Sunday 13 December 2009

Vegan Rullepølse

Vegan Rullepolse
2014 version

Wow, never thought I would be having this again! Rullepølse is a traditional Danish spiced rolled meat but as the first step in making this is going to your butchers and asking for a side of a cow, definitely not vegan!! We always had it at Christmas served like above on white bread rolls and dill pickle. It's so good and the one area I ever felt 'guilt' at with becoming vegetarian, as my mom taught me how to make it as passed down from my great grandparents. Well, I shall be carrying on the family tradition as this worked beautifully!

Now obviously some changes had to be made, the 'meat' here is seitan - a perfect substitute for the meat as it is traditionally cooked by boiling in a brine - just like rullepølse.

I basically kept the recipe for the rullepølse the same (my Great-Grandmother's!) but followed the instructions for the seitan for cooking. I also had to scale down the quantities as I was only making 1 large roll. As I wasn't preserving anything I excluded the salt petre and after rolling the log with the filling immediately boiled it in the brine then pressed it (as best I could without the special presses) while cooling. 

I'm so pleased this worked and will definitely be making this every Christmas from now on. It's very similar, even down to the texture of the 'meat' which I wasn't expecting. Brings back great memories!!

When the rullepølse is boiling in the brine that's when it finally starts to smell like Christmas to me :-) 

Vegan Rullepølse

Vegan Rullepølse:

170g vital wheat gluten
50g vegetable fat (shortening)
170ml water

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp white sugar
good grinding of black pepper

5 cups water
2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Additional Supplies:
Kitchen string
bamboo sushi rolling mat (not essential but handy)

First make your seitan, place the flour and fat in a food processor and process until the fat is really fine, you shouldn't even see it in there. Tip this into a large bowl and add the water, stir until it just comes together then dump out and knead gently for about 3 minutes. Add a little plain flour if needed whilst kneading but it shouldn't need any due to the fat in the mixture. Let it rest for 15 minutes then roll it out to a good size square, basically as thin as it will go as it won't roll out very thin. You need some patience here, roll it then pick it up and let gravity stretch it out, roll it out some more....I then cover it with cling film and place a heavy cast iron pan over top to stop it retracting. Eventually you will end up with a good size "square", about 10" x 10":

Now in a high sided pot add all the brine ingredients and bring it to a boil giving it a good stir. While that is coming to a boil make your filling. First add everything except the onion in a small bowl. Next, finely chop the onion but don't add it to the spices yet. If you add the onion to the spices too soon the salt will draw out liquid from the onions and you will have a big old mess! Leave them separate until you are ready to use it.
When the brine is nearly to the boil add the onions to the spices then spread over the seitan pressing the mixture down slightly into the dough,  leaving an edge to seal:

Rather quickly, roll this up lengthwise and give the edge a pinch to seal. Slice this log in half, take one half and place on a prepared sheet of cheesecloth and roll it up, try and leave a bit of room for the rullepølse to swell as it will whilst boiling, this will help when you go to press it later. Tie the edges with string and repeat with the other log:
The brine should be boiling away now so simply place the 2 wrapped logs into the brine, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes with the lid askew. I come back to it now and again and flip the logs with tongs. Make sure they are always covered with brine, if it gets too low add some boiling water to the pot.

After the hour remove the logs with tongs and place on a clean kitchen towel to drain. I now line a bamboo rolling mat with cling film, remove the cheesecloth and place the rullepølse on the mat. Roll it up in a somewhat rectangular shape and place a cast iron pan on top, pressing down. You may have to hold the pan on top but it doesn't take long to press. When the rullepølse doesn't spring back when you remove the pan then it's done. 

Transfer to a wire rack to fully cool and repeat with the other log. When at room temperature, wrap them up in cling film and place in the fridge to fully cool. These are even better the next day when the spices and flavours have time to mellow and mingle a bit :-)

Slice and serve on bread rolls with vegan butter, on rye crackers or bread, whatever you like, and I personally find dill pickles essential!


  1. Wow, rullepølse is the only thing I sometimes miss eating as a vegetarian. I MUST try making this this christmas at my parents! Thanks!

    1. Hope you like it Signe, I missed it too and it's so nice to have a replacement! I'm going to try another version this year replacing the fat with mashed beans as it'll be that more healthier. I'll update this post with that option if it turns out :-)

  2. Sounds delicious! Thank you! I'm definitely trying this for Christmas this year. I live in Ireland - any suggestions where I can buy the vital wheat and the vegetable shortening?

    1. Hi Nicky! The vegetable shortening is also called vegetable fat - I use Cookeen here which you can buy in any supermarket but I will be trying this with much healthier mashed beans, I think it should work out well. The vital wheat gluten can only be ordered online from the UK unfortunately. I get mine from and while the gluten is cheap, the shipping is not :-( But, I justify it almost primarily for this recipe, lol! Hope you get a chance to try it :-)


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