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Morningstar Farms Sausage Links vs. Johns All Natural

August 23 2011 - 10:32 AM

Sausagevsveggie I've always been of the mind that if there's something that is the equivalent of meat, why eat the meat version? I've also had many conversations, mostly with non-vegetarians, about how odd it is that so much vegetarian protein is in the shape of and named for meat products. Sausage is a good example. It's a ground meat product that is stuffed, traditionally, into intestine casings… is "sausage" appetizing for a vegan? Or Tofurkey? Veggie Burger? Riblets? Chik'n nuggets? My argument is that it's a cue as to the texture and taste and on a base-level people want what they know. The other argument is what can you do? A burger is a handy, literally, way to eat and cook and that goes double for tubes as well… but frankly (pun intended) "tubes" may be even less appetizing than sausage. The sausages in question here are the breakfast kind. they are both frozen, pre-cooked and should be available in your grocer's freezer.

Out of the box they both look as expected. The Jones has a formed look and Morningstar has a tube-look. When frozen, the veggies don't stick together while the Jones linkes do. Per link the nutritional info breaks down like this:

Sausbox Calories– Veggie:40 Pork:80
Fat– Veggie:1.5g Pork:8g
Sat Fat– Veggie:0.25g Pork:2.5g
Sodium– Veggie:150 Pork:130mg
Cholesterol–Veggie:0mg Pork:15mg
Protein– Veggie:4.5g Pork:2g

Granted the veggie wins in every category except sodium content and that includes protein. The only drawback is that the list of ingredients is long with plenty of them being processed… it's also not vegan as it has egg and milk products in it. Jones is simple. Verbatim "Ingredients: pork, water, salt, spices, sugar."

But I'm not here to rationalize eating healthy… It's not like I'm sitting down to a plate full of sausage. It's all about flavor. The Jones links deliver on the expected taste and texture. They'd do well with a savory omelet or topped with syrup next to pancakes. I can't say the same for the Morningstar Farms links. I do think they'd fit nicely with savory but they aren't very sweet and I don't see their flavor taking to syrup the same way.

I'm more of a casing fan when it comes to my tube-meat. While the Jones texture is fine, I do find it distinctly a frozen breakfast sausage. That's not a bad thing. I do get the hankering for hot pockets and frozen pizza (and the occasional frozen dinner, Eggos, Ore-Ida fries or tots, etc.). The Morningstar slices evenly but while it has more of a tube shape, the texture is very loafy. Also not bad but not expected when it comes to sausage. On the fork they're almost identical.But once you bite into the pork sausage, you get all the flavor that comes from the ingredients… it just tastes worse for you. Yum!

Bottom line is if I'm cooking up a spanish omelet or frittata with tomatoes and onions and peppers, I could go the Morningstar Farms route and would be no worse for wear. They might actually taste better than the conventional breakfast sausage. But if I'm adding a couple to a plate of pancakes and eggs, give me the Jones sausages and cover them with a bit of syrup. It's a guilty pleasure.

–Josh Brusin