You probably heard of or tasted spicy Italian sausage if you are a spicy food fanatic. However, what would you do if a nearby grocery store or kitchen ran out of it?
Italian sausage is a famous pork sausage with garlic, fennel seed, and other spices. I usually use it when making sandwiches, soups, pizzas, and pasta dishes.
Whenever I run out of spicy Italian sausage, I search for substitutes, such as Spanish chorizo, andouille, soppressata, spicy pork sausage, Toulouse-style sausage, and more.
What is Spicy Italian Sausage?
Italian sausage, also known as Salsiccia, is a pork sausage containing anise or fennel as its critical seasoning agent. In Europe, other seasoning agents are used as well.
This sausage comes in sweet, mild, and hot types. The sweet Italian sausage consists of different herbs, like basil. The mild version offers a dominant taste of anise or fennel with an earthy taste. It has a soft and crumbly texture, depending on the moisture level, type of meat, and the ratio of fat to fillers, salt, and protein.
For spicy food lovers, hot Italian sausage is a popular choice. It has an addition of pepper flakes, making it spicy and hot.
9 Fantastic Substitutes for Spicy Italian Sausage
Italian sausage is an excellent addition to different dishes. It is made from seasoned pork and additions like fennel and red pepper flakes. It easily fits into various dishes.
However, Italian sausage may not be available in my pantry. So, I search for some fantastic substitutes, such as:
Are you a pepperoni fan? However, it is much spicier than pepperoni. Then, you will enjoy taking a bite of soppressata.
This sausage is often made with chilis and peppercorns. Although it still offers a milder taste than you expect from Italian sausage, it is a beautiful substitute. Since it is a cured sausage, I recommend slicing it thinly.
I use soppressata as an addition to antipasti platters and bake cheesy pull-apart bread. It is a great option when making Italian sandwiches.
Andouille sausage is commonly found in American supermarkets with roots in Louisiana’s Cajun cuisine. This spicy sausage has been double-smoked during the production process. This imparts a distinctive flavor and preserves the link.
I love cooking Shrimp with Grits alongside andouille since this sausage balances the assertive flavor with a milder flavor. Besides a generous amount of garlic, cayenne is added to the pork mixture. This gives andouille a spicy and sharp reputation.
This heavily seasoned sausage has a signature red color and large amounts of paprika. The sausage’s heat level depends on the chorizo and the kind of paprika used.
The traditional Spanish-style chorizo is famous for its versatility. I eat the sausage or dice it up to complement any dish. I suggest adding the sausage early in the cooking process. This brings out more flavor to the cooked dish. It helps liven up a pot of spicy seafood dishes.
Spicy Pork Sausage
Spicy pork sausage is another excellent substitute for spicy Italian sausage. Although the main ingredient of the two is pork, they differ when it comes to seasonings. Many think that the two sausages are the same.
Some spicy pork sausage variations use spices like paprika, chili powder, fennel seeds, or cayenne pepper to achieve the desired spiciness. This sausage works excellently with different recipes, such as stir-fries, soups, meat, stews, and fried rice.
This delicious Italian sausage substitute will give you almost similar smokiness, spiciness, and rich flavor. It contains beef, pork, and seasonings.
Opt for the pork version when using bratwurst as a substitute for Italian sausage because the taste has similarities. The spicy version usually contains cayenne or red chilis.
Minced Turkey or Chicken
Having no spicy Italian sausage does not necessarily mean you cannot cook your favorite dish. You can use minced turkey or chicken as a replacement.
I typically season it with pepper, salt, garlic, fennel, and pepper flakes. This gives me a better flavor than the traditional Italian sausage. It is also easy to make since turkey or chicken are always available in the local markets or for groceries.
Are you a vegan but want to achieve the same taste as Italian sausage? You can go for minced soy as an excellent alternative. Since it is not very rich in flavor, feel free to season it however you want.
To taste like spicy Italian sausage, add pepper, salt, garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, and red chilis. You can use minced soy in different pasta dishes as healthy toppings.
Also known as Saucisse de Toulouse, this fresh French sausage is made of pork, garlic, pepper, and nutmeg. Although it is not as spicy as Italian sausage, it is still a good substitute.
This sausage has distinct coarseness with a texture quite similar to spicy Italian sausage. Adding fennel seeds and chili peppers helps make the taste and spiciness close to Italian sausage.
Meatloaf is fundamental in American cuisine. This classic American comfort food combines ground meat, eggs, breadcrumbs, and seasoning agents. After shaping it into a load, it is baked accordingly.
It offers an enriching savory flavor and spiciness depending on the ingredients used. If pepper or chili peppers are used, expect the desired spiciness. It is also known for its moist and tender texture.
Like Italian sausage, you can use meatloaf in various dishes, such as lasagnas, pasta, and stews.
How to Make Homemade Spicy Italian Sausage?
You can make the homemade version if you find no spicy Italian sausage in nearby groceries. Don’t worry; the process is relatively straightforward.
Ingredients you will need:
- 4 pounds boneless, skinless pork shoulder cut into 1-2 inches pieces
- 1 tablespoon of toasted fennel seeds
- 30 grams of kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons dry red wine
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons finely grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 29-32-mm-diameter preloaded natural hog casings
- Combine fennel seeds, paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt in a small bowl.
- Grind pork at high speed into a chilled bowl.
- Add garlic and thoroughly mix with your hands.
- Add wine and knead until the mixture is very stiff and holds together.
- For a ¼ cup sausage mixture into a 3 inches diameter patty, press into the palm.
- Wrap the patty in a small foil sheet to form a flat packet.
- Cover and chill the remaining sausage mixture.
- Cook the patty in a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.
- Unwrap the foil-wrapped patty and cut it in half.
- Place the hog casing in a large bowl under cold running water.
- Pack a handful of the sausage mixture into the stuffer.
- Fill the hog casing firmly but do not overstuff.
- Tie off the end of the hog casing.
- Arrange links on a baking sheet and chill to dry out hog casings.
- Cut hog casing between links to separate using kitchen sears.
- Store the sausages in resealable freezer bags.
- Defrost before cooking.
Italian sausage is an excellent snack, appetizer, or a full meal with side dishes. It is also used for preparing pasta, soups, and stews. You can consider the substitutes above if you are out of Italian sausage.