Americans, by and large, eat too much meat, but I'm not here to try to convince anyone to become a vegetarian. It's true that I don't eat land animals, partly because of the horror that is factory farming, and partly because I'm a incurable girl and think that furry animals are cute. But I do occasionally eat seafood, and, as even a cursory glance at my recipes will demonstrate, copious amounts of cheese, so I'm not exactly on the short list to be a PETA spokesperson. Sometimes, though, I want to make a dish that requires something, for lack of a better word, meaty. Something that can stand in for a chicken breast, or beef chunks, or sausage. You know what I'm talking about: a meat substitute. Before you run screaming, hear me out. If your only experience with meat substitutes is being forced to eat a slice of rubbery Tofurkey at your vegan cousin's house at Thanksgiving, it's understandable that you may take a dim view of mock meats. Not only do some of them taste downright bad, but judging from the long, unpronounceable ingredient lists and massive amounts of sodium, they can be even worse for you than the real thing.
Not so the yummies from Field Roast Grain Meat Company. It's really not even fair to call their products meat substitutes, because they're delicious in their own right. This is food that I encourage you to try and enjoy on its own terms. The Field Roast artisinal, vegan sausages come in Italian, chipotle,
and smoked apple & sage, and according to the company's Web site (which includes a store locator), "are made in small batches using traditional sausage making techniques." The apple and sage are my personal favorites - they have a grain-y, nutty consistency, and the ginger and rubbed sage give them a distinctive kick.
I'm telling you, even rapacious carnivores should be able to appreciate these babies!
Artisinal Grain "Sausages" with Sauteed Summer Vegetables
One package Field Roast Smoked Apple & Sage Sausages (4 sausages - slice them all lengthwise)
One zucchini, sliced
One large yellow onion, sliced thin
1 green pepper, seeds removed and cut into strips
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Creole seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
In a pan over medium heat, saute the onions in 1-1/2 tbsp olive oil until caramelized, about 20 minutes. While you're sautéing, add a pinch of salt and 1/2 the Creole seasoning in order to begin to layer the flavors.
Once your onions are caramelized, add the green pepper and 1/2 the garlic; saute for about 5 minutes. Next add the rest of the garlic, zucchini, a pinch more salt, ground pepper, and the rest of the Creole seasoning. Stir frequently (and taste often!)
Meanwhile, in grill pan over medium heat, cook your sausages in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Turn them every 5 minutes or so, but don't fuss with them too much. You just want them to get a little brown and crispy on the outside, but not fall apart.
To serve, plate up your sauteed veggies and place the sausages on top. This easy dish reminds me of the kind of food you might get at an Italian street festival, like the San Gennaro festival in NYC, only without all of the fat and calories.