It’s hard to beat a grilled vegetable, but vegans and vegetarians deserve something more substantial than portobello mushrooms from time to time. If you’re looking for an easy, vegan-friendly dish for barbecue season, look no further than cevapi made with your alt meat of choice.
Cevapi are Balkan case-less sausages, and like many recipes slowly perfected over the course of thousands of years, their magic lies in their simplicity. Some recipes are literally just ground meat — beef, pork, lamb, or some combination thereof, depending on the origin — and salt, but the cevapi I have personally known and loved also include a heavy dose of raw garlic and a little baking soda for a bouncy, juicy texture. There are no casings to fiddle with; you just mush the ingredients together and form them into sausages, which takes all of 5 minutes. Pop them in the fridge, let them hang out overnight, and they’re ready for the grill.
To make about 6 medium-sized cevapi (or up to 12 cute lil’ ones), you will need:
- 1 340 g package of alt meat (I like Impossible)
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3-4 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons cold water
To make the cevapi, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and thoroughly knead together with your hands or a flexible spatula. Roll the mixture into anywhere from 6-12 chubby logs (the ones I made are definitely on the bigger end), transferring them to a parchment-lined sheet pan as you go. Refrigerate the sausages, uncovered, for at least 3-4 hours, or overnight if you can. If you’re short on time, stick them in the freezer for an hour — you just want to set the shape and dry out the surface a little so the cevapi don’t melt on the grill.
When you’re ready to cook, heat a grill (preferably charcoal) or skillet until very hot. Cook until the sausages are nicely charred all over, or about 1-3 minutes a side depending on the size the cevapi and your heat source.
Serve immediately with anything that sounds good. I picked up some lepinja (a soft, squishy, round flatbread), ajvar (roasted red pepper spread), onions, and sour cream from a local Balkan restaurant to keep it traditional, but these would taste just as great in a hot dog bun with mustard and sauerkraut. However you choose to top your cevapi, they’re sure to be a huge hit at any outdoor party this summer.