Recipe: Vegetarian Nutmeat Sausage Rolls

How do you and your partner divvy up the cooking responsibilities?

More often than not, I’m usually the one who prepares our daily meals as we’re unlikely to sit down to the dining table until 10pm if K was to be let loose in the kitchen. He is a perfectionist with an incredible amount of attention to detail and will quite happily spend two hours prepping ingredients whereas I’m more of a haphazard “throw everything in” and can churn out a meal in fifteen minutes (Jamie Oliver, eat your heart out). 

On the rare occasion that he’s in the kitchen however, he likes to experiment with new food – these vegetarian nutmeat sausage rolls are an example. The rest of this entry is written by him – enjoy!

Even before my brother decided to go part-time vegan (I don’t even know…) a few years ago, I can remember him extolling the virtues of the various Sanitarium nutmeat products. He gave me the recipe for these nutmeat sausage rolls when I recently had to cook for my work colleagues, one of whom is vegan. Although I didn’t cook them for that occasion, my curiosity was piqued enough that I picked up a can of nutmeat from the health food section of the supermarket, determined to see whether it was a good substitute for meat.


Not being meat means you can eat it straight out of the can, something my dad mentioned was done when he bought nutmeat sandwiches from the old Sanitarium sandwich shop in the city back in the late 80’s. I decided to give it a go.

It smells peanutty, but has a dense, slightly spongy and springy texture. Looking at the ingredients shows it’s mainly peanuts and gluten. If you’ve had Chinese faux meat dishes, you’ll recognise the texture. The flavour was savoury but somewhat underwhelming. I was a little disappointed that it didn’t contain any other types of nuts (technically peanuts aren’t even nuts to begin with).

My brother recommended frying the nutmeat up first. To get it out of the can I had to attack it with a fork, and it came out in clumps. Despite having added spices to the mix before adding the nutmeat, a quick taste test made me decide to add significantly more to try and punch up the flavour. After cooking, I added the tomato paste and breadcrumbs to the mix. It had a good consistency – moist without residual liquid, and somewhat sticky.


It took me until the third attempt to figure out how to construct the sausage roll itself (the most important step, presentation-wise, was to wash hands before rolling the pastry!). Despite their rustic appearance, these sausage rolls turned out just fine too, but I’m a stickler for detail. 


And after baking:


You can cut them into halves after baking to better eat them. They also make a good snack straight out of the fridge the next day!


Overall, I’m happy with the result. The nutmeat is an interesting substitute for meat, although I think the overall mix needs some work.

Recipe: Nutmeat Sausage Rolls

(makes 6 long sausage rolls)

Quantities are approximate, adjust to taste or preference

  • 1 can of nutmeat

  • 2 onions

  • 4 small carrots

  • 1 sprig spring onions

  • 1 head of garlic

  • 1 cup bread crumbs

  • half a tub (2 tablespoons) tomato paste

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce* (omit if vegetarian)

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 pack of puff pastry (3 sheets required)

To make the nutmeat mix:

  1. In a wok or pot, brown onions and garlic.

  2. Add carrots to soften.

  3. Add nutmeat, spices and sauces. Break up the nutmeat with a spatula as it heats.

  4. Allow the mixture to cook for 10 mins, tasting and adjusting seasoning if required.

  5. Take the mixture off the heat and add in the breadcrumbs and tomato paste. Adjust breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet or dry.

  6. Mix well and continue to break up the nutmeat if necessary.

  7. Allow to cool.

To make the sausage rolls:

  1. Preheat the oven according to the pastry directions (for the pastry I used, it was 220 degrees Celsius)

  2. Directly after bringing the pastry out of the freezer, score it down the middle with a knife – no need to cut all the way through – you can snap it along the scored line with your hands.

  3. Lay out baking paper on baking trays and arrange the pastry on the paper.

  4. Grab a handful of mixture and shape it into a log, around the diameter of a 20 cent piece (1 inch or so).

  5. Lay it down so the long edge is about one centimeter from the edge of the pastry (not in the middle!).

  6. Repeat with another handful of mixture until there is mix along the length of the pastry. Make sure you “smoosh” the handfuls together, and flatten off the ends, since they’ll be exposed.

  7. Wash your hands of mixture! Otherwise you’ll get bits of the mix on the outside of the pastry, where they’ll burn. Since it’s a pain to wash your hands, lay out as many sausage rolls as possible.

  8. Bring the wide area of pastry over the nutmeat mixture, keeping it as tight as possible, without stretching or tearing. There should be just enough extra pastry to press firmly into the centimeter strip on the underside.

  9. To ensure the pastry doesn’t separate during baking, use a fork to lightly crimp the two sides of the pastry together.

25 thoughts on “Recipe: Vegetarian Nutmeat Sausage Rolls”

    1. In a baking tray, I prepare several sheets of filo pastry, brushing with a mixture of olive oil and butter.
      Mash nutmeat, add 1 finely chopped onion, a handful of grated carrot, 2 tablespns tomato paste, 1 egg, 1/2 reason mixed herbs a good grind of black pepper and 2 tablespns water.
      After placing well mixed ingredients into the pastry mould, sprinkle with grated cheese and a little tomato sauce.
      Cover with more buttered pastry and top with sesame seeds.
      Bake at 180 fan forced.oven.
      Serve with salad. Yum!

  1. I do all the cooking in our house Amanda except for Sunday morning bacon and poached eggs and barbeques! Thank you for the Nutmeat Sausage Roll recipe K, my daughter and I love experimenting with healthy recipes and this one looks very interesting. I’ll keep it in my back pocket in case I ever have a Vegan come for dinner.

  2. Just a note to be careful when choosing some ingredients. eg. Holbrooks Worcestershire isn’t vegan. It’s ingredients includes anchovies. ;)

  3. This recipe looks really great. Thanks for all the tips. I didn’t know Holbrooks Worcestershire sauce is made from anchovies. I’m a vegan so thanks for pointing that out.

  4. The nutmeat should push straight out of the can if you open both ends of the can,
    Also the way you have opened that can leaves the top edges sharp. If you leave the rim on the can and only cut out the center part on both ends you can then push the nutmeat out from one end. Thanks for the recipe, hope the tip helps

  5. Another tip is to cut it into slices, dip it in egg, crumb it and fry it. Not so healthy but quite delicious. Works even better with nutolene

  6. To get the nutmeat out of can.. open both ends of can and go around edges of top of tin with knife.. then push out.

  7. My partner and i eat nut meat now and again generally on toast and cheese with apple cider vinegar on it and fresh chillis we love it-but not the tin with the mince and gravy style in it its got a very funky taste to it-use an old style can openeron the tin then push hard with both thmbs on the lid and it will slide straight out

  8. Leave out the worcestshire sauce and source brag puff pastry and it’s vegan. I grated the carrot and it was nice and tasty, I would do it again!

  9. I was brought up in Australia eating nutmeat frequently. For the past 40 years I have lived in California. I would bring a few cases of it back with me, but now we can get it here in California. We used to have nutmeat sausage rolls for a birthday treat. Thanks for this tasty recipe, I have made them twice and they are a huge success.
    Nutmeat is also good just sliced into small chunks and put on a salad for added protein.

  10. Yes we all just open both needs of the can, loosen it with a knife then and push the entire roll out. It makes great rissoles. Just use any recipe and it replaces the meat. If you add Hamburger Helper you can’t tell the difference. I have used it for lasagna. Kids love it dipped in eggs and breadcrumbs. They like Nutolene done that way even better! We all love Nutolene.
    We all use nutmeat (or Nutolene is preferred by daughter no1 although it is not as attractive colour) as the meat in haystacks.

  11. I meant to add that if we do a Vegetarian sausage roll fundraiser, our MAIN ingredients are Nutmeat, Mashed potato and tomato sauce.

  12. I grew up with Sanitarium Nutmeat. You get it out of the can by taking off both ends of the can. We used to open both with a can opener, but now they are using cans with a ring pull. So pull that end off and keep the lid. Then use a can opener for the other end. From the can opener end, run a knife around the nutmeat scraping the inner surface of the can. Make sure the knife goes all the way into the can to the far end. Now use the ring pull lid to push the nutmeat roll out onto a plate. Push from the ring pull end, and it will come out in one neat cylinder of nutmeat easily and cleanly.

    Then, you can use it for this recipe, or…

    A quick vego meal is to cut it into slices about 1 cm thick, spread one side of each slice with Vegemite, then dip the slices in whisked egg and coat in breadcrumbs or crumbled Weet Bix, fry in a pan and serve with gravy.

    It’s really quick and surprisingly tasty.

    1. I believe some brands don’t include anchovies – see the earlier commenter Dennis’s comment. I’ve added a note to the recipe to include a warning though. :)

  13. You may want to edit this to include the preparation of the carrots. So far you haven’t specified whether to grate them, dice them or whatever -tho I know to peel and grate them anyway as my mum made nutmeat sausage rolls all the time when I was a kid.

  14. Try grating the nutmeat (first remove/slide out the nutmeat from the can). Cut the nutmeat in half, and grate each half on large hole grater. The nutmeat is then so easy to work with. Add the grated nutmeat into the wok/pot/frypan with the other ingredients (onion, carrots, garlic) that are being sauted.

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