Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
Vegetarian sausage rolls are one of our favourite family recipes to have as a standby in the freezer, ready to cook from frozen. For snacks, picnics, breakfast-on-the-go, the basis of a easy dinner or a lunchbox addition - when isn't a good time for a sausage roll?! Now that the weather has already turned to shades of Autumn, this kind of warming and robust snack is back on the menu in our house.
Although I do also love a mushroom 'sausage' roll, this one is a more complete food with protein from the lentils (or chickpeas, if you prefer) and a range of seasonal vegetables included.
The use of a grater for prepping the vegetables, as well as pre-cooked lentils and bought puff pastry, mean you can have a large batch ready to freeze or cook within about 15 mins.
A note on the ingredients
As with most of my recipes, the ingredients are very adaptable to what you have at home. This is an excellent recipe to use up lots of bits and pieces from your fridge that could otherwise go to waste.
For the vegetables, I usually use a mix of onions, leek, mushrooms and carrot, but parsnip, butternut squash, kale, spring onions or even apple also do very well in this recipe. Approx 400g unpeeled weight in total is perfect.
For the cheese, you can use one type or combine a few leftover end pieces. Strongly flavoured hard cheese like a vintage cheddar or smoked cheese work very well, but grated parmesan, mozzarella, standard cheddar or halloumi are also great additions.
If you'd prefer to watch than to read, you can also see this recipe on one of my lockdown cookery sessions on IGTV here (although be warned, my kids do interrupt a few times!!)
1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
400g Mixed Vegetables - for example onion, leek, mushroom and carrot
1 x400g tin cooked green or brown lentils, or chickpeas
50g Grated hard cheese (cheddar / parmesan / pecorino)
1/2 vegetable stock cube
Salt & Black Pepper (optional)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
320g Pack ready rolled puff pastry
A little milk or beaten egg for brushing
2 tsps of sesame seeds (optional)
First prep the vegetables. Peel if needed and either dice very finely or ideally use a grater. A grater will make quick work of onion, mushroom, carrot and more, but best to use a sharp knife for leek.
Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan or saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and/or leek first and sautee for 5 mins, Gradually add the rest of the prepared vegetables and stir well. Crumble in the vegetable stock cube plus add the smoked paprika, thyme and a little salt and pepper, if desired. Cook the vegetables for about 10 mins, stirring often. The purpose of this step is to soften the vegetables as well as reduce the moisture. If the vegetables remain too wet, your sausage rolls will have soggy bottoms! Stir often as the vegetable mixture will begin to stick as it dries out.
Remove the cooked vegetable mixture to a mixing bowl and leave to cool for a little while.
Meanwhile, open the tin of lentils or chickpeas and drain well. For lentils, it is best to remove as much moisture as possible by squeezing any extra liquid out either through a sieve or with your hands. Add the drained lentils to the mixing bowl. If using chickpeas, drain and mash with a potato masher before adding to the mixing bowl. Grate the cheese also and add to the vegetable lentil mixture, once it is pretty well cooled.
Now it is time to assemble the sausage rolls. Unroll the sheet of puff pastry and cut in half lengthways to give two long pieces. Spoon half the mixture evenly down the centre of one strip of pastry, and then do the same on the other side.
Brush a little milk or beaten egg down one side of each of the pastry strips. Carefully fold the strip across the filling and seal on one side, using a fork to press down the pastry.
Once you have done this on both pastry strips, it is time to cut the sausage rolls. I prefer to slice into small pieces about 1inch thick. You can make them larger if you like, but just be careful to increase the oven cooking time a bit to compensate.
When the sausage rolls are sliced, brush them with a little more milk or egg to glaze, and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. To cook straight away, place the sausage rolls well spaced out on a non-stick baking tray in to an oven preheated to 180C (fan) for 10 mins (increase time for larger rolls), until crisp and golden.
To freeze: For best results, freeze raw. Flash freeze first (i.e. placed well spaced out on a baking tray lined with parchment), and once solid, place into a ziplock bag or tupperware container, seal and keep until needed. Cook directly from frozen, increasing cooking time by 5mins
Get the children involved!
This is a great recipe for children to help with, and are a great source of vegetables and vegetarian protein if they choose to eat them, too!
Tasks for young children:
Grating vegetables (onions might be too strong, so maybe do these yourselves so as not to put young children off!)
Picking thyme leaves
Measuring small ingredients - paprika, thyme
Sealing pastry with a fork
Older children may be able to complete the recipe entirely, with supervision