With the rich flavour of smoked paprika and garlic, this spicy vegan Chorizo is perfect for slicing, topping pizzas and adding some heat to all your favourite Spanish recipes.
What is chorizo?
Chorizo is a spicy Spanish sausage full of the flavour of garlic and smoked paprika. Don’t confuse it with Mexican chorizo, which is better known in the American continents. Mexican chorizo is usually mashed during preparation and resembles minced meat. Spanish chorizo is a firm sausage and usually served sliced, and sometimes fried and used as part of other dishes.
We’ve done a lot of experimentation over the last few weeks to come up with a recipe for a vegan chorizo that is both simple and comes as close to the real thing as any ever will. Full of flavour and great, firm texture. Which makes it perfect to cook with.
Whether you fry it up for breakfast, put it on pizza (vegan pepperoni – can you believe it?), or simply have it as a snack or on a sandwich – this vegan chorizo does not disappoint.
In our recipe for vegan chorizo we use two ingredients commonly relied upon when imitating meat: Vital wheat gluten and soy mince.
Vital wheat gluten is a protein rich powder made from wheat flour and is the main ingredient of the meat substitute seitan. It helps to bind the vegan chorizo and give it a firm texture.
Soy mince adds some grainy texture that gives the chorizo a very sausage-like feel when chewing it. Dried soy mince is made from defatted soy flour which is then dehydrated. You can also find it called Textured Vegetable Protein or TVP.
The rest of the ingredients provide flavour, most prominently smoky paprika (also responsible for the deep red colour) and garlic. We also throw in some soy sauce, spicy pepper, fried onion and herbs for good measure, as well as some flavour-neutral coconut oil. What is a sausage without some fat? In a frying pan or on pizza, our vegan chorizo will basically fry itself!
Making vegan chorizo
We wanted it to be easy to make our vegan chorizo recipe at home, so we kept the process as simple as possible. It is really not that complicated, especially if you are making more at once!
Once the onion and garlic is fried and mixed into a dough with the rest of the ingredients, it is tightly wrapped in parchment paper and steamed on the hob for 1 hour or 30 mins if you use a pressure cooker.
When the vegan chorizo has cooled it is firm enough to unwrap and easily slice it.
Just be warned at this point that the chorizo might stain both wooden and plastic boards and work surfaces, especially when it is warm. So think about where you set it down after steaming. We often store it in parchment paper and slice it in that.
Also, you might get very orange hands in the making of it – but no worries there, it comes off easily when you wash your hands.
- Fry the onion until soft, then add the garlic
- Mix all the ingredients together into a dough
- Make a sausage shape of dough on a piece of parchment paper
- Wrap tightly and secure both ends
- Place in a steamer and steam for 1h
- Leave to cool and firm up before unwrapping and slicing
How to use it?
We mentioned before, it is absolutely amazing on pizza. If I was ever missing anything on a vegan pizza, it was salami. By the addition of our vegan chorizo, our already mouthwatering vegan pizzas just got a whole level tastier! Start with our easy recipe for vegan pizza dough.
When adding it to stews, we recommend slicing and frying it first and adding it in close to serving time. The longer our vegan chorizo is simmered, the more it will give off its flavour to the liquid and get soft and spongy.
Homemade Vegan Chorizo
Mixing the dough
- On medium heat, fry the diced onion in the coconut oil until it's just starting to brown, about five minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and take off the heat.
- Transfer everything to a mixing bowl. Add soy mince, soy sauce and water. Mix.
- Add the smoked paprika, herbs, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Mix again.
- Add and stir in the vital wheat gluten, until it is all absorbed by the moist mixture.
- Knead a bit to compact the dough as it comes together.
- Split into individual portions, transfer each onto a piece of parchment paper (large enough to wrap the chorizo and tie the ends, about 20 x 25 cm / 8" x 10" each).
- Use your hands to shape sausages out of the portions of dough. Don't worry if it's not too perfect, you'll tidy it up later.
- Wrap the parchment around the sausage, trying to make it reasonably tight.
- Twist the paper at one end of the sausage and bind it with a piece of string or a wire closure.
- Before twisting the other end, just try and press the mixture inside the roll towards the first end, creating a compact and neatly round sausage shape.
- Twist and tie the paper at the second end.
- When your sausages are ready to be cooked, cover the bottom of a saucepan (that can be used with a steaming basket or insert) with about 3 cm of water and insert the steaming basket / insert.
- Put your chorizos in the steaming basket, put the lid on and bring the water to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to a simmer and steam the sausages for one hour. After a while check that there is a gentle flow of steam coming out from the lid.
- Pressure cooker method: You can steam the chorizo in a pressure cooker in a steaming basket and reduce the cooking time to 30 min.
- Carefully take the chorizo out of the steaming basket. Before you unwrap the chorizo, let it cool down to room temperature to firm up.
- The chorizo gets even firmer when refrigerated for a couple of hours or overnight, making it perfect for slicing.