The Vegan Gutbuster Sandwich
In Honor of My Alma Mater, The University of Illinois
Homemade Vegan Italian Sausage on a Toasted French Baguette
Green Bell Pepper, Onion, Mushroom, Tomato
Spicy Tomato Sauce, Vegan Mozzarella, Basil Chiffonade
Last summer my Alpha Phi sorority sisters met in Champaign, Illinois for a PHI-abulous reunion. Over 80 members who graduated between 1976 and 1982 took a trip down memory lane for the weekend, we visited some of our old haunts, and had a blast reconnecting and rekindling old friendships. We slept and ate in the sorority house, so fun ~ and our contributions for staying there helped to raise funds for the chapter. Thank you for the hospitality, ladies!
One of the fond memories from our college years was pizza. Garcia’s Pizza. And the Gutbuster was their famous 3/4-pound slice with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. Something we all remembered with affection…It had been many years since I even thought about the Gutbuster, but since our reunion weekend, I have been pondering a makeover of our beloved pie.
Creative Cooking Crew
January Challenge: VEGAN
Introducing the Vegan Gutbuster Sandwich!
The Creative Cooking Crew is a new group of 24 imaginative food bloggers hosted by Laz of Lazaro Cooks! and Joan of FOODalogue. Each month brings a new culinary challenge with a round-up of all the entries posted at the end of the month. January’s terrific challenge idea was suggested by Tracey of Tasty Trix. Please stop by Joan’s blog here to savor the vegan spin on animal protein by our group of talented cooks.
Vegan Italian Sausage Recipe
Vegan Italian Sausage Ingredients:
- 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 c. cold mushroom broth
- 1 T. olive oil
- 2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/4 c. vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 2 t. toasted fennel seed, crushed
- 1 t. red pepper flakes
- 1 t. sweet paprika
- 1 t. dried oregano
- 1 t. fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 T. fresh parsley, chopped
- salt & fresh ground black pepper
Vital wheat gluten is made from the protein found in the endosperm of the wheat berry. When combined with water it becomes highly elastic and taffy-like. It is traditionally used in bread baking, helping to retain gas and steam bringing the baked bread more volume. This was my first time cooking with vital wheat gluten, I was surprised that a “meaty” texture resulted from a “flour” product. By simply steaming then sauteing, the end result is indeed meat-like and quite tasty when paired with beans, herbs, and spices. I can imagine many vegan dishes using this as a master recipe.
Vegan Italian Sausage Procedure:
First set up a steamer that can hold four large sausages. Bring the water to a boil. Set aside 4 square sheets of aluminum foil. This “dough” only takes a few minutes to prepare, so make sure the steamer is ready to go.
In a large bowl, mash the beans. Add all the other ingredients to the beans in the order listed. I found it was easier to mix with my hands, like making meatloaf. Place one fourth of dough onto each of the foil squares and mold into approximately a 5 inch log. Wrap the dough in the foil by folding in the sides then rolling up the foil to make a cigar. The elasticity of the vital wheat gluten will help shape the sausage into a smooth log as it steams.
Place wrapped sausages in the steamer and steam for 40 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight.
(I learned how to make vegan sausage from Punk Post Kitchen here).
Unwrap the chilled sausages and let come to room temperature. Saute in canola oil over medium-high heat until brown and crispy on all sides, the interior will remain moist. Drain on paper towels while assembling the Gutbuster.
- french baguette, sliced in half lengthwise
- olive oil
- green bell pepper, sliced
- yellow onion, sliced
- dried oregano
- red pepper flakes
- tomato sauce
- sliced mushrooms
- tomato, cut into small wedges
- vegan mozzarella cheese, shredded
- chiffonade of fresh basil
- salt and pepper
Saute green bell pepper and onion in olive oil until soft. Add oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in tomato sauce to coat the vegetables, then keep warm. Meanwhile saute mushrooms in olive oil until golden, season with salt and pepper.
Cut the baguette into slices about the same length as the sausages. Brush the baguette with olive oil and toast until golden brown. Place the hot sausage on the bread. Top with green pepper/onion mixture on one side, mushrooms and tomatoes on the other side. Secure the sandwich with picks. Top with vegan mozzarella and place under the broiler until the cheese starts to melt. Garnish with fresh basil.
Enjoying the Memories and Flavors of the Old
Garcia’s Gutbuster Pizza