I have spent years developing this recipe. Every winter I give it another go, changing the recipe each time, and each time it was a bit . . . meh. I knew it would work eventually, sausages, leeks, onions, gravy, what can go wrong? Turns out, when you’re using vegetarian sausages, it’s harder than you think to get the balance of flavours right.
One day a month or so ago, however, giving in to defeat, I picked up a sausage casserole packet mix at the supermarket and I was really impressed with the result. Looking at the ingredients on the back, I realised they’d used spices I’d never thought to include in my casseroles before. I been concentrating on trying to get meaty, gravy flavours, but this had paprika, cumin and tomato in and was absolutely delicious. I set to work over the next few weeks combining my original casserole ideas with these spices and dried herbs, and finally, I cracked it!
This sausage casserole doesn’t have a deep, meaty flavour, but it’s rich, filling, hearty, healthy, comforting and can definitely be served as an alternative to a Sunday roast. It’ll go great with all the trimmings, especially boiled cabbage and mashed potatoes! It comfortably serves 3, but can be stretched to four if you chop the sausages into pieces and serve with plenty of sides. It’s packed with veg, has no sugar and reheats well in the microwave. All in all, it’s winner winner, sausage casserole dinner!
Ready in 1 hour, 20 mins (10 mins prep, 10 mins on the hob, 60 mins in the oven) – serves 3
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 6 vegetarian sausages
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 100g of leek, sliced (see my tips on prepping leeks here)
- 100g of plum tomatoes, cut in half
- 100g of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
- A teaspoon of oregano
- A teaspoon of basil
- A teaspoon of paprika
- A teaspoon of cumin
- A teaspoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce (if you’re not veggie or vegan, you can just use regular Worcestershire sauce)
- A good pinch of salt
- A good pinch of black pepper
- A good pinch of thyme
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- A heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
- 500mls of cold water
- A tablespoon of cornflour
- Preheat oven to 180c / 160c fan / gas mark 4.
- Put a large pan on the hob on a medium/high heat and add the oil and sausages. (Use a dish that is both hob and oven safe, if you have one, to save on washing up)
- Fry the sausages until they are brown on all sides, then add the onion and leeks. – Pic 1
- Fry for a few minutes, until the onion starts to soften, then add the rest of the ingredients apart from the cornflour. – Pic 2
- Bring to a simmer, stir well, and transfer to an oven proof dish if you need to. Cover with a lid or kitchen foil and cook in the oven for 30mins.
- Remove the lid, stir in the cornflour and return to the oven, uncovered, for another 30mins
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