I don’t mind admitting that it took me three tries to perfect this recipe for smoked cheese and bean sausages. I was desperately trying to make them vegan and gluten-free, for no reason other than because I like to challenge myself. Turns out, it’s just not possible (well, it probably is, but I didn’t manage it). With my first two attempts, the sausages looked okay before baking, but after a few minutes in the oven they melted down into a big, flat sheet of vegetarian sausage. Not exactly the look I was going for.
In the end I abandoned the vegan / gluten-free thing, and instead turned to the tried and tested combination of egg and breadcrumbs. They provide a solid base for any kind of vegetarian sausage – in the past I’ve made mushroom and brie sausages, green olive and artichoke sausages, and sun-dried tomato and pine nut sausages. It works every time, and gives a great ‘meaty’ texture to whatever kind of vegetarian sausages you fancy.
This time I used white beans for a bit of extra protein, and smoked cheddar for flavour. Have you ever had smoked cheese? It’s got soooo much flavour – you don’t need a huge amount to make these sausages super tasty. A handful of fresh parsley finishes it all off perfectly.
As with all of my recipes, these bean sausages are really easy. Mix everything up together in a food processor, shape into sausages, and bake until they’re golden brown and crispy. A monkey could do it.
You can serve your bean sausages in a million different ways. They’re great as part of a Sunday roast, with roast potatoes and roasted vegetables. You can serve them bangers-and-mash style, with mashed potato, veggies, and a good glug of gravy. Or, if you prefer, serve them with chips (fries!) and baked beans to take yourself back to your childhood. All of these ways are fab.
- 140 g bread (4 average slices)
- 2 eggs
- Small bunch fresh parsley
- Black pepper
- 400 g tin cannellini beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, when drained)
- 65 g smoked cheddar cheese, grated (~ 1 cup when grated)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F). Line and lightly grease a baking tray, and set aside.
Add the bread to a food processor, and blitz to form a coarse crumb. Add the eggs, parsley, and a good pinch of salt and pepper, and blitz again to combine.
Next add the drained cannellini beans and the grated smoked cheddar, and blitz for around 10 seconds, so that the mixture is combined, but still has a bit of texture. It should be quite sticky, but firm.
With clean hands, split the mixture into 8 roughly even portions. Working with one section at a time, firmly squeeze the mixture together, and form it into a sausage shape. Place on the lined baking tray, and repeat with the remaining sausage mixture. Bake for around 50 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.