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Substitute for pork Italian-style sausage?

I am an avid pork eater, but a good friend in our dinner party circuit is not. This has revealed to me just how many of my fav recipes involved sausage... When it comes to bacon, I can usually go for beef bacon with good results, but I am at a loss where sausage is concerned.

I haven't been able to find a decent pork sausage substitute. I have yet to find a chicken sausage that's fatty enough--they all seem to have the consistency of processed hot dogs. This is the same reason that faux meat (a la Morningstar Farms and the like) is typically counted out. I usually render the fat to cook with in whatever dish I use sausage.

So, I figure maybe there's an option (or product) that I'm just ignorant of. Anyone have any suggestions/ideas?

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  1. You can always impart sausage flavor with fennel seeds, rosemary and sage.

    3 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      I am not as much concerned with the flavor as I am the texture.

      1. re: PalatableSubstance

        Lamb sausage? That would be my choice - it has quite a strong flavor, though, and might not be a perfect sub for pork in certain applications.

        Wegman's used to make a fresh poultry sausage that was incredible - almost indistinguishable from pork sausage - but I don't know if they still make it (or if you live in Wegman's country). Are you near a store (either a higher-end supermarket or a specialty meat store) that makes their own sausages? I generally find these to be better than anything that comes packaged, especially when it comes to chicken sausage.

        1. re: biondanonima

          Wegmans still makes their own Italian-style poultry sausage in both hot and sweet. It's raw, like pork Italian sausage, and I find the taste and texture to be almost identical. My boyfriend doesn't eat pork, so it's a real help for me.

    2. Have you tried Aidells chicken sausages? They dont have a hot dog texture at all.

      1. In my experience, the pre-cooked chicken sausages always have a hot dog texture, but the chicken or turkey Italian-style sausage you can sometimes find in the fresh meat section is usually much better. They might not render enough fat to cook with though, even though the consistency is similar to pork sausage.

        I've also had some really amazing beef Italian-style sausage, but that was made locally in rural BC. Might be worth looking around in your area though. It was a different taste, but really good.

        Edit: Did a quick search and found this site where you can order Halal beef Italian sausage (http://www.midamarhalal.com/Product/B...). It's not cheap, but maybe you'd have some luck with shops or butchers in your area that sell Halal or Kosher food.

        1. I don't know where you live, but I have found a really credible chicken Italian Sausage at Whole Foods. My husband, who is a notorious chicken sausage hater, was surprised at how delicious these sausages were. Since I frequently have Muslim house guests, pork sausage is not an option when it comes to cooking all my family's Italian specialties. Also, you can get an excellent duck prosciutto made by D'Artagnan in the event you ever find yourself in need of non-pork Prosciutto...

          1 Reply
          1. re: roxlet

            Thanks for the recommendations. I'm in the DC metro, so access to Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Wegmans, and Dean & Deluca are not a problem. We've been getting our beef bacon at TJ's, and I find it to be overly smoky, so I am looking around for a new version of that as well. I am typically a fan of Whole Foods in-house sausages, however, apparently they do not share recipes between stores (which we discovered when we moved from Boston and could no longer get our beloved garlic & herb sausages), so I'll see if our local store has the recommended chicken sausages.

            I also considered making a run to a kosher butcher, but they have been surprisingly hard to find.

            Thanks for the duck prosciutto note. That will definitely come in handy!

          2. Shadybrook Farms makes a very good turkey italian sausage. It comes in hot or sweet and it substitutes very nicely for the pork variety. They also make a turkey breakfast sausage that we like very much.

            1. Field Roast makes vegetarian "sausages" that are tasty and have good texture. I generally am not a fan of most fake meat products, but theirs is really good! I have several recipes where I've come to prefer their products over the real thing.

              http://www.fieldroast.com/products.htm

              1. I really hate turkey sausage...to me it has a bitter taste. Chicken sausage can be much better if fresh, but nowhere near as good as pork. However, recently a local supermarket has been selling fresh spicy veal sausage, and its very good. Probably about the best non-pork Italian sausage i have ever tried....I might not even notice that its not pork if I wasn't told.