Walnut Based Chorizo—why Not?

Plant-based chorizo doesn't always have to be made with soy or pea protein.

Food Business News reports that meatless sausage currently accounts for 34% of all plant-based meat items consumed. With all the products I see on the shelves, like whole sausages intended for grilling and breakfast sausages that have all the maple and sage flavors of the real deal, I'm not surprised. In addition to sausage links, tofu-based sausage crumbles have been going strong for years. While most vegan sausage is usually soy- or pea-protein-based, however, Food Business News notes that consumer searches for alternative versions on are the rise, with one notable contender: walnut chorizo.

"Sausage takes on a new form with a protein-packed walnut base," said Alon Chen, co-founder and CEO of consumer insights company Tastewise. "Walnut chorizo is an up-and-coming ingredient for sausage replication and offers high-protein content in tasty formats like tacos."

"Sausage replication" is a phrase I don't usually expect to encounter on a Tuesday morning, but each new day is a beautiful shining gem, and you never know what it might bring. A significant portion of walnut-based sausage is used in tacos, at 30%, with 82% of all walnut sausage being consumed in some form of chorizo. Other up-and-coming vegan sausage ingredients include things like white bean, edamame, and, and vegan staple seitan (the latter of which is used to great effect in the Buona Italian Beefless sandwich).

"Products that can emphasize both personal and planetary health will stand out in the crowded field," Chen told Food Business News. "Striking a balance of both will be important for new category players. Health and sustainability are increasingly linked."

Right now we are seeing what feels like a stunning rise in plant-based protein sources. Long John Silver's has been looking into vegan fish alternatives; new iterations of both Beyond and Impossible chicken will soon be everywhere; and Chipotle is working on a proprietary pea-based chorizo. Walnut chorizo doesn't sound far-fetched next to any of these. Before you know it, plant-based options will be even easier to sub in for animal products at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We'll just need to make sure they can become cost-effective, too.

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