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Vegan sausage involtini (gluten free)

A small skillet filled with vegan sausage involtini against a dark and moody backdrop

I’ve been on a real involtini bender the last few weeks. As a result of my current adherence to an elimination diet, grains are off the menu and eggplant is their stand in. First, I made the involtini from my cookbook using tofu in place of ricotta. Second, I made an involtini version of my enchilada dish (exact recipe coming soon). And today I’m here, sharing my next addition to the family, vegan sausage involtini.

A note before we continue: I have used regular cheese in the photos for this recipe. Not vegan, I know! This is because I can currently only eat aged cheese. Vegan cheese, as noble as it is of an achievement, often contains ingredients unsuitable for an elimination diet. So, because I’m not about food waste, I have used regular cheese.

Fear not, though, this dish is completely vegan, save for your choice of cheese. If you would prefer to use vegan cheese, go for it. Regular cheese? It works a treat, too.

Vegan sausage involtini (low FODMAP)

All in all, this vegan sausage involtini is FODMAP friendly, nut free, gluten/grain free and SIBO bi-phasic stage 2 friendly. It’s also quite reminiscent of a sausage roll baked into involtini format. What’s not to love? 

A tray of vegan sausage stuffed involtini in a melty cheesy bake atop an olive green table. A green plate sits to the top left of the image.

Recipe notes for your vegan sausage involtini

This sausage part of this recipe was inspired in equal parts by my vegetarian sausage roll and my vegan sausage recipes. If those are more your thing, nothing but respect. 

I have used coconut aminos in place of the sugar in this recipe to ensure it’s SIBO diet compliant. You can use light brown sugar or maple syrup here, if you prefer. The sweetness really is necessary to round out the ‘meat’ taste of the sausage filling, I promise.

Make sure you buy firm tofu – not semi firm and especially not silken. This recipe relies on the firmness of the tofu, blended, to create a filling that is firm enough to withstand cooking. 

For those without any FODMAP restrictions, I daresay you could add a bit of onion in with the carrots, and garlic with the spices. For FODMAP eaters, you could use some garlic infused oil or a little bit of asafoetida powder (which tastes like onion and garlic). Note that asafoetida powder isn’t allowed on the SIBO diet and it can sometimes contain gluten. Check the labels if you can’t eat gluten. 

A close up of cheesy vegan sausage involtini

A note on spices

There are some spices included in this recipe that are totally compulsory. They are responsible for the faux meaty taste that makes the sausage meat so good. They are clove powder, dried oregano and dried sage powder. Combined, they replicate a meaty depth of flavour incredibly well. Tarragon and allspice are important too (and I don’t want you to omit any of them!) but I understand that not everyone cooks for a living. If you can only buy 3 spices, make them clove powder, dried oregano and dried sage powder. 

After you’ve made the sausage filling once, you can play around with adding new spices as you see fit. Smoked paprika lends an interesting flavour, for example. I’m planning to make a Thai-inspired version with lemongrass, ginger and makrut lime, so keep your eyes peeled for that. 

FODMAP notes (as of May 2024)

Eggplant is low FODMAP in 75g serves. It remains low FODMAP in serves of up to 182g per person, after which it contains moderate amounts of sorbitol.

Coconut aminos without onion and garlic are low FODMAP in 5g and up to 53g serves person. After this, they contain moderate amounts of fructan.

Pasta is low FODMAP in 72g serves and remains low FODMAP until it exceeds servings of 97g per person. After this, it contains moderate amounts of fructose.

Firm tofu is low FODMAP in serves of up to 170g. In serves exceeding 175g, it contains moderate amounts of fructan.

A small skillet of vegan sausage stuffed involtini on a white marble backdrop

A note on cooking the eggplant

It has been brought to my attention that the eggplant involtini recipe in my book has a couple of omissions in the instructions. Sorry guys! The book was such a whirlwind of development, styling and shooting, it was bound to happen.

First and foremost, let it be known that you have some options with the eggplant. You can either slice it thinly and use it raw (a mandoline is your best bet here). You can also salt the eggplant and allow it to drain for an hour or so (this makes it more flexible).

Although I haven’t tried this, you could potentially microwave the slices. They can be pan fried, but they tend to absorb A LOT of oil in the cooking process, which makes the dish unnecessarily rich. 

Basically, you want any sort of cooking method that will steam the eggplant without needing too much oil. This brings me to my preferred – cook it in a sandwich press. A sandwich press is ideal here because it cooks the eggplant as well as quasi-steaming it. This makes it flexible in no time at all. 

Next! A note on the oven temperature. Honestly, anything above 180C or 356F is absolutely fine. You can cook it faster (200C/400F plus) or slower, depending on your time schedule. I always like to finish it off with a quick grill just to brown the cheese, but it’s not strictly necessary. 

If you’ve cooked the eggplant prior to baking, you’re really only grilling the cheese and heating everything up, anyway. Because the bake it vegan it could hypothetically be eaten raw! 

Cheesy vegan sausage involtini topped with herbs and served on a white marble backdrop

Notes for different blenders

The best way to make this mince is with a good quality, high speed food processor. I use a Nutribullet and while it’s definitely doable, it is a little tedious to get it all blended. S

On the note of Nutribullets (or anything without a steam valve) ensure that you let the mixture cool before blending if you’re using one. Because there is nowhere for the steam to escape it can build up and explode. Better safe than sorry etc. 

More vegetarian or vegan sausage recipes

A tray of vegan sausage involtini topped with melty cheese against a green backdrop

Vegan sausage involtini

Vegan/vegetarian, gluten/grain free, nut free, SIBO bi-phasic friendly
*This recipe uses Australian cups and measures. Use gram and ml for international accuracy.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Food Intolerance Friendly
Servings 6 people

Equipment

  • L31cm x W25cm x H6cm baking dish

Ingredients
  

For the involtini:

  • 3-4 large symmetrical eggplant

For the vegan sausage filling:

  • 40-60ml (2-3 tablespoons)* oil I used olive
  • 2 large carrots
  • 60ml (3 tablespoons)* sherry or red wine vinegar use red wine vinegar for SIBO diet
  • 60ml (3 tablespoons)* coconut aminos you could use 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup if you don’t need to SIBO diet compliant, see notes
  • 20-40ml (1-2 tablespoons)* tamari or gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspooons tarragon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground clove
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon miso paste I used a sweet brown rice miso paste but any gluten free one will work
  • 500 g tofu crumbled into small pieces
  • 60ml (1/4 cup)* olive oil

To finish the involtini:

  • 175-250ml passata (no flavourings)
  • Vegan melting cheese to finish
  • OR
  • Cheddar cheese finely and freshly grated
  • Herbs to finish with if you fancy them

Instructions
 

To prepare the eggplant:

  • Slice the eggplant lengthways into thin, even pieces that are about 1/2 centimetre thick. Cook the slices in batches in your sandwich press until it is nice and pliable. If you don’t have a sandwich press, you can salt the eggplant slices thoroughly and allow them to drain for an hour. See notes above on cooking methods. Once cooked, set aside until the sausage mixture is ready.

To make the vegan sausage filling:

  • Place a large skillet over a medium heat and add the oil. Once warmed, add the finely chopped carrot and cook for 10-15 minutes or until it has shrivelled and browned.
  • While you’re waiting, mix together all the remaining ingredients except for the tofu and olive oil.
  • Once the carrot is ready, add the flavouring mixture and cook for an additional few minutes until the liquid becomes syrup like. You might need to smush up the miso paste with your spatula to dissolve it.
  • You can add the tofu to the pan, or pour them separately into your food processor. Either way, add them to the blender along with the olive oil. If you’re using a Nutribullet you will need to wait until the mixture has cooled before blending.
  • Blend until the mixture is 90% smooth, adding a little extra liquid if you’re having trouble. Once it is smooth, decant the mixture and adjust for seasoning and spices. I like mine quite spiced, so I often add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of each spice.

To assemble:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/356F.
  • Take a large L31cm x W25cm x H6cm baking dish and spread a little passata on the bottom. This dish doesn’t need much tomato, so you can leave the bottom dry if you prefer.
  • Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of mixture into each eggplant side. Place the mixture on one end of the eggplant, and then roll it up into your little involtini. Place each involtini into the tray, seam side down. Repeat until you have filled all the involtini – the quantity should fit nicely in the tray. See notes on what to do with any leftover eggplant.
  • Top the snug involtini with a very thin layer of passata and a very generous layer of freshly and cheese. If you’re using regular cheddar, use the small side of the grate, because the fine shreds of cheddar melt a lot better and more aesthetically than thick ones.
  • Place the involtini in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden. I like to place it under the grill for a few minutes just to finish it off.
  • Serve warm. Involtini keeps well in the fridge for a few days.

Notes

  • See the body of the post for tips on cooking the eggplant.
  • See the body of the post for FODMAP notes.
Keyword fodmap friendly involtini, vegan sausage
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

4 Comments

  1. Recipe looks wonderful. But I’m concerned by the ‘generous layer of cheese’; quantities matter when eating a Low FODMAP diet……shouldn’t you be more specific?

    1. Hi Issy, cheese is low lactose even in high quantities. Monash detected only trace amounts of lactose in cheddar, which is the cheese I have specified. Further, as the recipe mentions, the original version was designed with vegan cheese in mind, which has no lactose at all.

      I don’t see the need to specify an amount of an ingredient when it contains only trace FODMAPs to begin with – I’d be here all day if I did that. If you have low lactose tolerance or a dairy allergy, use less cheese or a dairy free alternative

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is so yum! I’m totally loving the spice mixes in these vegan recipes that give them such a nice well-rounded flavour (shout out to tarragon and allspice). I sliced my eggplant slightly thinner since I used a mandolin so I filled each slice slightly less (used a small second tray) and it turned out beautifully 🙂

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