasty. I made several sausage rolls in parchment and foil to steam. I tried another 2 patties after steaming, still mushy, but much easier to manage (not as sticky). Lastly I let the rolls set in the fridge overnight. This was the best, but still mushy inside. I was hoping for a little more chew to it. Still it is a great recipe and will likely make again with some adjustments.

2 Months Ago

Very good and easy to make! They are great with bbq sauce. (I used chia seeds instead of the xanthan gum and they stayed together perfectly.)

3 Months Ago

These tastes amazing! I make them without steaming and overnight refrigeration. I also use agar agar instead of xanthan gum. Not even sure I will continue using agar agar- I don\'t think it\'s needed.

04 Jan 2015

How much agar agar did you use and how did you incorporate it into the mixture?

5 Months Ago

Must it be rice flour or can I use regular whole wheat flour, or even white (this is what I have on hand).

30 Nov 2014

The only difference will be that it won\'t be gluten free

8 Months Ago

can I steam these in grape leaves rather than foil? - don\'t like that possibility of aluminum getting in the food.. or- what other suggestion could I try?
Thank you....

03 Oct 2014

You can for sure wrap them in plastic wrap instead of foil. That is what I used for sausage or roulade when in the restaurant business.

18 Dec 2014

Why not the Grape leaves? I feel the plastic wrap isn\'t safe either, and being a Cancer survivor in remission, I\'m wary of these man made tinfoils, and plastic products...

03 Jan 2015

In Hawaiian cuisine things are often steamed in banana or taro leaves, and greek cuisine cooks in grape leaves, so I think all those would be possibilities for those who don\'t want to use foil or plastic wrap.

Derek Anthony McDow
9 Months Ago

I've made these more times than I can remember and they are extraordinary every time! (Y)

22 Jul 2014

I must have done something wrong - the taste was amazing and they crisped up on the outside but the texture was like mashed potatoes on the inside. What is the texture when you make them?

Jennifer Huang
9 Months Ago

Daniel Thompson

Monica Guerra
9 Months Ago

This looks so good and it sounds pretty easy to make. Thank you!

Valerie Mitchell
9 Months Ago

I agree Michele. If there was an alternative to using tin foil I might try this. Also wondering why the need for xanthan.

02 Jul 2014

I\'m using agar agar which is an algae binding agent, since I don\'t use xanthan.

Ann Engel
21 Sep 2014

Xanthan helps bind it together. You could use guar gum or pysllium powder, both add a stickiness to the mix that helps hold it together. The new gluten free baking book from America\'s Test Kitchen lists all three as alternatives.

27 Jan 2015

Try a product called konjac, it\'s amazing, google it! Very cool stuff, it\'s a natural powder made from a plant root that is super absorbent and high in fiber and health properties, with zero calories! I love it and have been having a ball experimenting with it. I got the best price from Nuts.com but you can look around. I was thinking you could probably get the mix firm enough with the konjac to shape the mix into the sausage and just steam it! Alternately, I was thinking maybe wrapping it in rice paper and steaming? I don\'t know how well the rice paper would hold up to steaming but I may have to try because it could look like a real casing! It would get really crispy if you wanted to fry it too.

Mary Clare
9 Months Ago

I'm going to try this


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