You’re either thinking, “Say what?! Vegan longanisa?!” or “WTF is longanisa?” after seeing the title of this post. Longanisa is a garlicky Filipino sausage made traditionally with pork. Some people liken it to chorizo. It’s eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or midnight snack and usually served with sinangag (garlicky fried rice) and fried eggs. For me, longanisa is kind of like an equivalent of frozen pizza. We usually had some in the freezer and could cook them up when we wanted something easy and delicious to eat. A lot of Filipino restaurants offer longanisa for breakfast. Uncle Mike’s in Chicago is one of them:
Longanisa is one of the things I knew I would miss after going vegan. It’s not just the taste of it. It’s like this connection to my culture, something I can mention to any Filipino person that will instantly bond us. We didn’t have it often growing up which is a good thing when you consider how fatty it is. Longanisa is like the frozen Ramen noodle for Filipino-American kids when they move out of the house and want something that reminds them of home. So, yes. I miss longanisa, and I had accepted the fact that I would probably never eat it again. But then, I decided to try and veganize it.
14 oz Gimme Lean Beef Style Veggie Protein
1/2 head minced garlic — came out to about 1/3 cup
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
safflower or olive oil, for frying
The following are optional:
2 tbsp flax meal
1-2 tsp annatto powder (to give the sausages a red color; I did not add this)
First, I minced the garlic and then tossed it in with the ‘meat.’ I set it aside and then mixed together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. I added it to the ‘meat’ mixture along with the vinegar. Then I mooshed it all together.
I formed the ‘meat’ into small sausages (about the length of your average breakfast link but with more girth… heeeheh… girth). I ended up with 16 sausages. I put them in the fridge to chill. I won’t comment on how they kind of look like poo. Oh, oops. I just did. Hmm… maybe the whole purpose of adding annatto powder is to make it look less like poo.
Traditional longanisa recipes call for the meat to sit in the fridge for at least one hour, preferably for over 24 hours. I couldn’t wait so I took some out after about 2.5 hours and fried them up in safflower oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes.
I made some sinangag and a salad of tomato, onion, and cilantro to accompany my longanisa. I have always felt like being Filipino and loving Filipino food would make going vegan an impossible challenge. I’m glad to have proven myself wrong yet again. Is the recipe exactly like traditional longanisa? No. But it’s a great substitute that I know I’ll improve on with every try. As a bonus, it has ZERO cholesterol. Who wants all that pork fat anyway? Gross!
Kain tayo! That means “let’s eat!” …. Melissa