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 12-ounce 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.