I must admit I haven’t always been the biggest proponent of meat substitute. My feeling has always been that if you want meat, eat it, and if you want to be a vegetarian, don’t. But that’s a little too simplistic, I realize now. There’s more to it than that.
When I asked Mr. Ganz what he might want for Father’s Day breakfast, Sausage Biscuits and Gravy came up immediately, not just regular old SBG, oh no, VEGAN SBG. Whaaaat!?
Research was in order. Products had to be procured. This would certainly be out of my comfort zone. I looked at as many recipes as I could find, both vegan and animal-laden.
I picked the aspects of the recipes I liked most and cobbled together the following. I was skeptical that it would come together to become a tasty breakfast, but I held my breath and stuck to the plan. About 20 minutes later, we were rewarded with a breakfast that hit all the spots. The biscuits were fluffy and seemingly buttery (love ya, Earth Balance,) and the gravy was savory, studded with a flavorful sausage substitute, and rich and creamy in all the right ways.
Vegan Sausage Biscuits and Gravy
2 c. Unbleached, AP Flour
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Salt
1 tablespoon Baking Soda
6 tablespoons Earth Balance, small cubes
1 c. Plain Rice Milk
1 tablespoon White Vinegar
8 oz. “Sausage” (I used Twin Oaks Breakfast Sausage Substitute)
1/2 Small Yellow Onion, small dice
5 tablespoons Earth Balance
4 tablespoons Unbleached, AP Flour
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce*
1 cup Plain Rice Milk
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and spray lightly with pan spray.
Add vinegar to rice milk, and allow to sit for about 5-10 minutes. You’re making vegan buttermilk, you zany wizard!
In a medium bowl, combine dry biscuit ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in butter until you have small baby-pea-sized crumbs of floury butter bits. Add about 3/4 cup of the “buttermilk,” and stir with a fork to incorporate. You are looking for a wet dough, so add more of the milk-stuff as necessary.
Liberally flour your counter, and plop the dough upon it. Turn it over a couple of times to pick up a bit of the flour. Don’t overwork the dough, just make sure it’s not too weak to stand up to a bit of rolling, cutting, and transferring to a baking sheet.
Using a floured rolling pin, roll out dough to about a half inch thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter, and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush with remaining buttermilk. If you re-roll the scraps, those biscuits will be more like “Flaky Layers” biscuits than “Southern-Style,” and are to be treasured equally.
Bake for about 12 minutes, turning once. Biscuits should have a lovely, light golden top.
While your biscuits are baking, prepare the gravy. Crumble up breakfast sausage, and cook over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance. Season with worcestershire, salt and pepper as necessary. When the sausage is cooked through (try to get a few slightly crunchy bits, as it really adds to the sausagey-ness,) remove it to a bowl, and cover to keep warm.
Heat 4 tablespoons Earth Balance in the sausage pan. Add onion and cook for about a minute. Add 4 tablespoons flour, and whisk to avoid lumps. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the buttermilk, and whisk briskly! No lumpies! Allow to cook for an additional 2 minutes to thicken.
Add the sausage back to the gravy, and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning. If your gravy is too thick, add a splash or Rice Milk. I find that a couple turns of cracked pepper go a long way to accomplishing the Sausage Biscuit Flavor I crave, so keep playing with salt and pepper levels until you hit your mark.
Serve biscuits with gravy, and watch your husband’s grateful eyes well with tears of biscuit-related joy.
* Worcestershire is not, in fact, vegan, which means technically neither is this gravy, but it’s bad cholesterol I’m trying to avoid, and that remains uncompromised by adding a few splashes of England’s finest sauce. If you’re trying to be REALLY REALLY vegan, omit it, or use a vegan variety.