Proficiency in any field is tested when someone is removed from their comfort zone and left to deal with something unfamiliar. The same rule applies to cooking when you cannot find the original ingredient and are forced to work with its substitute.
When substituting vegetables might be more accessible, the work gets challenging for meat. As far as Italian sausages are concerned, the best substitutes are meatloaf, minced beef, and pork sausage. Vegans can substitute it with a vegan Italian sausage as well.
There is much more to explain, and we have elaborated on it in the following article, so let’s get started!
10 Best Substitutes for Italian Sausage to Ace the Taste
Most people believe that Italian sausages are irreplaceable and that you might not get that taste with any other type of meat. We tell you that it is not valid, and the following substitutes stand as proof.
Meatloaf and Italian sausage share the same mushy texture. This makes it easier for you to use both types of meat interchangeably.
Even though meatloaf is made of beef and Italian sausages consist of pork, you will find similarities in terms of taste and texture.
For example, meatloaf can be added to a stew, pasta, as well as lasagna due to its velvety and rich texture. It is tender as well as moist without getting too mushy. You can easily cut it through the knife without worrying about breaking it while picking it up.
You can season it with cracked or ground fennel to ace that spiciness. Since it is a versatile meat, you can incorporate it in several recipes, Italian and non-Italian.
2. Pork Sausage
If you cannot get enough of the pork taste and still want to find a suitable substitute for Italian sausage, look no further than the classic pork sausage.
Since both the options carry the same kind of meat, you will find the taste to be extremely similar. This will allow you to add pork sausages to several kinds of dishes like meat soups, stir-fries, and stew.
You can either grill, braise, boil, or pan-fry the pork sausage- as and when the recipe demands.
3. Minced Beef
Minced beef is a finely chopped meat that can be added to soup, lasagna, spaghetti sauce, or even meatballs. Since this meat is highly versatile, you can also prepare delicious hamburgers with it.
Before choosing minced beef as a substitute for Italian sausage, you must understand the difference between minced and ground beef. This aspect is necessary since people blur the line of difference and use it interchangeably.
Ground beef consists of other ingredients like soy and water, whereas minced beef is 100% beef. Ground beef has a firm texture, while the minced beef is quite soft.
If we were you, we’d prefer substituting Italian sausages with minced beef rather than ground beef.
4. Vegan Italian Sausage
In this day and age, vegan options are necessary. Even if we go by the numbers, approximately 79 million people around the world are vegans as of January 2021.
If meat is not your best friend and you’d rather prefer vegan options, we suggest trying the vegan Italian sausage.
Vegan Italian sausage is made with vital wheat gluten to make it more elastic and soft, which gives it a meaty consistency. You can add additional ingredients like basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, dried thyme, fennel seed, garlic, soy sauce, etc., to get the same taste as regular Italian sausage.
This substitute will not disappoint you in terms of texture or taste. In fact, with the right seasoning and ingredients, nobody will be able to tell the difference.
You can easily find a vegan Italian sausage in the vegan food section in a supermarket.
Bratwurst is a German sausage that is made with either beef, veal, or pork, with the last one being the most common.
Generally, it is made with pork as the dominating ingredient, with around 15% beef. It is seasoned with nutmeg, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and a raw egg. As far as the texture is concerned, it is coarse.
You can add additional seasonings as per your recipe and add it as a substitute for Italian sausages in dishes like pasta, casserole, pizza, etc.
6. Minced Chicken
If you are unable to find any kind of sausages, you can also make minced chicken work. It all comes down to your caliber of cooking.
Since minced chicken is lean meat, it has a bouncy texture. While buying minced chicken, ensure that it is borderline wet without being sticky or slimy.
Cook it till it turns opaque without any pink coloration. Since it will turn tender, you can prepare several types of dishes like meatballs, burgers, tacos, sausage rolls, etc.
If you are cooking for a special occasion, you can also try the minced turkey.
7. Minced Lamb
If you think minced beef is the softest meat, wait till you try the minced lamb.
The base flavor is gamey and earthy. But you can season it with strong spices like cumin and chili flakes to enhance your cooking. If you want it to taste exactly like Italian sausage, you can also season it with fennel.
Cook it till it feels bouncy. The smooth texture will make it easier for you to add to several recipes like shepherd’s pie, hamburgers, meatballs, etc.
8. Minced Tofu
We have brought forth yet another vegan option- minced tofu to replace Italian sausage.
Everybody might not prefer the texture of minced tofu. But tofu is not to be blamed since the texture is the result of the cooking procedure.
For example, soft tofu has a texture that will remind you of a pudding or yogurt. This works well in stir-fries and soups. But medium-cooked tofu will hold its shape and make it easier for you to marinate it.
You can use minced tofu by stir-frying or crumbling it. This process will make it taste exactly like Italian sausage.
9. Toulouse Style Sausage
If you are a fan of Cassoulet recipes, we suggest trying the Toulouse Style Sausage.
This sausage originates from the southwest of France. It consists of pork, salt, pepper, and other seasonings.
Not only does this type of sausage share the same texture as Italian sausage, but they also have similar tastes. You can make it taste the exact same by seasoning it with fennel.
10. Minced Soy
Last but not least, minced soy is yet another reliable option for vegans.
It contains vegetable protein that is textured to resemble ground beef. It is seasoned and flavored with soy. However, the taste might not be rich as per everybody’s standards.
But you can season it with fennel seeds, salt, pepper, and garlic to resemble Italian sausage. You can add it as pizza or pasta toppings for more flavor and texture.
Is Italian sausage available in the USA?
You can easily find Italian sausages in Walmart or any local Italian market. If not, you can take a regular sausage and season it with fennel seeds, salt, and pepper to get a similar taste.
What’s the difference between Italian sausage and pork sausage?
The difference lies in the type of seasoning. For example, Italian sausages are seasoned with fennel seeds, garlic, salt, pepper, and anise seed. On the other hand, pork sausages are seasoned with salt, pepper, and sage.
How is Italian Sausage Different From Regular Sausage?
Fennel seasoning sets Italian sausage apart from the regular kind. This licorice scented herb provides a unique flavor to the sausage and makes it more delectable and aromatic.
Can you use regular sausage instead of Italian sausage?
As long as you maintain the same seasonings, you can use regular sausage instead of Italian sausages. Such interchangeability can only function if you are able to recreate the same aroma and taste.
Is chorizo Italian sausage?
Even though Chorizo resembles an Italian sausage in terms of appearance and texture, you’ll find Chorizo to be spicier.
As mentioned earlier, it is not easy to find a perfect substitute for Italian sausage. But once you pick the right kind of meat and season it to perfection, it will be challenging to tell the difference.
Our favorites are meatloaf, pork sausage, and mint beef, out of all the options. For vegans, you cannot go wrong with vegan Italian sausage.
Choose according to the texture required and let your dishes do the talking!
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.