A vegetarian take on this typical Australian snack, our sausage rolls emanate all the flavour and texture of the original. Instead of meat, they are filled with a hearty mixture of mushrooms, lentils and carrots and seasoned with herbs. Serve these up with tomato or BBQ sauce for a crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Country Number 9: Australia
Well, well, well, would you look at that. We’ve made it to Australia, the country in which I (Nicola) was born and raised. For many people the cuisine of their country is something in which they take great pride. Often culture and tradition is tied up in cuisine, with recipes passed down through the generations.
In Australia, that is not exactly the case. I have to admit, I am actually embarrassed by what is considered a ‘typical’ Australian dish. Just type Australian foods into google. You’ll find BBQ snags (sausages cooked on a barbeque), chicken parmy (a rip-off of Italy’s eggplant parmigiana) and vegemite (a salty brown spread) listed as our nation’s finest culinary delights. Such a list does not paint Australia as having much gastronomic finesse.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Whilst we may not have many dishes that are distinctively “Australian”, the culinary game in Australia is incredibly strong. As a country with a vastly multi-cultural population, Australia’s food scene is a direct reflection of this diversity. The range of cuisines you can find in Australia is endless, with Asian, Middle Eastern and European among the most prominent. Modern Australian dining typically draws influence from these various cuisines, often pairing international flavours with local ingredients.
History of Australian Cuisine
Historically, indigenous Australians had a unique hunter and gatherer diet, drawing off regional flora and fauna in what is referred to as ‘bush tucker’. Since Australia was colonised by the British in 1788, agricultural products such as cattle, sheep and wheat were introduced and subsequently became staples of the local diet. Interestingly, the indigenous concept of “bush tucker” has recently been revitalised in Australia’s gastronomic scene. Nowadays, many trendy restaurants integrate local flora and fauna as ingredients in their dishes.
While Australia doesn’t have a huge list of its own unique dishes, it has developed its own unique brunch culture. Brunch has become somewhat of an institution in Australia. High-quality food and coffee are at the heart of this social rhythm. Cafes compete to serve up some seriously elaborate brunch fare (although the standard Aussie order will always be a flat white and smashed avocado on toast).
Thankfully, both vegetarianism and veganism have become very common diets in Australia, which means it is very easy to find a meat-free meal. While you will find far more to eat in Australia than what is outlined below, here’s a quick list of the “typical” Australian dishes that are vegetarian
Popular Australian Vegetarian Dishes
- Smahed avo- The most typical Australian brunch order, as the name implies, this literally refers to avocado that has been smashed onto toast
- Lamingtons– This classic Australian treat consists of sponge cake that has been covered in chocolate icing and dipped in desiccated coconut.
- Timtam Slams- A Timtam is a type of delicious chocolate-coated biscuit. A timtam slam is the brilliant concept of biting each end of said biscuit and using it as a straw to slurp up hot chocolate. As I am writing this, I am realising that Australians sound really strange. But please give this a go and you’ll see why we perform these seemingly bizarre rituals.
- Vegemite- Australia’s favourite salty brown spread. If you are going to try this, don’t spoon it out of the jar like you would nutella. Get a slice of toast, butter it, then spread a very thin layer of vegemite on top.
- Damper– A traditional bushman’s bread originally prepared with flour, water, and salt. The bread is typically cooked in the coals of a campfire.
- Sausage Rolls- Puff-pastry rolls typically filled with meat. However, it is possible to get vegetarian sausage rolls (like the tasty ones we made below).
Vegetarian rating of Australian Cuisine:
Making Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
Although sausage rolls most likely originated from the UK, they are a very typical Aussie snack. In fact, at just about every petrol station across Australia, you’ll find a pie warmer oven overflowing with meat pies and sausage rolls. They are very nostalgic for me, evoking memories of childhood birthday parties where we’d eat our body weight in mini sausage rolls and fairy bread (another strange Aussie (or as Floss claims, Kiwi) concoction consisting of white bread topped with butter and rainbow sprinkles).
Now, there is a variable scale when it comes to the quality of a sausage roll. For instance, the quality of the aforementioned petrol station sausage rolls is generally very questionable, and require a lot of sauce to mask the mystery meat flavour. On the other hand, go to a high-end bakery or café, and you can find yourself a truly gourmet creation. We are confident our vegetarian sausage rolls fall into the latter category (although it would be impressive if we could make vegetables taste like mystery meat).
What is in a sausage roll?
Despite the name, a sausage roll doesn’t contain an actual sausage. Generally, they contain ground beef, veal or pork. However, we have worked hard to create a vegetarian filling that has all the delicious flavour you’d find in a gourmet sausage roll. Using mushrooms, onion, carrot and lentils to create a meaty texture, even our non-vegetarian flatmate endorsed these as some of the best sausage rolls he has tried.
How to make sausage rolls
These sausage rolls are seriously so easy to make, particularly if you are using ready-rolled puff pastry like we did.
- Cook mixture of onion, mushrooms, garlic, then add in carrot, lentils, tomato paste and wine and continue to cook till wine evaporates
- Lightly pulse mixture in food processor then add in breadcrumbs, cheese if using and herbs
- Cut puff pastry into desire pieces, fill with sausage roll mixture, roll up and brush with egg.
- Cook in oven for 23-28 minutes, until puffy and golden brown!
Ingredient notes for Sausage Rolls
- Puff pastry- We used ready-rolled puff pastry for our recipe to save time, but feel free to make your own from scratch if you so desire. If using frozen puff pastry, ensure it is defrosted before using.
- Herbs- We used fresh rosemary and chives in our recipe, but feel free to sub for other fresh/ dried herbs such as oregano, thyme or parsley.
- Lentils- This recipe calls for pre-cooked brown lentils from a tin. You can also use dried brown lentils, just factor in the cooking time for these before you begin.
- Vegemite- We couldn’t make sausage rolls as our dish for Australia without the most Aussie ingredient there is- vegemite. If you can’t get hold of vegemite/ don’t want to invest in a jar just for this recipe (and fair enough, it’s quite the acquired taste), sub for a tablespoon of soy sauce. This will add a similar savoury, salty flavour to the filling.
- Vegan substitutes- These vegetarian sausage rolls are really easy to make vegan, and you won’t be substituting on the taste. Just make sure the puff pastry you use doesn’t contain dairy, omit the cheese and use a non-dairy milk to brush your pastry instead of an egg.
Serving suggestions for the sausage rolls
Vegetarian sausage rolls are best served fresh out of the oven, dipped in either tomato or barbeque sauce. In our recipe, we made 6 large sausage rolls which was substantial enough for a meal for 3. Double the recipe if you are feeding a larger crowd, or cut them into smaller pieces to serve as an appetizer.
More vegetarian appetizers to try
- Vegetarian Empanadas with Mushroom & Cheese
- Lentil Kofte with Tomato Herb Salad
- Vegetarian Dumplings (Aushak)
Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion (finely diced)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 200 g white mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 carrot (grated)
- 1 cup lentils
- 2 tsp vegemite
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup white wine
- Salt & pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup cheese (grated (omit if vegan))
- 1 tbsp rosemary (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp chives (finely chopped)
- 2 sheets puff pastry (ready rolled)
- 1 egg (whisked for brushing pastry)
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
Make the vegetarian filling
- Preheat oven to 190˚C (375˚F) on bake.
- Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add in onion and sauté till translucent.
- Next, add in garlic and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add in grated carrot, lentils, vegemite, tomato paste and wine. Cook until wine has evaporated, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer mixture from pan into food processor and lightly pulse so mixture is combined but retains texture (don’t let it turn to mush)!
- Transfer to a bowl and stir in breadcrumbs, grated cheese, rosemary and chives.
Make sausage rolls
- Cut sheet of puff pastry in half lengthways, then into desired amount of pieces. For 6 large sausage rolls, we cut our puff pastry into 14cm x 9cm rectangles.
- Place filling down the middle of each piece (lengthways) and roll pastry up so the sides meet in the middle. Use a fork to seal the sides together.
- Brush the outside of pastry with egg wash, then place seam side down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Place at the bottom of the oven and bake for 23-28 minutes, or until pastry has gone golden brown.
Did you make this recipe? We’d love to know! Tell us how it went in the comments below or tag us (@gourmetvegetarians) in your photos on Instagram.
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