Vegan Sausage & Rice ~ Cajun Style (vegan & oil-free)

I have really been enjoying this way of choosing meals that my partner and I have undertaken for more than a year now. Inspired by the Netflix show, Midnight Tokyo Diner, the deal is simple: choose whatever you want to eat and the other person will make it as long as we have the ingredients. Substitutions and your own twist are allowed.

Cooking this way not only allows each of us to stretch our creative muscles in the kitchen, but it allows for unique twists on old favorites. And for us, it’s nice to recreate dishes we haven’t had since going vegan. Trust me when I tell you that it’s an exciting way to cook because you go to the grocery store, buy a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, vegan alternatives and the like, and each night you get a surprise.

Given how life has been for the past 12-14 months, this is a great way to keep things from getting stale in the kitchen, especially if you have the unfortunate luck of living some place there aren’t a lot of vegan takeout food options. You have to do it yourself and we’ve become pretty good at it.

This night, the request was Cajun sausage and rice, one of my favorite dishes as a child. It has everything a good meal needs, rice, spice and a little bit of protein.

As you can see, the ingredient list for this vegan sausage and rice dish is quite simple.

Vegan Sausage & Peppers w/Beyond Sausage!!!

The city of Chicago is my hometown and I love it…a lot. I miss it too but not in the normal way you think about missing a location. Of course I have fond memories of Shedd Aquarium or Adler Planetarium, not to mention the House of Blues and Museum of Natural History, but in addition to the places one of the things I miss is…the food.

Of course the last time I lived in Illinois, I wasn’t a vegan so when those cravings strike it’s time to get creative. And I have. A lot. When the recipes are a bit better, I’ll happily share them with you.

Promise.

But recently we came across Beyond Sausage at Metro, one of the bulk stores in Romania, quite by accident. We knew they had the Beyond Burger so we plowed through the first box and six weeks later we went back for another and found the sausage. As soon as I saw them, I knew I’d be making sausage and peppers. A Chicago staple.

If you are an honest to goodness vegan like I am, you might find Beyond Sausage a little unsettling at first. It looks exactly like the sausages I used to hate when I was a meat eater. It’s got that fleshy reddish-white color and as soon as it starts to thaw, the scent is overwhelming. The same is true when you pop it in a pan to start cooking it.

But it is so dang delicious. It’s all the good parts of eating sausage without the fatty juice dripping down your throat, without the gross gristle that reminds you exactly what you’re eating. If I had any real complaint it would be that it tastes almost too much like sausage. And it’s not exactly calorie friendly either, then again you don’t expect any sausage to be, right?

This is a fairly easy recipe. Grab an onion and two bell peppers along with a few cloves of garlic and you’re ready to rock & roll.

Grill it or saute it and when it gets close to your preferred done-ness, add the sausage and cook according to the directions on the package.

If you have a potato problem like me, you’ll use this as the perfect excuse to have some crispy potatoes on the side…another bonus of skipping the bun with this easy vegan recipe!

No matter your reasons for going vegan, you’ll find Beyond Sausage a delicious alternative to revisit some of your pre-vegan favorites. And this is an excellent way to introduce your non-vegan loved ones to healthier, plant based eating.

Leave ketchup, mustard or barbecue sauce on the table and let everyone enjoy how they like!

Vegan Sausage & Peppers

You know how sometimes you can go years, decades even, without thinking about something and then you see something that triggers a memory or a smell that brings a smile to your face, and suddenly you can’t stop thinking about it? Well that’s what happened with me and sausage and peppers.

Back in my pre-vegan days, I loved a good sausage and peppers dish. Whether it was a sandwich from Portillo’s, a super delicious sandwich joint in Chicago or my granny’s spicy sausage and peppers with rice, I used to LOVE this dish.

And apparently…I still do.

The first thing you need is to figure out your sausage situation. If you live somewhere with a big vegan population then you can probably pop on down to the market and get a variety of vegan sausages. If, like me, you’re living vegan in a place with a pitifully small vegan community–even temporarily–then you’ll have to take the sausage situation into your own hands.

Get my vegan sausage recipe here and switch up those herbs and spices to fit any dish you want. I used a Cajun blend with chili powder, ancho chiles, smoky paprika, garlic granules, onion powder/granules, thyme, oregano and a pinch of cumin because I love it.

Next, grab a few of your favorite peppers and a couple onions, some garlic and herbs and you’re ready to go. I recommend a blend that features bell peppers and spicy peppers. I seeded and diced a jalapeno and rough chopped a long red pepper to go with the green & red bell peppers. It’s a nice sweet & spicy blend to go with the sausage.

Add some seasoning, herbs and a splash of water if you want it saucy…and lay it over whatever carb, um I mean grain you want and pofta buna! I served it over polenta because it’s been a while since I’ve had it and I really wanted it. Badly. But you could serve it over rice, bulgur or couscous, put it on a roll or in a wrap. Whatever floats your boat, baby!

This dish was easy because I made the vegan sausage with seitan a few days before and I cooked the onions and peppers in the oven (an easy way to make your vegan dish oil-free) so it was a low-key, stress free meal that was super delicious. And if you’re feeling funky or adventurous, add some vegan cheese to the polenta for a creamier flavor.

Pair it with beer or wine and enjoy!