Trials of a Vegan Sausage

Thanks to my recent subscription to Vegetarian Times magazine, I have lots of new soup recipes to try from their soups issue. I love making soup in the winter because it’s warm, takes minimal time/effort, and lasts for a few days between the two of us, so I can be lazy after work when I get home and it’s already dark.  One of the many joys of living in the Pacific Northwest in the winter.  Now, there were a few lessons I got from this soup; how to cut fennel, read labels more closely, and the most important… no more fake sausages!!


Let’s start with the fake sausage lesson. Fake sausage, it seemed like something new to try and semi out of my comfort zone since I can’t recall the last time real sausage was anywhere near my plate. So I decided to give Tofurky sausage a chance… And it freaked me out! I seriously opened the package, nearly vomited, then ended up putting on latex gloves to cut it. I guess that says a lot about how close it comes to real meat. All I know was that is was yucky to touch and Bryan said it tasted like soggy bread and renamed it “ToBARFy”. No more of THAT.


Lesson number two was all about the fennel. So I had to bust some google action to figure out how to handle fennel. It looks like an onion once chopped up and cooks like an onion, but has a light licorice flavor and the texture is softer than an onion. I also got a chance to use fennel seeds, which was awesome! I will definitely cook with fennel more often from here forward, but now have to figure out what to do with the “horns” cause I feel like a big waster just chopping them off and tossing them.


My last lesson was in reading labels.  The recipe clearly says CRUSHED tomatoes and I came home with WHOLE tomatoes.  No big deal, right?  Just smash them up THEN add them.  Nope, I was cook dancing (AKA not paying attention) and dumped them in the soup pot whole.  After it looked really weird and I reread the recipe, I had to go in with scissors and a spoon to smash and slice.  Good thing I don’t run a kitchen cause there was tomato juice squirting all over the place and I’m really not sure how clean it is to shove scissors into my soup pot.  Minor kitchen disaster.


So long story short… It made the house smell AH-mazing, as soup often does, but I am just not destined to eat sausage, real OR fake…  All I know is that I will definitely make this soup again, but it will be sans sausage.

Tomato and Fennel Soup
Adapted from Vegetarian Times

3tbsp olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb
1 small yellow onion
3 vegan sausages
1tsp fennel seeds
2tbsp dry white wine
4c vegetable broth
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
3tbsp fresh parsley

Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat.  Add fennel and saute 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in sausages and fennel seeds and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until fennel seeds are slightly softened and bits of sausage are stuck to bottom of pan.  Add wine and cook 5 to 10 seconds to deglaze pan, scraping up all those brown bits of ToBARFy.  Add the veggie broth, CRUSHED tomatoes, and parsley; cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Serve with some crusty bread.