Vegetable-forward sausages may sound like an oxymoron. But these unique creations from Seemore Meats & Veggies, co-founded by Cara Nicoletti and Erin Patinkin, are a satisfying solution for those who love their links but are looking to reduce their meat consumption. Wellesley native Nicoletti, who earned her chops over 10 years as a butcher, baker, and author, began making sausages while working at The Meat Hook, a whole animal butcher shop in Brooklyn. A fourth-generation butcher, she named the company for her grandfather, Seymour Salett, who was co-owner of Salett’s Inc., a wholesale and retail meat business in Newton, until 2002.
Nicoletti began to incorporate vegetables into her sausages because she was disturbed by the effects of the meat industry and meat consumption on the environment. Starting with leftover vegetable scraps she got at the end of every week from the greengrocer attached to The Meat Hook, she developed several varieties that were full of flavor and visually striking. They were an instant hit. It was “kind of like a puzzle,” she says, of figuring out the best vegetable-meat-spice combinations. Because vegetables are composed largely of water, there is a limit to how many can be used per batch before the sausages’ texture is destroyed. When she was making fresh sausages, Nicoletti was able to use up to 60 percent vegetables.
Her success selling her fresh, delicious, vibrantly hued sausages — and her introduction to Patinkin, founder of the bakery chain Ovenly — led to the creation of Seemore Meats & Veggies. It took Nicoletti about a year of experimentation before she came up with the perfect vegetable-to-meat ratio for the four flavors in the initial product line — Broccoli Melt, La Dolce Beet-a, Bubbe’s Chicken Soup, and Loaded Baked Potato. Because they come packaged, Seemore sausages are pre-cooked, which changes the math. The sausages are roughly 35 to 40 percent vegetables, 50 percent meat, with spices and cheese making up the rest (though Nicoletti says she continues to strive for higher veggie content). All of the meat is humanely raised, with no hormones or antibiotics, and certified by the Global Animal Partnership.
Delicious on their own, eaten in a bun like a hot dog, or incorporated into other dishes, Seemore Meats & Veggies sausages are available at Whole Foods throughout Massachusetts (four for $8.99) and, as of Feb. 14, at www.eatseemore.com.