This vegan sausage casserole is the ultimate simple comfort food. I love anything that cooks everything in 1-pot – my kind of cooking! You can’t go wrong with this veggie casserole – sausages, beans and a flavourful cooking sauce – it’s scrumptious.
I’m a sucker for any kind of sausage hot pot and this vegan sausage and bean casserole does not disappoint. I wanted to make a recipe that was close to a cassoulet but without all the faff and slow cooking. This tomato based hot pot is speedy and simple. It delivers maximum flavour in minimum time.
The combination of sausage and beans is timeless. Chewy dense beans are a match made in heaven for the aldente bite of salty sausages. The best thing is they’re both vessels of flavour, soaking up any fragrances from cooking sauces and broths. This recipe is no different and the rich tomato sauce, with it’s aromatic vegetables elevates the beans and sausages to a whole new level.
Long live sausage and beans!
How to make vegan sausage casserole
Making vegan sausage casserole is, thankfully, not rocket science. However… it’s painfully easy to make a just ok casserole if you don’t follow a few important steps.
A soffritto is a mixture of finely chopped vegetables and aromatics that flavour the base of a sauce. The meaning of the Italian word is “fried slowly” and its key to do just that. An excellent soffritto can make or break a sauce so it’s important to follow to clear rules. Firstly the soffritto vegetables must be super finely diced, almost grated. Secondly the vegetable mixture needs to be cooked slowly.
The idea is not to fry the vegetables so they caramelise or get any colouring on them. Instead you must cook your soffritto slowly over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes or so. Doing this will soften and sweeten the vegetables, providing a wonderful base to the sauce. Fry to high or for too little time the base ingredients will be bitter your sauce won’t taste as good.
Crispy not soggy sausages
Sausage casseroles suffer from one main problem in my book – sogginess. Naturally the lazy cook’s (and I’m one of them) instincts is to shove all the ingredients in the pan and just cook until done. Sadly this will produce anaemic and watery sausages.
In order to avoid these pale problems it is essential to fry the sausages before placing into the casserole. Doing this gives them a crisp exterior that will help provide some much needed texture to the casserole. I go one step further and slice the sausages into thin circle slices. This way they come out extra crisp and are spread easier throughout the casserole.
Thou shall use breadcrumbs
If there’s one thing I can’t abide it’s a watery casserole. With this vegan sausage casserole I employed a method that has worked wonders on many a watery soup – breadcrumbs. Topping the casserole with a generous helping of panko breadcrumbs ensures that any excess water from the casserole is soaked up.
I top the veggie casserole with breadcrumbs and then finish off in the oven for a further 5 minutes. This crisps up the top layer of breadcrumbs which provides yet more texture to the dish. You’ll get a wonderful crunch of breadcrumbs before moving into a silky smooth and flavourful tomato base.
Vegan sausage casserole variants
There are a million different ways to cook a delicious vegan sausage casserole. Here’s a few ways that you can transform this recipe into a completely different vegan & vegetarian casserole with a few tweaks:
- Sumptuous red wine vegan sausage casserole – Follow the recipe as directed but after frying the mixed vegetables add 200ml red wine and reduce till it barely coats the pan.
- Spicy chipotle vegan sausage casserole – After frying the mixed vegetables in your casserole at the beginning of the recipe. Add 2 finely diced red chillies, the juice of 1 lemon and a tsp of chipotle paste to the pan. Cook for a few minutes and continue with the recipe as directed.
- Vegan sausage casserole with sage and squash – Roughly chop 1/2 a butternut squash into 2 cm cubes. Add the chopped squash and 1/2 tablespoon of chopped sage into the casserole at the same time as the beans. Continue with the recipe as directed.
Vegan sausage casserole FAQs
Is this sausage casserole healthy?
This veggie casserole is packed full of good vegetables and nutrients. If you make the vegan sausages from scratch there’s no weird additives or processed foods. It’s just whole food goodness. The original portion sizing for the recipe was quite generous and this casserole can easily make 6 portions if you are looking for less calories. With 6 portions each serving will give you around 450 kcals.
I don’t want to make my own sausages. What are the best vegan sausages to buy?
Excellent question, here’s a list of suggestions:
- Meatless Farm Sausages – decent plant-based sausages that don’t wow on the flavour but have a good texture. Decent with omnis who like “richmond” style sausages with a bit more depth.
- Future Farm Sausages – By far the most “real” looking sausages I’ve tried. Taste is lacking.
- Vegusto – Pepper Sausage – Incredibly expensive but by far the best sausages I’ve had. The swiss certainly have an eye for detail!
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This meal is around % less polluting than the average UK meal.
- Eating this recipe will save around KG CO2e per person.
- That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving KM in a modern car.
- 2 (400g) Cans Cooked Cannellini Beans (drained)
- 3 Medium Carrots (peeled and finely diced, roughly 5mm square)
- 2 Medium Onions (peeled and finely diced, roughly 5mm square)
- 4 Sticks Celery (finely diced, roughly 5mm square)
- 4 Cloves Garlic (peeled and finely diced)
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme (or one sprig of fresh thyme, de-stemmed and chopped)
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 (400g) Can Plum Tomatoes
- 500 ml Vegetable Stock
- 50 g Breadcrumbs
- 30 g Fresh Parsley (roughly chopped)
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 6 Vegan Sausages (chopped into 1 cm slices)
- Preheat your oven to 180˚c (fan-oven)
- Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a casserole dish over a gentle heat. Toss in the 3 diced carrots, 4 cloves diced garlic, 2 diced onions and 4 sticks of diced celery. Fry gently 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Add in the 1 teaspoon of paprika and 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Stir into the vegetables and then pour in the 1 can of plum tomatoes, 1 bay leaf, 2 cans of drained cannellini bean and 500ml of vegetable stock. Cover and place into the oven for 30 minutes until the beans are nicely soft.
- When the casserole has about 10 minutes left, prep the vegan sausage. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Toss in the 6 chopped vegan sausages slices and fry for 2 minutes either side until they have a wonderfully crispy exterior.
- After the casserole has cooked for 30 minutes, remove and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the 30g of chopped parsley and crispy sausage slices. Layer a thick helping of breadcrumbs over the top of the casserole.
- Place the casserole back in the oven, uncovered, for 5 minutes until the breadcrumbs start to turn golden brown.