11 Best Vegan Substitutes For Sausage

Plant-based meat alternatives are growing market in America and beyond. A 2021 study by Rakuten Insight found that a decent amount of the 130,000 consumers studied across 13 countries have tried a plant-based meat alternative at least once. The top reasons for trying plant-based alternatives, including plant-based milk, meat, and egg substitutes, were a concern for health, animal welfare, and the desire to follow new trends.

The subsequent rise in alternative-meat products, the Good Food Institute notes, resulted in a nearly $3.1 billion boom in investment in plant-based proteins in 2020 — a figure only expected to rise. Over three times more money was invested in plant-based protein companies in 2020 than in 2019. These investments are critical to expanding the consumer market for alternative meats, along with the side effects of job growth and diminished methane emissions from the agricultural sector.

Not only are plant-based meats a vital, consumer-friendly way to generate economic growth and positive health outcomes, but they also can taste great! Advances in plant-based meat technology have given rise to vegan sausage — a plant-based alternative with similar flavors, textures, and sensations as traditional pork sausage. Here are some of the best vegan sausages on the market!

Impossible Foods Sausage Patties

Impossible Foods Sausage Patties first made its debut in Starbucks stores nationwide. The patties, which come in spicy or regular varieties, are served in stores on a ciabatta bun with eggs and cheddar. Consumers can now skip the line at their local Starbucks and pick up frozen packages of Impossible sausage patties from their local grocery store. These patties contain 45% less fat than animal-based sausage patties and are pre-seasoned with onion and garlic.

The texture and structure of these sausage patties are adequate — but not fantastic. Moreover, the flavors of this sausage are strictly breakfast-centered so it is hard to compare them equally to other plant-based sausage brands. The saltiness of the sausage pairs well with a breakfast sandwich with sriracha butter or TikTok's tortilla egg sandwich made with eggs, cheese, sausage, and avocado slices. These patties could also pair as a side with pancakes — and maple syrup, of course.

Textured Vegetable Protein

Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is a gluten-free, soy-based protein historically used as a meat extender in processed foods, notes Bob's Red Mill. The manufacturing process involves removing the protein from the soybean, removing the fiber, and drying the "curd." The resulting product resembles meat crumbles that can be easily rehydrated in water and flavored based on the desired recipe they're used in. 

The Herbeevore recommends using TVP for sausage crumbles and mixing in the spices before adding water; this will allow the flavors to marinate before the mixture is baked in the oven. They add onion powder, paprika, and Italian seasoning to their TVP sausage crumble recipe but suggest other variations including a Cajun spice sausage seasoning. TVP can also be made into sausage patties flavored with liquid smoke, nutritional yeast, sage, and fennel, and then formed into a sausage mold with a flax meal. The patties can be either fried or baked — or even air fried! 

Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo

Trader Joe's soy chorizo is one of the grocer's best plant-based offerings. The plant-based chorizo is soy-based, pre-seasoned, and a delicious alternative to traditional Spanish sausage. The base of this chorizo is soy; ⅓ cup provides 8 grams of plant-based protein. Plus, it's only $2.49 for a 12-ounce pack! 

There are two major downsides to this soy chorizo. First, its base is textured veggie protein, so it crumbles rather than staying together in a link form. This sausage isn't able to be used in dishes that require a hard sausage because the protein can't hold together like an Italian sausage. However, the crumbles can be used as a chorizo substitute in recipes like Migas breakfast tacos, which combine the flavors of Hatch green chilis, bacon, eggs, and Monterey Jack cheese to create a light, Southwestern-inspired breakfast recipe. To vegan-ize these breakfast tacos, substitute plant-based milk for the heavy cream and tofu scramble for the eggs.

Field Roast Italian Garlic & Fennel Plant-Based Sausages

Field Roast products are some of the highest-rated plant-based meats in the vegan sphere. The Italian Garlic & Fennel is made with eggplant, onions, and sweet peppers. The primary base for this sausage is wheat gluten — a high-protein plant-based protein often referred to as seitan. One sausage provides 25 grams of plant-based protein.

Unlike other plant-based sausages on the market, the Field Roast brand stays intact as one sausage during the cooking process. It can be grilled, baked, or seared like traditional meat sausage. To prepare, remove the plastic casing and cook as desired. It is important to remember that since this isn't an actual "meat" sausage, it does not need to cook for as long. Make a vegetarian sausage dish with homemade lasagna noodles, Field Roast sausage ragù, and pesto ricotta for your next big Sunday night dinner with friends and family. 

Beyond Meat Beyond Sausage Plant-Based Links

Beyond Meat is one of the more market-forward alternative meat companies; its sweet Italian, original, and hot Italian sausage varieties can be found in the refrigerated or freezer section of most grocery stores. Unlike many other alternative meat brands, Beyond Meat does not use gluten, genetically modified (GM) ingredients, or soy ingredients in its products. This means that Beyond Meat products can be enjoyed by those with gluten/soy allergies or those with Celiac Disease. These brats are instead made of pea protein — which may not be suitable for consumers with sensitivities to legumes (such as peanut allergies).

One brat is around 16 grams of plant-based protein and provides 22% of the recommended daily allowance of sodium. The brats can be cooked in a skillet or griddle. For an unconventional take on these bratwursts, try substituting for kielbasa in a sandwich with pepper-and-onion relish. Simply griddle the brats until cooked on both sides; the internal temperature should be 160 degrees F. Then, add the brats to the buns with relish and enjoy!

Tofurky Plant-Based Original Sausage Italian

According to an article in The New Yorker, Tofurky was the brainchild of 1970s hippie Seth Tibbott who had failed to market tempeh to a meat-and-potatoes America. Fast forward to the present and you'll find Tofurky's net revenue close to $50 million, Forbes reports. Although the company primarily made it rich with the sale of its Thanksgiving roast, a tofu-seitan hybrid filled with wild rice and breadcrumb stuffing, Tofurky also offers plant-based deli slices, "hot dogs," and Italian sausage.

Like Tofurky's roasts, the Italian sausage is made of wheat gluten and tofu. However, this sausage is chewier than Field Roast's Italian plant-based sausage — and less flavorful. The Tofurky sausage would be best in a recipe where it is immersed in flavors and textures independent of its own. For example, substituting Tofurky links for meat sausage in a Crock Pot soup recipe would hold the texture and flavor of the dish.

Gardein Breakfast Saus'age Patties

Gardein manufactures an array of meat alternatives including burgers, chick'n, and pork — the breakfast sausage patties are just one option for consumers. These patties can be found in the frozen section of many popular grocery stores including Walmart and Safeway. Each sausage patty is made of soy protein and wheat gluten and flavored with barley malt powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. The patties contain 6 grams of protein each and 13% of the recommended daily intake of sodium. The size of each patty makes Gardein sausages an ideal side at breakfast rather than a whole meal.

For a portable take on these vegan sausage patties, try making a copycat sausage McGriddle by placing Mason jar lids upside-down, pouring in pancake batter, and swirling maple syrup. Cook pancakes until brown before flipping and removing the lid. To assemble, place a pancake base down, add sausage and egg (for a vegan version, add JustEgg Folded), and close with another pancake. 

Meatless Farm Plant-Based Breakfast Sausage Links

Meatless Farm is a British company that strives to manufacture realistically textured vegan meat products. Although the company manufactures both "pork" patties and breakfast links, the breakfast links are a much more memorable choice. These links hold together well when heated in a skillet because of the strong pea-protein base. Like meat-based breakfast sausages, these links should be cooked from frozen to prevent bacterial growth and resulting foodborne illness. 

One tasty meal derived from these sausages is Food Network's sausage pancakes-on-sticks. This take on a corndog requires a few pairs of chopsticks, a large pot of canola oil, and an appetite. To make it at home, stick a chopstick ⅔ of the way into a cooked breakfast sausage, dip it in pancake batter (Bisquick batter is vegan without eggs), and fry until golden brown. Don't forget to serve with a dish of warm maple syrup and a sprinkle of powdered sugar! 

Homemade seitan

According to Mosaic Foods, seitan is a meat alternative nearly 2,000 years in the making. Seitan is commonly known by its ingredient name: vital wheat gluten (VWG). VWG is simply the starch remaining from a washed and kneaded unit of flour. The gluten strands formed are chewy, elastic, and meat-like in texture. This makes seitan an ideal ingredient in many plant-based products on the grocery store shelf. 

Seitan is easy to make at home. It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken's seitan recipe recommends combining ¾ cup veggie broth with 2 cups of vital wheat gluten along with seasonings like miso paste, liquid aminos, liquid smoke, and fennel. The recipe notes that VWG needs to be steamed in aluminum foil to develop a firm exterior that can be grilled, seared, or baked afterward. The Vegan Larder further suggests when working with seitan to avoid putting vital wheat gluten into a blender because the strength of the gluten can easily break a blender's motor.

Morningstar Farms Sausage Products

MorningStar Farms is a division of Kellogg's brand that offers an array of meatless options including burgers, meal starters, hot dogs, and plant-based breakfasts. Its sausage offerings include breakfast sausage links and sausage patties in original, maple, and hot & spicy varieties. The biggest difference between MorningStar Farms and other veggie sausage brands is that MorningStar's sausage links contain egg whites — making them unsuitable for vegan consumers or those with egg allergies.

MorningStar Farms released its "Incogmeato" line to compete with other brands on the plant-based meat replica market; its Incogmeato ground breakfast sausage, Incogmeato plant-based Italian sausage, and Incogmeato plant-based breakfast sausage links do not contain any egg, dairy, or animal products. The ground sausage has the structure and texture of traditional sausage in a sausage & gravy recipe or would be best used in a slow-cooker breakfast casserole (just make sure to cook the sausage according to directions beforehand).

DIY tofu sausage crumbles

Tofu can be seen as a spongy and flavorless substance, or it can be made into a smoky, savory sausage crumble that can be sprinkled on pizzas, breakfast wraps, and even salads. To make a sausage crumble with tofu, Vegan with Gusto recommends using a firm or extra firm tofu, pressed between a towel to remove moisture. Freezing the tofu and thawing it in the fridge will yield a spongier texture and more meat-like consistency than refrigerated tofu.

The tofu can marinate in the spice blend for as little as half an hour or as long as two days. Any blend of spices can be used; the recipe recommends using smoked paprika for its depth, liquid smoke for its hickory undertones, and nutritional yeast for a savory nutty taste. The most important tip for this recipe is to avoid adding excess liquid to the marinade because the tofu will not absorb as much flavor. These sausage crumbles can be frozen for up to three months and pan-fried or baked when needed.