Vegan meat alternatives are everywhere nowadays and I am fully embracing them. I have so many positive memories surrounding animal-based products (that was until I went vegan) and I can’t be alone. I’m sure most vegans out there would say that they once used to enjoy eating meat.
Whilst I could no longer actually enjoy the taste of animal products, as even the thought makes me feel sick, I do love eating products that replicate the best bits of it.
For instance, many of my favourite non-vegan foods were actually processed foods, in that they had been made to look and taste a certain way. And one big example of that is the mighty sausage. I loved sausages. Mostly because of the way they crisped up on the outside and the different flavours added to the inside.
I would eat them on their own, mix them into pasta, make them into a sandwich, and cook them inside vats of Yorkshire pudding mix. And one of my favourite sausages to eat was chorizo.
What is chorizo?
Chorizo is a type of cured sausage that originates from Spain and Portugal but is also very prominent in Latin American countries. It is usually made up of coarsely chopped pork meat and then mixed with paprika and garlic. It is left to dry and cure.
It is quite a smoky sausage and was a firm favourite of mine pre-vegan.
What is a good vegan chorizo alternative?
I have found many vegan chorizo sausages to be overly spiced with paprika, making them taste like, you guessed it, paprika. So I’ve been living pretty much chorizo-less since going vegan. That was until Heura hit the shelves recently.
They are a Spanish company, so they know a thing or two about chorizo. And you can tell when eating their vegan chorizo sausages.
They crisp up nicely on the outside when cooked, due to their vegan-friendly casing, and the inside has a really well-balanced spicing.
Heura’s vegan chorizo sausages
My favourite vegan chorizo sausages are made by a Spanish company, Heura. These work perfectly in this spicy pasta dish, but also taste great in a sandwich or simply cooked in red wine.
What does vegan chorizo go well with?
There are so many things that vegan chorizo will pair up nicely with. You could slice it up and use it as a pizza topping or as a taco filling. You could also add fried chunks inside a chunky tomato and bean soup.
One of my favourite ways to eat vegan chorizo sausages is with pasta. It may not be very traditional, but it is very tasty. It also makes for a really easy weeknight meal and is both nutritious and really tasty.
I’ll go into more detail about my chosen combinations.
Roasted red peppers
The paprika spice of the vegan chorizo sausage pairs really nicely with red peppers. Paprika is actually made by grinding dried red peppers into a powder. So their flavour profiles are very similar but they complement each other well. I see it like eating hummus with falafel, the winning chickpea combo.
When you roast red peppers you really bring out their flavour. It also softens up the flesh ready for blending. Just make sure to remove the crinkly skin from the outside of the peppers before blending to achieve a smoother sauce.
Okay, okay, this probably isn’t the most traditional way to eat chorizo, nor vegan chorizo. But pre-vegan I used to love mixing sausages into my pasta dishes and after trying out this vegan chorizo by Heura, I knew it would work really nicely with both the roasted red peppers and pasta.
I use gluten-free pasta which works perfectly for me. Heura’s chorizo sausages are also gluten-free, so you can enjoy an entirely gluten-free meal!
How do you make vegan chorizo pasta?
This is a really simple dish to create. It requires a blender, a roasting tray and some saucepans. Below I have gone into each step in more detail:
1. Roast the peppers
You will want to start by roasting the red peppers with oil, garlic cloves (skin on) and chilli. If you don’t like spicy food you can leave out the chilli, or make sure to only add in the amount of chilli you can tolerate.
Get the oven really hot and add in your peppers. They’ll take about 20 minutes to roast. You should start seeing the outer skin start to blacken around the edges.
Take them out of the oven and leave them to cool. Unless you have asbestos hands and you can remove the outer skin straight away, which I really wouldn’t recommend doing yet.
2. Cook your pasta
Start cooking your pasta. As much as I’d love to hold your hand through this process I don’t know which pasta you are using. So follow the instructions on the packet.
My one top tip, use a large saucepan so that there is a large gap between the pasta and the top of the water. This will allow you to keep it on a rolling boil without all the water disappearing. Also, add a really large pinch of salt. If you don’t add enough then you won’t taste it on the cooked pasta.
Whilst it is cooking away you should start prepping the vegan chorizo.
3. Prepare the vegan chorizo
Slice your vegan chorizo up into bitesize chunks. Heat up a non-stick frying pan on medium to high heat with some oil. Fry off the chunks for about 4 minutes, until the skin on the sausages has browned and gone crispy.
You’ll then want to set aside for a moment whilst you start working on your sauce.
4. Blend the peppers into a sauce
Now your peppers have cooled somewhat you can remove the skins from the outside and place them into a blender with the other sauce ingredients. Blend it until it is nice and smooth.
If you prefer a chunkier sauce then feel free to only blitz it slightly.
Add the sauce to a saucepan to heat through. And then you can stir in the cooked vegan chorizo.
5. Serve it up
It is time to get creative. You can mix up your cooked pasta with your sauce and vegan chorizo. Or you can serve up the pasta with a dollop of sauce on top.
You could even whack those fancy round metal rings out and see if you can make it perfectly round on the plate.
Whatever floats your boat!
Vegan chorizo pasta recipe with roasted red pepper sauce
- 2 portions Gluten-free pasta - or gluten pasta if preferred
Prepare the sauce
- Heat up your oven to 200° (fan)
- Halve your red peppers and place into a baking tray2 Red peppers
- Add in the chilli and the two garlic cloves with their skin on2 cloves Garlic, 1 small Red chilli
- Drizzle over the oil, season, and rub everything in properly with your hands1 tbsp Rapeseed oil, Salt, Black pepper
- Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until you start to see the skin blacken around the edges of the pepper
- Take the peppers out of the oven and leave to cool
Cook your pasta
- Start cooking your pasta according to packet instructions, and then begin on preparing the chorizo as it cooks2 portions Gluten-free pasta
Prepare the chorizo
- Cut up the Heura chorizo sausages into bitesize chunks4 Heura Chorizo Sausages
- Heat up a frying pan on a medium to high heat with the 1 tsp Rapeseed oil1 tsp Rapeseed oil
- Cook off the sausages for about 4 minutes, until they are nicely browned on the outside
- Take the sausages off the heat
Finish the sauce
- Peel off the skin from the garlic cloves and from the tops of the roasted red peppers and place into your blender with the roasted chillies, passata, and dried herbs1 tsp Fines herbes, 100 ml Passata
- Blend the mix until it is nice and smooth
- Pour the mix out into a saucepan to heat it through and then drop in the cooked sausages and heat through for one minute
Serve it up
- Drain your cooked pasta
- Either plate up your pasta and dollop the sauce on top or mix the cooked pasta through the sauce (my preferred method)