Vegan Italian Sausage !?

     Vegan Italian Sausage, calls to mind not much pleasant, I think. But, in desperation, that is what I had for lunch today. I had no time to cook last evening, so I had to scramble to get lunch ready before work. I think scrambled - as in eggs - may have been a better choice. It should be said that I am not a vegetarian, and I don't think I could do that all the time. I like my chicken too much. Beef and fish I could do without. Chicken, shrimp, and the occasional crab legs and scallops not so much. My youngest son, however, is a vegetarian. I know there are ways to get complete proteins, but I worry that he is not eating enough, nor getting complete proteins. (Ah - an idea for a future post!!). And so we are working on expanding our recipe choices. I use the word 'we' loosely, as I am the one finding recipes, but he does not cook them. There are a few 'go-to' recipes for him and that's pretty much it.
     In trying to have some vegetarian fast food in the freezer, I came across Morningstar brand Italian Sausage, and so begins my story.

          To prepare these, I chose to pan fry them. The package says they can also be microwaved. I assumed the pan frying would add flavor, as I would be cooking them with my onions and peppers. I cooked my onions the way I like them - long and slow, then over higher heat to sort of caramelize them.

     When the onions were about 3/4 cooked I added the red bell peppers and cooked them together - still over low heat and covered - for about another 5 minutes.

     When it was time to turn up the heat, I added the sausage and cooked everything together over medium high heat. Package says to cook sausage for 9-11 minutes. This I did along with turning several times.

     I served this meal on a slice of 9 grain bread, not homade. I don't care for all the bread that comes with, say, a Hoagie roll. To me, less is more when it comes to bread for a sandwich.

     Now, I imagine you are wondering about taste and texture. I suppose a true vegetarian may find these sausages appealing. For myself, the texture was too dry and they did not have the 'Italian sausage' flavor. It seemed to me, most of the familiar seasonings were missing, not just too little of them. I don't know if one could make their own vegan sausages from TVP crumbles and add more fats ( which isn't vegan I guess) and spices. This may be an area to explore. One bite that had too few onions and peppers, seemed to taste of beans. I guess that might be expected, but it is also when I decided there really needed to be more seasonings in the link.
     Summary: if you are a vegetarian looking for something to replace a sausage link for a sandwich, these would work. My suggestion would be to add lots of onions, peppers, or anything with lots of flavor. I would consider these links to be there for their form, not their flavor. For my sandwich I used 1 slice bread, 1 sausage link, 2/3 red bell pepper and 1/2 medium onion. I had a soft drink and desert (small), and I was hungry within 2.5 hours. Normally, I would be happy with a late supper.
     I think I will do a post or 2 on vegetarian cooking and the ethics of vegetarianism. There are supposedly health benefits to this life style, but, as I said, I like my chicken, eggs, cheese, milk, shrimp, yogurt, ice cream, beef stroganoff, lamb kabobs..............