Sausagepalooza: A Vegetarian Sausage Review

February 18, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Product Review Print This Post Print This Post

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I was inspired by this vintage Hungarian sausage commercial to put together a vegetarian sausage review. Please do enjoy…

Onwards to Sausagepalooza!

In my vegetarian sausage review, I chose two different brands both labeled as vegetarian “Italian Sausage” – Field Roast and Lightlife.

vegetarian sausage

vegetarian sausage

PACKAGING

The packaging is different for each brand. Lightlife has all four sausages in a row  (like traditional hot dog packaging) while Field Roast goes for an individual wrapping technique. I favor the individual wrapping if you tend to only heat up one sausage at a time. You just cut open the sausage and peel back the plastic. The Lightlife package was a little more difficult to open without slashing the actual sausage with the knife.

vegetarian sausage

vegetarian sausage

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The Lightlife sausage is a bit more “slick” right out of the package. Field Roast sausages have a more chunky appearance and are a little more “juicy”. The Field Roast sausages were also a bit more fragile and could have the tendency to fall apart a little bit.

vegetarian sausage

Lightlife sausages were easier to cut through, while the chunkiness of the Field Roast sausages caused more jagged edges.

img_8660

vegetarian sausage

INGREDIENTS

Lightlife sausages rely on soy proteins, egg whites and dried vegetables. Field Roast sausages boast they are made of grains, vegetables and legumes. They are also vegan.

NUTRITION

The Lightlife sausageswere 140 calories each while Field Roast packed a whopping 240 calories per link. Both brands come in pretty high on the sodium – 21% of daily intake for the Lightlife and 24% of recommended sodium intake for Field Roast. The Field Roast packs a whopping 50% of daily recommended intake for protein while the Lightlife comes in with only 24%. As a bonus, Field Roast also brings in some extra calcium, vitamin A and calcium. Meanwhile, Lightlife brings in only a little extra iron.

vegetarian sausage

vegetarian sausage

COOKING

Because it is the dead of winter, I didn’t really feel like stepping outside to fire up the grill. Therefore, I followed the package instructions on preparation in a pan. The Light Life technique required a little oil in the pan, then heat the sausage on medium heat. Once pre-heated, cover the pan and cook for five minutes rotating the sausage every minute (or as needed) to ensure even browning. Uncover, turn heat to low and heat through an additional three minutes.

vegetarian sausage

vegetarian sausage

The package instructions for the Field Roast only asked to put the sausage in a lightly heated pan on medium heat. Nothing further. Although, it does warn not to overcook. So, I cooked it, rolled it around a bit for about five minutes in the pan.

vegetarian sausage

I also cut up the sausages and pan fried them a bit as well.

vegetarian sausage

Finally, I stuck both in the microwave for two minutes. (Only the Field Roast package gave microwave instructions. It said to cook each sausage for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. So, I stuck both sausages in at the same time.)

vegetarian sausage

vegetarian sausage

THE RESULTS…

vegetarian sausage

Field Roast sausage was spicy and complex in flavors. However, the Lightlife presented a smoother taste and held up a bit better in the various cooking techniques.

Microwave:  The clear winner was Lightlife. Although, both were rather “uninteresting” in presentaiton. The Field Roast tended to be a bit chewy and became even more so as they cooled off a bit.

Pan fried whole: The Field Roast held up the best in this cooking technique. The spicy flavor was enhanced by the browning. Lightlife came in a close second as the browning made it taste so much better than the microwave version. The technique of covering the pan for a bit made it a little more juicy than the Field Roast. I may try that the next time when preparing the Field Roast sausage.

Cut into pieces and pan fried: Lightlife came out slightly ahead. The Field Roast once again came out a bit chewy, but the flavor and spiciness brought it back up into the running.

BONUS ROUND: CONDIMENTS

I prepared both a honey mustard bourbon sauce and a sweet and spicy ketchup (recipe will be posted soon). The Field Roast sausage matched perfectly with both sauces. The spicy boldness of the sausage was subdued by the condiments. It’s the perfect dipping combination. However, the condiments would work well with the Lightlife sausage if presented on a bun.

vegetarian sausage vegetarian sausage

CONCLUSION

If you’re looking for a traditional Italian sausage that’s eaten in a bun with lots of condiments, head towards the Lightlife. I’d also reach for the Lightlife if looking for a quick snack as it has half the calories as the Field Roast. Looking for an addition to sauces or for use with dipping condiments, reach for the Field Roast. It packs a lot of protein in just one link. However, cook the Field Roast in a pan, rather than in a microwave as it tends to get a bit chewy otherwise.

vegetarian sausage

vegetarian sausage

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11 Comments to “Sausagepalooza: A Vegetarian Sausage Review”


  1. Lea Vendetta says:

    Thank you!…do you know what the skin of the sausage is made of?

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  2. Megabeth says:

    Good question: As far as I could tell, neither vegetarian sausage testing had a casing or “skin” on it. I did some google sleuthing and found that there are methods of doing a vegetable based casing on a sausage. Here’s an example for one system I found: http://www.vegicase.com..
    .

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  3. They use hidden MSG in their products.

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  4. Would you mind providing a source for this statement?

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  5. Which one do you think would work better in a kale soup? Sliced and pan-fried Tofurky® Italian Sausage (dried tomato and basil) was overpowering. With pasta T. Sausage works, in soup, not so much. :-)

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  6. I’d probably go with the Field Roast. The texture would work nice in the soup. The Smart Sausage might be too smooth. I would recommend cutting the sausage into smaller pieces as it also does have a stronger flavor than the other brand. Less is probably more. Let me know how it comes out!

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  7. I have the msg source for you: the label. At least on the Fieldroast it says hydrolyzed protein, which is msg. Stupid too because it’s pretty good otherwise.

    Vegans are hilarious. They act like meat will kill them instantly, then when they are dosed with neuro-exciters they’re like ‘prove it.’

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  8. John….Interesting how a description of where the “msg” is turns into a way to insult people. Sighs… Why the need. A simple explanation of HOW hvg is SIMILAR to msg, (as a flavor enhancer only btw), would suffice. I am always amused at how people mistake derision for intelligence.

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  9. I just found this write-up while searching for info on the LightLife sausages (they recently discontinued them at my local grocery store and I’m a little bit devastated). I’m a real meat eater who just switched to a low calorie diet – heavy on veggies, fish, occasional chicken and cutting out red meat altogether. I LOVE LightLife and think it’s a perfect replacement for Italian sausage. I actually like it more than Italian sausage because I can prepare it so fast and not have to worry about under-cooked pork (yuck). I’d give the other brand a try if I came across it but the low calorie count of LightLife sausage makes it perfect for me. It’s great in wheat pasta with a little marinara.

    I tried LightLife’s hotdogs with high hopes but found them to be absolutely disgusting. I’m thinking they don’t actually know what a real hotdog tastes like and just based it on the smell or something. One bite and the whole pack was in the garbage…oy.

    Thanks for the info on Field Roast!

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  10. I usually prefer Field Roast products, sausage included, but they tend to be the most expensive, at least in my neck of the woods.

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  11. hvp is hidden msg... says:

    just stopped by after looking up field roast reviews but had no idea it had msg…I will still try it though and thanks for the review, sounds delicious! heard it’s cheaper in bulk at Costco

    11

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