When I was still a meat-eater, my husband and I always enjoyed a crock pot full of juicy barbecue sausage balls. He actually joined me in vegetarianism upon his own volition a little over a year ago, so I can credit him for discovering the “sausage,” Lightlife brand’s Gimme Lean Ground Sausage Style, that I used it in this super simple recipe. I am perfectly fine without eating a meat replacement food, like soy sausage, soy chicken, etc, even though brands like Gardein are super and amazing, but sometimes it’s nice to mix it up and try some of the great meat replacements out there. Gardein does make a great pulled “pork” that is pretty close in texture to actual meat. Either way though, these are fabulous and you might (just might) be able to sneak these balls past a few of your carnivorous friends. ;-) The texture is different from regular sausage (of course, since it’s not meat!); it’s a little stickier, and there’s less “gristle,” as we called it growing up in Alabama. One of my very carnivorous and somewhat anti-vegetarian friends tried these made as sausage patties on from-scratch biscuits. He said they were “good” and “tasted like sausage without the grease, that is, if sausage didn’t have grease.” If it gets at least one thumbs up from a lifelong, dedicated meat-eater, then you know it’s pretty good!
I prefer things spicy, most of the time, so I sauteéd the balls with cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper to taste. The barbecue sauce I used is Organicville Original Barbecue Sauce and was found at Publix grocery store in the natural foods section. It has no added sugar and is gluten free! I find it hard to advocate traditional barbecue sauces because they are usually made with high fructose corn syrup. That stuff is known to spike blood sugar levels faster than my husband breaks a sweat from walking outside in the peak of Florida summer heat. I’ll save my HFCS rant for another day! This sauce uses agave nectar as one type of sweetener, which is supposed to have a lower glycemic index, therefore, causing your blood sugar levels to rise slower instead of like a firecracker exploding on the 4th of July. It tastes just like any other “original” barbecue sauce, but I feel better about eating it :-)
So, here’s my simple and yummy recipe:
1 package Lightlife brand Gimme Lean Sausage Style veggie sausage, cut into slices and shaped into 1 inch balls.
1/2 sweet yellow onion, sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup (or more if you like) Organicville brand Original BBQ Sauce
Cayenne pepper and ground red pepper flakes to taste
Heat oil in skillet on medium heat. When heated, add onions and stir fry until they start to cook down a little. Add the sausage balls, cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper. Sauteé until onions are cooked and balls are slightly browned on the outside. Once browned and onions are done, place into a bowl and pour the BBQ sauce over them and serve!