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One of the most traditional Welsh recipes is the Glamorgan sausage (or Selsig Morgannwg in Welsh). This vegetarian treat is a great Welsh culinary pastime that is still popular today. 

A Glamorgan sausage is a vegetarian sausage containing cheese, leek, and breadcrumbs. It’s a Welsh dish from Glamorgan in Wales and is traditionally made with Caerphilly Cheese.

In the rest of this article, we’ll take a look at one of Wales’s most honoured and patriotic dishes and the history that makes it one of the longest-standing dinner-time treats. 

What is a Glamorgan Sausage?

The Glamorgan sausage is a traditional Welsh dish that is not how it sounds. This Welsh sausage actually contains no meat and although looks like a regular sausage, it’s full of meat-free goodness making this a perfect addition to your table for your vegetarian friends and family. 

This accidentally vegetarian recipe makes a small leek and cheese-based crispy sausage coated in breadcrumbs. It is usually rolled into chunky finger-size sausages and enjoyed as part of a full meal or on their own nicely served with a side of delicious chilli jam or tangy tomato salsa.

Glamorgan Sausage History

Originating from the Vale of Glamorgan in southeast Wales, the Glamorgan Sausage came out of a rich dairy farming culture providing a surplus of milk and cheese for the people of Wales.

There is a myth that the dish was invented in the twentieth century to encourage vegetarianism during rationing. However, we know this not to be true since the first mention of the Glamorgan Sausage was in the book ‘Wild Wales’ which was published by the English Victorian writer George Borrow in 18621 (source: G. Davies, A Taste of Wales, 1995).

A conflicting theory suggests that the original Glamorgan sausage did contain pork meat but there is no strong evidence for this2 (source: The Spectator).

It is said that the leftover bread and national vegetable, the leek, was mixed with the surplus ingredients to create this legendary sausage we still make today. The dish would have originally used Glamorgan cheese (hence the name), however, this is no longer produced because the ‘Caerphilly cow’ where this came from declined to almost extinction in the 20th century.

Caerphilly cheese is now substituted in the dish which is considered to be a descendant of Glamorgan cheese3 (source: WikiCheese). Other cheeses are commonly used too.

Since the second world war, this vegetarian recipe has not changed very much at all barring a few different herbs and a little seasoning making this one of the most traditional Welsh foods of all time. 

What Are Glamorgan Sausages Made From?  

The traditional Welsh recipe for a Glamorgan sausage uses one of Wales’s national vegetables, the Leek. Shredded and combined with rich Caerphilly cheese, herbs, egg, mustard, and some all-important seasoning, it is rolled into a sausage shape, dipped in flour and egg then covered in breadcrumbs ready to be fried in a hot pan of oil.  

The Glamorgan Sausage is made from basic store cupboard ingredients, most of which you probably have already, making them a great go-to for a snack or part of the main meal. Using very few ingredients you can knock these up in under half an hour using minimal ingredients while achieving maximum flavour. 

Although the name may trick you into thinking you are getting a meat sausage the Glamorgan sausage is completely vegetarian as there is no meat at all in the recipe. Very different from a Quorn or vegetarian sausage, the traditional Glamorgan sausage has something special that will make you want to make them again and again. 

Common Substitutes:

  • Strong Cheddar Cheese – A lot of people like to swap Caerphilly cheese for a nice strong cheddar for extra flavour. Lancashire cheese is sometimes used too.
  • Flaxseed – A common egg replacement for a plant-based diet. This works great in a Glamorgan sausage and helps to make it vegan without sacrificing the flavour. 
  • Onion – Swap out your leek for an onion if you are not keen on the Welsh vegetable, you still get the amazing flavour and is not too far from the traditional recipe.
  • Spring Onion – If the onion or leek is too overpowering, another common substitute is spring onions. They give a lighter flavour while still contributing to the taste. 
  • Cornflour – A substitute used a lot for a gluten-free diet is swapping your flour for naturally gluten-free cornflour. There is no difference in flavour and offers a quick and easy swap for various diets. 

Are Glamorgan Sausages Healthy?

No, Glamorgan Sausages are not considered to be healthy. Although fairly low in sugars, they reach around 310 calories per sausage with quite a high-fat content. This mainly comes from the cheese, butter, and cooking method of frying them in oil, which gives them the rich and crispy finish they need to be extra delicious. 

This being said, the vegan and gluten-free versions of these traditional Welsh sausages offer a healthier option with a less calorific final product. Using plant-based alternatives to cheese, butter and egg are often healthier and are more organic. 

You can also alter your cooking method to make them a little healthier by using such things as an air fryer (my top favourite), the grill, or the oven. If you are using these alternatives, you can use a fry light spray to make sure it still comes out with a nice crispy coating. 

All in all, these Welsh sausages are not something you need to steer away from health-wise. They include one of your 5 a day and give you some great protein while filling you up at the same time. Everything in moderation is always the key when it comes to food. 

Related Questions 

What Is Unique About the Glamorgan Sausage?

The Glamorgan sausage is unique because it’s one of the first vegetarian sausages. It combines many traditional Welsh foods such as local Welsh cheese and leek, the national vegetable.

What Meat is in a Glamorgan Sausage? 

There is no meat in a traditional Glamorgan Sausage recipe, making them completely vegetarian. 

Are Glamorgan Sausages Vegan? 

Although Glamorgan Sausages are vegetarian, they are not vegan due to the cheese, egg and butter used in the recipe. However, you can easily make them suitable for a vegan diet by substituting these ingredients with plant-based alternatives.  

Are Glamorgan Sausages Gluten Free?

Glamorgan sausages are not gluten-free as you need to flour your sausages before frying. Some recipes also include breadcrumbs which again are not gluten-free, however, you can miss these out and replace the flour with cornflour to make it completely suitable for coeliacs.

Natalya is a Welsh chef from the small town of Tenby on the south coast of Wales. With 17 years of experience as a professional chef, Natalya is passionate about Welsh cuisine and loves to use local produce in her dishes. As well as running her family-run business, Lemon & Lime Kitchen, she, and her wife sell their small online bakery produce on Etsy!