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Vegan Italian Sausage without Oil

4.60 from 32 votes

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You’re going to love this Vegan Italian Sausage recipe. These sausages are meaty, spicy, smoky, flavorful, and oil-free! And they’re so easy to make! Enjoy them in a bun with your favorite toppings, on a pizza, in your pasta, or anywhere you would use regular Italian sausage.

White platter with whole and sliced seitan Italian sausages

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Whether you’re new to a vegan lifestyle, or simply enjoy eating meat-like substitutes on occasion, you’re going to love this absolutely delicious vegan Italian sausage recipe!

Most veggie meat substitutes are quite expensive. But you can save a lot of money on these products by making your own. All you need is a little bit of vital wheat gluten and some flavorings. You can make up a batch of these vegan sausages at a fraction of the store cost!

Another wonderful thing about making your own sausages is that you can control the ingredients. Most store bought vegan sausages are high in fat. But not these! There’s not a drop of oil in this recipe. There are also no strange chemical or preservative ingredients.

You can make these vegan seitan sausages so easily, and have a tasty meat substitute ready to enjoy in about an hour! The texture is better, however, if you let them completely cool before unwrapping, but I usually can’t wait that long, and unwrap and enjoy a bit of it as soon as I’ve finished cooking them!

What is vegan sausage made of?

The main ingredient in my vegan sausage is vital wheat gluten. Vital wheat gluten is the protein that has been extracted from wheat flour. Gluten is often added to yeast bread recipes to improve the elasticity of the dough. It is sold as a powder, and when combined with wet ingredients, it becomes stretchy and cooks up to have a very meaty consistency.

Vital wheat gluten doesn’t have much flavor, but when combined with the right ingredients you can make it taste very similar to various meat products. The liquid smoke, fennel seeds, and other delicious seasonings in the recipe result in the perfect flavor to please even meat eaters.

Where can I find vital wheat gluten?

Vital wheat gluten can be found in many grocery stores in the baking section, and often in the bulk containers. If you are not able to find it locally, it can be ordered online through Amazon, or from Bob’s Red Mill.

Ingredients in this vegan sausage recipe:

This looks like a long list of ingredients, but most of them are dried herbs and spices. You probably already have most or all of these ingredients in your pantry.

How do I make these Vegan Italian Sausages?

Step 1:

Begin by combining the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Bowl of dry ingredients for vegan sausages

Step 2:

Add the beans and liquid ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sun dried tomatoes and blend on low for a few seconds to chop them up.

When I made the recipe for these photos, I forgot the step of adding the sun dried tomatoes to the blender, so my tomato chunks are a bit larger. The sausages still turned out great!

Step 3:

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until well combined.

Bowl with wet ingredients being stirred into dry ingredients for seitan sausages

Knead the dough for a few minutes until the dough becomes stretchy.

Bowl of seitan dough for Vegan Italian Sausages

Step 4:

Divide the dough into 6 or 8 pieces, depending on how large you want your sausages to be. I divided mine into 6 pieces, and my sausages are about 6 inches long. For sandwich sized sausages, you will probably want to divide it into 8 pieces.

Step 5:

Form each piece of dough into a log shape. The shape does not have to be perfect, because the seitan will expand and fill the wrapping, forming a sausage shape as it cooks.

Seitan dough formed into a sausage shape, on parchment and foil, ready to be wrapped and cooked

Wrap each piece of dough in parchment paper and then in aluminum foil. The foil should wrap around the sausage dough at least twice. This is to prevent it from bursting when the seitan expands as it cooks. Twist the ends of the foil tootsie roll style.

Seitan sausages wrapped in foil, ready to be cooked

Step 6:

Place a steamer basket in a large pot and bring to a boil. Then place the wrapped sausage in the steamer basket and steam for 50 minutes. Check the steamer every 15 to 20 minutes to make sure the water has not all evaporated. You do not want the steamer to boil dry.

Step 7:

After 50 minutes, remove the sausages from the steamer and allow them to cool. The texture will be best if you place them in the fridge overnight before unwrapping.

White platter with seitan sausages, one still partially wrapped

How do I serve vegan Italian Sausage?

Serve these meatless sausages anywhere you would use regular sausage. Some ideas are:

  • As a main course with some potatoes and vegetables
  • In a sandwich with sautéed onion, green bell pepper, and marinara sauce
  • Sliced and added to pasta with pasta sauce
  • In soups or stews
  • In a rice or grain dish, or in a casserole
  • On a vegan snack board with some vegan cheese, crackers, and fruit
Can I freeze these sausages?

Yes! They freeze very well. I have frozen seitan sausages while they were still wrapped, or you can unwrap them before freezing. Place them in a Ziploc freezer bag and they will keep in the freezer for several months. When you want to eat them, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature before you cook them.

Are vegan Italian sausages healthy?

These sausages are considerably healthier than their animal based counterparts. Since they are oil free and made from plant based ingredients, they are also healthier than most of the store bought vegan versions. This is a great recipe for new vegans who miss familiar foods, as well as anyone who enjoys the taste and texture of vegan meat substitutes.

Can this Italian sausage recipe be made gluten free?

Since the main ingredient in this sausage recipe is gluten, this particular recipe cannot be made gluten free. There are, however, gluten free vegan sausage recipes on other sites.

For more vegan meat substitutes, see:

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White platter with whole and sliced Vegan Italian Sausages

Vegan Italian Sausage

Teresa Sklenicka
These Vegan Italian Sausages are meaty, spicy, smoky, flavorful, and oil-free! And you're going to love how easy they are to make! Enjoy them anywhere you would use regular sausage.
4.60 from 32 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 139.3 kcal


Dry Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 2 teaspoons ground fennel
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup white beans
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes


  • Begin by combining the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  • Add the beans and liquid ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sun dried tomatoes and blend on low for a few seconds to chop them up – you want to have small bits of tomato.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until well combined. Knead the dough for a few minutes until the dough becomes stretchy.
  • Divide the dough into 6 or 8 pieces, depending on how large you want your sausages to be.
  • Form each piece of dough into a log shape, and wrap in parchment paper and then in aluminum foil. The foil should wrap around the sausage dough at least twice. This is to prevent it from bursting, since the sausage will expand as it cooks.
  • Place the wrapped sausage in a steamer, and steam for 50 minutes. Check the steamer every 15 or 20 minutes to make sure the water has not all evaporated. Do not let the steamer boil dry.
  • After 50 minutes, remove the sausages from the steamer and allow them to cool. The texture will be best if you refrigerate them overnight before unwrapping.
  • These sausages can be heated by sauteing them in a nonstick fry pan, warming in a microwave, or briefly grilling.


These sausages will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.


Calories: 139.3kcalCarbohydrates: 11.3gProtein: 21.3gFat: 0.8gSodium: 568.8mgFiber: 3.7gSugar: 1.1gVitamin A: 276.23IUVitamin C: 1.62mgCalcium: 57.34mgIron: 2.7mg
Keyword Meat Subsitutes, Oil Free, Seitan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Nutrition calculations are approximate.

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By on February 23rd, 2020

About Teresa Sklenicka

I love creating tasty, oil-free, vegan recipes that everyone will love (even non-vegans)! Here you'll find vegan versions of your favorite comfort foods, as well as some new tastes! Join me on a path to improving your health, helping the planet, and saving animals.

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40 thoughts on “Vegan Italian Sausage without Oil”

  1. 4 stars
    These are very good. They are not quite as flavorful as the Field Roast brand commercial sausages, but they are close enough. These sausages are also very affordable. This is a labor intensive recipe. It has a lot of ingredients. Rolling and wrapping all the sausages takes time, but at least the results are predictable and consistent. This recipe will be added to my list of “regulars” that I prepare a few times each month. Thanks for sharing.

  2. So happy to see this recipe since I have not been able to find an Italian sausage recipe anywhere the past year! Even better are the terrific comments! I am not sure I understand about the gluten though and the one comment above about it with wheat was not answered, so I more concerned about doing this right. You just use vital wheat gluten, no wheat flour is mixed in, gluten is a separate product all together, correct? Thank you.

    • Vital wheat gluten, also called wheat gluten, is the protein from wheat. I do not mix in any wheat flour in this recipe. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

    • Yes, Vital Wheat Gluten is a completely different product than wheat flour. It’s a great staple for vegetarians/vegans. I order mine off of Amazon, because my local store does not carry it.

  3. 4 stars
    I made these for the first time this weekend and they were a little softer than I was expecting. However, the flavor was amazing. I ate them on a bun with onions and peppers. I will absolutely be making them again. I did leave out the fennel because I really dislike the taste of it.

    • When I need sausage bits, I grind up the sausages in my food processor. It’s great mixed in with some gravy made out of my Country Gravy Mix and spooned over biscuits!

    • You will get the same result with only parchment paper (i never use the aluminium foil!), or the best with fabrics (cutet old tea towel or similar).

      • The parchment paper alone will probably rip with the expansion of the seitan dough while it cooks. I have seen seitan wrapped in cheese cloth (I’ve not tried it with these sausages), but the aluminum foil will give the best results with this recipe.

  4. If the packaging just says wheat gluten…and instructs to add 2T to 6-8cups of flour…would this be the same as the vital wheat gluten

  5. This recipe is amazing. Same texture and taste of sausage. My meat eating husband loved. The only thing I changed was- I used okara left over from making soy milk instead of beans and didn’t add tomatoes. Yum!

    • Oh wow! Thank you Tina for sharing your comment! I was about to ask what to replace the white beans with. I only have chick peas… but I make soy milk and tofu all the time, so lots of okara… always on hand! ????

    • I would imagine they could. They might not turn out as uniformly shaped as it’s not as easy to wrap them into a patty shape for steaming.

  6. These look great and I’m looking forward to trying them. The question I have is has anyone tried to steam these in a rice cooker? I have a really nice rice cooker that steams my dumplings, and other foods and I’m thinking it may work, but want opinions or experiences first before I try it.
    Thanks so much!

    • No, cracked bulgur won’t work. It really needs to be vital wheat gluten, which is the protein from wheat. It come in a powder form, and gets stretchy when combined with a liquid.

  7. These are absolutely amazing. I will probably bump up the salt a tiiiny bit next time I make them but only because I am a salt fiend. One of the only foods we still eat that contain oil is Field Roast Italian sausages maybe once or twice a month, and these are the perfect oil-free replication. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  8. Can’t figure out where I went wrong, followed the recipe to the letter, they were like chewing on a lump of latex rubber. An hour and a half of my life I will never get back, and a ruined meal.

    • Oh, no! I’m so sorry they didn’t work out for you. I’d love to help you troubleshoot, but I don’t know what might have happened. How many sausages did you make? If you made more smaller sausages, they might have been over cooked.

      • It also might be an environmental issue. Where I live it is so dry I often have to add more liquid to my Seitan than the recipe calls for. No amount of steaming is going to compensate for a dough that hasn’t been hydrated enough in the mixing stage.

    • You may have over-kneaded and/or cooked at too high a temperature. Both of these things can cause hard, rubbery seitan. It’s a fickle food—I usually have to make seitan recipes two or three times to get the texture right since each recipe is a bit different.

  9. are the sun-dried tomatoes supposed to be added to the blender before rehydrating them or are we supposed to use them as is (dehydrated).

      • I have home dried tomatoes… I will try it with these. You say not to rehydrate before, but I have sliced dehydrated tomatoes, maybe I should put it in the blender to have smaller pieces?

        • You’re home dried tomatoes will work perfectly in this! I would either put them in a blender or chop them finely with a knife.

  10. I am not able to have gluten at all. Would you be able to recommend an alterative that might work in this recipe? So many faux meats contain gluten, so I’m not able to partake.

    • I don’t know of a good alternative to gluten for this recipe, since it is a seitan recipe that is based on wheat gluten. I have seen other recipes online for gluten free vegan sausages.

  11. This looks so wonderful! I’m making these tomorrow. What kind of “Steamer” do you use? Can I use an Instant Pot for this?

    • Thanks! I have a large pot (stock pot size) with a steamer insert. You can use a large pot with a steamer basket. I haven’t tried them in my Instant Pot, but I’m sure it will work. Just add a steamer basket and a cup of water to the pot and follow the recipe directions.

      I hope you enjoy these! Be sure to let me know!


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