Hailing from NZ, I literally grew up on sausage rolls.
Every day, after school, I would walk home past the bakery to buy a sausage roll.
As you can imagine, its one thing I have really missed since becoming a vegetarian.
Sausage rolls are also a staple part of my Happy Tracks hiking menu.
They pack up small, provide a huge amount of protein and don’t need to be refrigerated for a few days.
So are perfect for lunch following an overnight stay in a mountain refuge (or tent!) in the middle of nowhere.
The only problem…..I love pigs too much to eat them!
This lead me to create this amazing vegan sausage roll recipe in honour of a little pig called Nestore.
Don’t worry! He’s still alive!
Similar to chimpanzees and dogs, pigs are intelligent, emotional and cognitively complex.
They have been proven to have an understanding of self-awareness and the passing of time, they engage in complex play and are able to recognize the meaning of head and hand movements in humans.
They also have diverse and different personalities! Nestore here is a real sweetie who loves all the humans that visit him at Centro Anida.
If you would like to understand more about the cognitive abilities of pigs, check out this research paper on thinking pigs.
Pork: the claim
Health websites often claim pork is bad for our health due to the presence of parasites.
Pigs typically have a poor digestive system and diet which increases toxins in the meat. This leads to diseases like swine flu, viruses and other parasites that have a high risk of causing cancer.
However, with the exception of cured pork, such as bacon which is cured with large quantities of salt. Pork, cooked and marinated the right way, is actually one of the healthiest meats for our body.
Pork: the healthy meat
High in protein and monounsaturated fats and rich in numerous essential vitamins and minerals pork provides our bodies with:
- B1 (Thiamin): essential for healthy muscles & nerves as well as breaking down carbohydrates.
- B3 (Niacin): helps to convert carbohydrates and fats into energy while maintaining healthy skin, nervous system and cell function.
- B6 (Pyridoxine): essential for the production of brain chemicals including serotonin (our happy chemical) and helps to fight disease.
Pork is also very high in the mineral, selenium, which plays a key role in metabolism and is an antioxidant that protects our cells from damage
So while the meat itself is not bad for our health. The way in which it is produced is.
The biggest health issue of pork, is factory farming.
Factory farming techniques are intense and inhumane.
Animals are kept in cramped and unsanitary conditions, developing numerous diseases like Salmonella, E. coli and pneumonia.
They are force-fed hormones to expedite growth, increasing fat in the meat.
Excess fat and hormones are detrimental to the human body and can lead to health issues, such as heart disease.
As sentient beings, the pigs live in a constant state of stress. And all of these elements are absorbed by us when we eat this meat.
Factory farming meat production also uses massive quantities of water.
2,000 litres of water for 1kg of meat.
This creates high levels of water pollution, and releases greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of all man made greenhouse gas emissions.
The key contributor to climate change.
Sustainable Pig Farming
If you do choose to eat pork, make sure it is from a sustainable source.
Buy from a local farm, or if this option isn’t available (check online you will be surprised), choose organic pork to avoid pesticides, insecticides and growth hormones in your meat.
Plant based alternatives
Often the biggest argument against vegetarian alternatives is a lack of protein and essential vitamins and minerals.
Below is a list of vegan options that can be used to replace the nutrients found in pork sausage rolls:
- Protein: lentils and quinoa
- Vitamin B1: seeds, nuts, brown rice, squash.
- Vitamin B3: mushrooms, brown rice.
- Vitamin B6: sweet potato and potatoes.
- Selenium: onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, nuts and seeds.
Nestore’s Vegan Sausage Roll Recipe
These vegan sausage rolls are high in all these vitamins and minerals, nurturing your body and mind with a mega satisfaction punch!
Once cooked these will last at least 24 hours outside of a fridge.
Here are my top tips for improved sustainability when cooking:
- Need a blender? Try finding one 2nd hand. I picked mine up from the side of the road. You can also try garage sales, local Facebook buy/sell or swap pages or ebay.
- Scrape that bowl clean! Using a rubber spatula you can get every last lentil out of the bowl. Saving on food waste and keeping wastewater clear.
- Use a bowl of water to rinse hands and utensils in between stages to avoid running the tap.
- Fill that dishwasher up and run it on ECO. Dishwashers use less water to clean a full load and heat their own hot water. Its better for your electricity bill too! Don’t believe me? Check out this article.