snausage review


updated December 2020

As a non-meat-eater, I'm not partial to "fake meat" as a rule. If I wanted to eat meat, I'd eat meat; I don't need a wheat gluten simulation of duck to make me happy. The exception is veggie breakfast sausages (or as we call them, "snausages") for which I have a weakness, mostly because sausage isn't about the meat, it's about the spices. Anyway, I've pretty much had all the brands, so some ratings. Note that I haven't eaten actual pork sausage since 1985, so don't expect any comparisons to real meat.

MorningStar Farms: the ubiquitous supermarket brand, and about as good as you'd expect from something so generic. Chewy tofu. Pretty much only any good if slightly burnt; I recommend frying the links in smoking-hot oil. The "hot" patties, which were better, are no longer available, and the "maple" patties are treacley-sweet. The best thing about these is the name; as my sweetie points out, they must be made with "Seitan" (English major humor). C+

Boca: (unobtainium) in my opinion the best of the veggie sausage lot. Links only, and only one type, but that one type is heavily seasoned with a variety of spices (including garlic, sage and oregano), and reasonably good however you cook them. Which is why, of course, they are no longer made. A

Gimme Lean: a play on "Jimmie Dean" these veggie sausages come in "chubs" which you need to slice into patties yourself, like "real" pork sausage. They've been "seasoned" with nitrates to give them that "real pork smell", which does make them taste "authentically" like bargain-basement cheap pork sausage of dubious ingredients and safety. D-

Trader Joe's Patties: these used to be pretty good, slightly better than MorningStar patties, but then TJ's switched suppliers to one who doesn't believe in seasoning their TVP and wheat gluten except with salt, and I'm pretty convinced uses cardboard as a filler. These taste like suffering. F

Quorn: Unlike all of the others, Quorn (a European brand) is not made from TVP and gluten: it's made from some kind of ground-up fungus. This gives it a nice mushroomy flavor, not particulary like meat but pleasant on its own. The links have a much better texture than the patties, which are a bit dry. B

Field Roast Apple Maple Breakfast Sausage: these are small and chubby like Vienna sausages. Good texture, but they taste more like sweet potato casserole than sausage, and they come covered in sticky goo. D

Amy's: you'd think the Queen Bee of vegetarian foods would do a better job on veggie sausages, but you'd be wrong. These are basically just Amy's Veggie Burgers, extruded into sausage shape. D-

Sol Cuisine: if I'd noticed that these were "wheat and gluten free" I wouldn't have bought them. The lack of gluten makes for a mushy texture, and they don't have enough spices. Otherwise not bad. C-

LightLife Sausage Links: it's lovely to find a vegan sausage maker who believes in using real spices. Too bad they're not any good at it. The links taste overwhelmingly of sage; their larger sausages beat you over the head with fennel. C-

Gardein Breakfast Sausage Patties: not bad, a lot like the Morningstar Farms patties, only with a bit of herbs and better texture. Probably the best general supermarket brand. B

Home made snausages: given the ridiculous price of veggie sausage — somehow TVP is cheap filler in a real burger, but becomes expensive when in a box by itself — a number of times I've made my own from mushrooms, onions, wheat gluten powder, TVP, whole garlic and lots of spices. Pretty good, but high-effort and I've never quite gotten the texture right. Also, I can only do patties this way, not links. B+

Hilary's Spicy Veggie Sausage: vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, corn-free, everything-free, these taste about how you'd expect: like cardboard fiber fill with a hint of Tabasco. D-

Beyond Breakfast Sausage, Spicy: like other Beyond Meat products, these have a better texture than most of their competitors, and even give off a convincing amount of rendered fat when fried. But the "spicy" is just hot without any particular pepper flavor; I'd have liked more seasonings to go with the capsaicin. C