When I first tried the Gregg’s vegan sausage roll early last year, I remember thinking they’d accidentally given me the real deal instead as it tasted exactly the same. If anything it tasted better – which is no surprise really as most shop-bought sausage rolls use pretty low-quality meat. Now my vegan ‘sausage’ rolls aren’t emulating a real sausage, so there’s no Quorn here and I’m being pretty loose with the term ‘sausage’ roll. I thought it’d be more interesting (and delicious!) to fill it with vegetables instead.
The biggest conundrum I had when creating these rolls was how to make the puff-pastry, renowned for using full-fat butter. This was something that had intrigued me about Gregg’s version too – how did they make it taste exactly the same?! Well. It turns out that Jus-Rol puff pastry is actually vegan – who knew! Obviously I wanted to create my own pastry though, so the research didn’t stop there. Another revelation was that Storks Baking Block (not to be confused with their baking spread) is also vegan – as its made with vegetable oils (which also makes it lower in saturated fat!). I also found a few other brands that were classed as vegan baking spreads – so there should be something available in most supermarkets.
So whats the secret to perfect vegan rolls?
So though the baking block appeared similar to butter, it needs a little extra TLC to create delicious pastry;
- Because the baking block has a lower fat content it doesn’t get as hard as butter does, and therefore softens verryyy quickly. Which is not ideal when rolling out pastry. I’ve therefore upped the chilling frequency and time to help combat this.
- Speed is key here. When handling the dough you want it to be as quick as possible, so the dough can be back in the fridge before the baking block has started melting. This also means the filling needs to be completely ready before you begin rolling the dough out for the final time.
- Now you might have noticed that a lot of vegan sausage rolls are quite pale in colour, this is due to the lack of egg glaze. So I used sunflower oil to help give the pastry some colour and then put them under the grill for a couple of minutes.
So we’ve nailed the pastry, whats going on inside?
Anything with butternut squash in I’m allll over. So I had to include it in this; roasted with a sprinkle of cinnamon its just delicious. I also added pine nuts, sage, parsley, lemon and caramelised onions. Now with that combination I’d usually add feta into the mix – but of course this is a vegan sausage roll! I still wanted that tangy salty flavour, so I added some black olives in to the mix.
The combination is really delicious, and the pastry works really well (though this wasn’t my first attempt. Note to self, don’t try to create vegan pastry on a 31C day…). I won’t blame you if you fancy just using a packet of Jus-Rol, but please make the filling!
On with the recipe:
Vegan ‘Sausage’ Rolls
- 200 g baking block chilled
- 200 g plain flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- 100 ml ice-cold water
- 750 g butternut squash
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil plus more for glazing
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 medium red oinions
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 50 g pine nuts
- 50 g black olives sliced
- 50 g breadcrumbs
- 10 g sage leaves one 20g packet
- 15 g parsley 1/2 one small packet
- salt and pepper to season
- For the pastry: Cube the baking block and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Then put the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the chilled baking block and using a blunt knife roughly mix the baking block into the flour. You want to maintain lumps of the baking block, so don’t mix too hard. Pour in half of the water and stir to combine, then pour in the remaining water until the mixture just comes together (you may not need all the water).
- Tip the mixture out onto a floured work surface and roll into a long rectangle with the short edge facing you. You want it to be around 15cmx45cm. Then fold the top third of the dough down over the middle third, and fold the bottom third up over the two-thirds, as if you are folding a letter. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 15minutes. Then repeat the rolling/folding process, turn the dough 90 degrees so the open ends are facing you and repeat the rolling and folding process again. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes, then repeat the rolling and folding process twice more, before chilling again for atleast 1hour or until needed.
- For the filling: Meanwhile, chop the butternut squash into small cubes and place into a large baking tray. Scatter over 1tbsp of the oil and the cinnamon, mix to thoroughly combine and then bake in the oven for 45mins at 200C/Fan 180C.
- Finely slice the onions. Place the remaining tbsp of oil into a medium frying pan, and place over a medium-low heat with the onions. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the onions begin to caramelise. Take off the heat and set aside.
- Once the butternut squash is cooked and very soft, place in a large bowl and mash thoroughly. Add the caramelised onions, lemon zest +juice, pine nuts, olives and breadcrumbs. Finely chop the sage and parsley and add to the bowl. Season to taste, and mix to combine all ingredients thoroughly. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan and place baking paper over a large baking tray.
- To assemble: Roll the chilled pastry out into a large square – approx. 40cm. Then divide into three rectangles, with the short ends facing you. Spoon the filling down the middle of each pastry rectangle, then using a pastry brush, brush oil on either side of the filling. Then fold each side of the pastry over to create a seal. Then turn each roll over so the seal is underneath. Cut the rolls into 4, so you end up with 12 rolls. Poke two holes into the top of each roll, then brush with oil. Place on the baking tray, and bake for 35 minutes. Grill for a few minutes to get a golden colour if desired.