Thursday, December 6, 2018

Baltic Christmas Day 6 - Vegan blood sausage

Day 6 of 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas brings a new contributor to the series! Author Sandra from blog VeganSandra is joining us today with a vegan alternative to the Estonian Christmas dinner favorite, blood sausage. The recipe first appeared on her Estonian site, and can be found in her English-language cookbook as well. Most recently published in English on, Sandra writes that the recipe has been a critical part of her Christmas celebrations since she first developed it six years ago.

Vegan blood sausage (black pudding) recipe + video

Today I'm sharing something really special with you. Ever since I've been a little kid, I remember eating blood sausages every Christmas. I really haven't seen a classical Estonian Christmas dinner without these holiday favorites. When I became vegan in 2007, I had no clue what to eat at a Christmas dinner. A little bit of quinoa salad and a smoothie bowl? Hard pass. I've always loved hearty dishes and if you have made my recipes at home, I'm sure you've noticed that. So I made lentil or nut loaves every Christmas and they were really nice. But I still craved something more.

In 2012, I invented this cruelty-free vegan blood sausage recipe. It's been popular on my Estonian blog, but I really wanted to share it with you, too. There are actually three people involved in this recipe. One blog reader asked me if I could create a sausage recipe with black beans. Then I instantly thought of making vegan blood sausages. The only problem at the beginning was to figure out what to use instead of the guts to hold the sausage together. My fiancé came up with the idea to use nori sheets instead. I was a bit skeptical, since I was afraid the taste of nori would be too strong but that wasn’t the case at all. They fit perfectly. They are black (just like the original sausages) and get extra crispy when greased and baked. So imagine crispy vegan sausages filled with delicious flavorful herby barley and onion filling and serving it with lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce, potatoes and gravy.

You can find this recipe and many other delicious vegan recipes for entertaining in my one and only English cookbook Vegan Dinner Party. And don't forget to check out more vegan Christmas recipes on my blog, including my other huge favorite - homemade seitan steaks!

Time: about an hour
Serves: about 8 big sausages

·                     10 heaping Tbsp boiled barley 
·                     4 Tbsp oil 
·                     3 onions
·                     a pinch of salt
·                     2 tsp dried marjoram
·                     1 tsp grated nutmeg
·                     a pinch of ground cinnamon
·                     a pinch of dried rosemary
·                     a few tablespoons of soy sauce to taste (use gluten-free, if needed)
·                     4 Tbsp all-purpose flour or other flour of your choice
·                     2 x 14 oz / 2 x 400 g cans of black beans or other canned beans
·                     8 nori sheets

Tip: You can use porridge made of raw buckwheat groats for a gluten-free version.

Watch how to make the sausages plus a delightful Christmas ice-cream cocktail:

Boil about a cup of (cracked) barley groats until completely soft. Heat up a pan, add oil and finely chopped onions. Add a pinch of salt and cook for a couple of minutes. Add dried marjoram, ground nutmeg and dried rosemary. Stir and cook for a minute. Remove the heat and add the pan-fried onion mix to the boiled barley. Drain and rinse the black beans, mash with a fork and add to the boiled barley as well. Add flour and soy sauce to taste (I used a few tablespoons). Now really taste the mixture. It has to be flavorful. Add more soy sauce, if needed.

Take the nori sheets and spread about 1,5 tablespoons of barley filling evenly onto each nori sheet. Turn the left and right side of the sheets inside (or skip this step and just roll the nori to make a longer sausage) and roll the sheet into a sausage until your reach the end of the sheet. Continue the procedure with every nori sheet. Put the sausages onto a greased baking tray and brush each sausage with a little bit of oil. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 400 F / 200 C. When they start cracking, remove the sausages from the oven. They are also very tasty on the next day when warmed up on a frying pan with a little bit of oil.

Thank you Sandra, for this vegan alternative to blood sausage! We’ve heard from other Estonian contributors to the series how big of a part blood sausage plays in their Christmas feast; now there is another option for those with a plant-based diet.

Sandra lives in Estonia in a tiny log cabin that she and her boyfriend built themselves. While she isn’t writing and cooking, she plays drums in a metal band called Neoandertals. The author of five cookbooks, her English cookbook Vegan Dinner Party is available on Amazon, and her instructional videos on YouTube. For more vegan Christmas recipes and menus, please visit her blog,

Stay tuned, tomorrow on Day 7 we have a round-up of Baltic social media that is sure to bring you some holiday cheer!


  1. Sandra's blog is helping plan a family Christmas Eve dinner and making the vegans feel cared for!

  2. And the gluten-free options are great, too!

    1. I agree, it's interesting to see how many requests there are lately on the Latvian food discussion sites for gluten-free alternatives.


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