THIS recipe for healthy sausage rolls is the easiest thing under the sun and it’s a great way to get any amount of vegetables you can think of into your kids. It’s based on the premise that kids will eat anything if it’s wrapped in pastry. Well, mine will. I made these sausage rolls for our sleepover recently and it was a huge hit. Give them a go and you’ll be amazed at how great they are and at how much the kids love them. And at how easy they are to make.
Don’t be afraid. This healthy sausage roll recipe doesn’t taste like a mouthful of vegetables. This healthy sausage roll recipe makes sausage rolls that taste yummy. And the thing I love about this recipe is that you can adapt it to include anything you’ve got in the fridge.
Credit where credit is due
I should share at this point, my friend Kate was the reason I first made my own batch of sausage rolls. They always seemed too hard to me, but Kate’s a great cook and she used to bring her magical, delicious sausage rolls to the park every Friday afternoon for our mandatory weekly de-brief. Kate and I have six kids between us, so by the time we get to Friday, with a week of successfully getting kids fed, dressed and off to school behind us, we feel we’re in dire need of a de-brief. So every Friday afternoon, straight after school, we’re at the park. The kids run around and get rid of the week’s school stresses, and we mums bring food to share at the communal table. Usually it’s a sausage on a piece of bread cooked on the barbecue at the park, but for a long time Kate’s contribution was these fantastic sausage rolls. We’ve been doing our Friday park tradition for almost four years and it’s one of my favourite traditions in the whole world. We’re often joined by friends Yvette (with her three kids), Carley (with her two) and Tanya (with her two). So when it’s food time the five mothers are feeding 13 hungry children!
Back to the healthy sausage rolls!
It’s a three step process – mix ingredients, wrap them in pastry, cook them in the oven. Simple!
Step 1: Tip 1kg of mince into a bowl. Can be any mince. Chicken mince is great, which I use often because too much red meat in your diet is bad for your heart and it’s also a problem for men with high iron problems. You can use pork mince, mixed with veal mince if you like. Yummy flavour with that combination. Or you can use plain old beef mince. I used chicken mince from the supermarket in this instance.
Step 2: Grate zucchini, carrot, onion, sweet potato, pumpkin, beetroot – anything you’ve got really. I used all those in this photo here, and the beetroot really gives it a reddish colour. Yep, tons of vegetables. Don’t worry, it won’t taste like a tofu burger.
Step 3: Add herbs and salt. On this particular day I added onion flakes, garlic powder, salt, oregano. Sometimes I add chicken salt. Sometimes I add chilli flakes. Sometimes I add sweet paprika, which gives it a nice, warm, smokey flavour. If you’re using chicken mince, a ton of coriander goes well here, along with a liberal dose of sweet chilli sauce in the next step. If you do use chicken mince, go heavy (and I mean pretty liberal) with the herbs and sauces. Chicken mince tends to be a little bland.
Step 4: Add sauces and an egg. On this occasion I added sweet chilli sauce, some soy sauce and some balsamic vinegar, or red wine vinegar. It’s pretty random and it’s fun to experiment with the different effects that you get. Crack an egg into it to help bind it.
Step 5: Add about a cup of oats, or breadcrumbs. If you don’t, it can be a little rubbery inside the sausage roll, and a little bit dense. This helps lighten it up. Trust me. I forgot to add the rolled oats once and they came out like dense little hockey pucks. Hubby thought it was hilarious. But – the kids still ate them! Such is the deliciousness of these sausage rolls.
Step 6: Puff pastry stage. Cut the sheets of puff in half width-ways and put a thick line of the mince mixture along the length of the middle of the puff sheet. This looks red because of the raw grated beetroot in it. The beetroot is actually quite yummy. This was the first time I’d included it, but it won’t be the last. Roll it up. Cut the length into about four or five sausage rolls.
Step 7: Put baking paper on a tray. I use a rack on a tray because I find they tend to burn if I put the sausage rolls on the tray. With a rack on the tray the hot air can circulate underneath the sausage rolls. I don’t spray oil onto the baking paper but you could. Put the sausage rolls onto the tray and brush the pastry with an egg yolk mixed with a little bit of full-fat milk. Pop them into a hot oven (about 180C) for about 15 minutes. Et voila! Delicious sausage rolls that are actually pretty healthy!
My kids will eat these, no problem. As I said in the introduction, my kids will eat anything if it’s wrapped in pastry.
Top tip: A tip that Kate passed on to me (her husband is a pastry chef), if you want the pastry to puff up, put the tray of uncoooked sausage rolls in the freezer for a few minutes before you put them into the hot oven. This helps the pastry really puff up when the cold pastry hits the hot air.