Italian “Sausage” and Roasted Eggplant Sandwiches

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Italian Sausage SandwichesThe inspiration for this sandwich came from leftovers from other recipes – roasted eggplant and roasted plum tomato sauce from the sandwich posted here earlier and “sausage” I’d made to veganize a Christmas family tradition: stuffed artichokes (that recipe is forthcoming).  There is a ton of flavors going on and the tomato sauce and Vegenaise add the right amount of moist creaminess.  Again, you could switch this up to accommodate the leftovers in your refrigerator.   Use slices of fresh tomato if you don’t have tomato sauce.  Baked tofu would be a good substitute for the eggplant.  Do try the sausage, though.  It’s easy to make and the flavor and taste are a revelation.  Unfortunately, I cannot remember where I found the original recipe – but my thanks nonetheless for the creative author.

One Italian Sausage SandwichItalian “Sausage” and Roasted Eggplant Sandwiches
Makes 2

4 slices roasted eggplant
4 tbsp. roasted plum tomato sauce
4 slices Italian “sausage”
2 thin slices red onion
handful baby spinach or mixed greens
1 tbsp. Vegenaise
4 slices good quality whole grain bread

Sausage Ingredients (makes more than you’ll need):
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup TVP
1 cup dry red wine
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tsp. dried rosemary
4 whole cloves
2 tsp. tahini
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, finely minced or use a microplaner
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs or panko

Make Sausage:
Combine red wine, cloves, garlic (the roughly chopped clove) and rosemary in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 6-10 minutes or until liquid is slightly thickened (I ended up with about a 1/2 cup of liquid).  Strain to remove solids and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the TVP and the one cup boiling water.  Stir and let stand for about 10 minutes.  Then add the tahini, fennel, poultry seasoning, black pepper, minced garlic, cornstarch and strained wine mixture.  Mix well.

Cover and put the mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour to firm up.  When ready to bake, heat the oven to 425F.  Line a baking pan with parchment and if desired, form the mixture into 6-8 patties.  I simply spread the mixture onto parchment – it was easier than forming patties and for the purposes of this recipe, patties weren’t necessary.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the mixture is crispy on top.

Make the Sandwiches:
If desired, lightly toast the four slices of bread.  Slather two slices of bread with Vegenaise and pile on the greens, onions, eggplant, sausage and top with the roasted tomato sauce.  Top with the remaining slices of bread.

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