These easy-to-make vegan walnut Italian sausage crumbles can be used as the meatless meaty base in hearty bolognese sauce, as a topping on vegan pizza, sprinkled over salad, or tossed with warm pasta and a drizzle of olive oil.
This meatless Italian sausage is made with a base of raw walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes. The walnuts provide a heartiness to the “meat” (not to mention lots of brain-boosting omega-3s) while the sun-dried tomatoes provide an authentic meaty chew.
In addition to the walnuts and tomatoes, this “meat” contains a handful of spices that are customary to classic Italian sausage, including:
Red pepper flakes
Salt + pepper
Two comments about the above list:
- Don’t be intimidated. These are all easy-to-find dried spices, fennel seed included.
- Don’t substitute or omit any of the spices. Each and every one is there for a reason, especially the fennel seed. I’ve had multiple people reach out who have made the recipe in the book and say how, despite initially wanting to omit things (e.g., fennel seed), they stuck to the recipe as written and were so thankful they did because it made such a difference in flavor. Each and every spice is meaningful here.
You’ll add the walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and spices to a food processor and pulse until ground into a sausage-like crumble.
Then, heat a bit of olive oil in a large stockpot, add the “sausage” crumbles, and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until wafting the most glorious garlicky, sausage-y scent.
That’s it. From there, use the sausage crumbles as the base in this vegan bolognese, sprinkle them on vegan pizza or salad, or toss them with warm pasta and a drizzle of olive oil.
Vegan Walnut Italian Sausage Crumbles
- 2 cups raw walnut pieces*
- 3 ounces no-salt-added dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes (about 1/3 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seed
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- To a food processor, add the walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, sea salt, onion powder, oregano, basil, parsley, paprika, fennel seed, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Pulse 30 times, or until finely chopped and crumbly.
- Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the walnut mixture and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the herbs are wafting a rich, toasted scent, stirring frequently.
- Follow steps to make Vegan Bolognese Sauce or remove from heat and use as desired.