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Homemade Spicy Italian Sausage [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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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)




For the Spice Mix:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice

For the Sausage:

  • 2 teaspoon + 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups cooked or 1-15 ounce can of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3 tablespoons 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 teaspoons 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!





When Rhea became vegan, there were no places in her Bronx neighborhood to eat so she had to learn to cook, mostly by watching TV cooking shows, especially Christina Pirello and Rachael Ray.  That led to the creation of The "V" Word website which focuses on vegan versions of favorite, familiar foods. Rhea has written several e-cookbooks which are available on her web site. It is Rhea's hope that she can spread the "V" Word to bring more compassion into the world and it is her dream to become the vegan Rachael Ray.



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51 comments on “Homemade Spicy Italian Sausage [Vegan, Gluten-Free]”

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1 Years Ago

These are really amazing! I\'ve made them twice - the first time using canned white beans (couldn\'t find black eyed peas) and they were too mushy inside. But the flavor was outstanding, so I really wanted have a go at them again.

The second time I used dry black eyed peas that I soaked overnight and then cooked to fork tender. Defnitely don\'t overprocess either the beans or the mushroom/onion mixture to get a better texture. I also had to sub lentil flour as I was out of brown rice flour, and used Bragg\'s liquid aminos instead of Worcestershire. I steamed them in foil for almost 45 minutes to get a firmer texture, and also made them a lot smaller (more like the size of a Boca breakfast sausage). In the fridge overnight, and then fried up like any other sausage in the cast iron skillet in the morning and OMG! So, so delicious! Thank you for posting this recipe, highly recommended.

1 Years Ago

Nice recipe, thank you! Except Worcestershire sauce is made with anchovies...

09 Dec 2016

It is possible to get a vegan worchestshire sauce. We can now get one in our local supermarket and we are just a small country town. :)

2 Years Ago

These look similar to the Vegusto ones https://vegusto.co.uk/sausages-burgers

3 Years Ago

I made these with Vital Wheat Gluten, instead they came out fabulous. Everything else I did exactly like the recipe.I thought the texture was very good and my carnivore friends gobbled them down with smiles. I\'ll never buy those nasty ones in the supermarket again.
Thanks for posting this

S Rai
3 Years 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.

3 Years 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.)

17 Jul 2017

when you use the chia seeds do you soak them, and use seeds and liquid or just the liquid. for these sasages. and what is wrong with xanthan gum?
Thank you for you response.

06 Sep 2018

Xanthum Gum these days is most likely made from GMO Corn and is toxic to the gut. Guar gum, chia seeds, ground flax seeds etc. can serve the same purpose

3 Years 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?

4 Years 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

4 Years 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.

Annette Sonnenberg
03 May 2015

Don\'t use plastic wrap, it\'s not meant to be heated. use parchment paper inside the foil.

03 Jan 2017

Grape leaves would be a great way to steam the sausages. They would also lend a wonderful flavor to them.

Derek Anthony McDow
4 Years 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?

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