Recipe: Mushroom & Pearl Barley ‘Sausage’ Rolls (Vegan Option)

On our last road trip before lockdown we went to Bristol for the day, and before a very excellent, very late lunch at Little French I popped into Hart’s Bakery hidden away in one of the railway arches beneath Bristol Temple Meads station. There I picked up a mushroom and pearl barley ‘sausage’ roll’, still warm from the oven.

Mushroom & Pearl Barley 'Sausage' Rolls
Mushroom & Pearl Barley Pastry Filling

As I wondered around the city and explored I munched my roll, the perfect balance of savoury, umami filling, flavoured with deeply caramelised onions and aromatic thyme, encased in crisp, beautifully glazed pastry. I took out my phone and made a list of the things I could taste, just knowing it would be the perfect thing to re-create this autumn in the build up to Bonfire Night. 

Now, I’ve made the filling for these rolls totally vegan so they can be vegan adaptable if you are that way inclined. Just switch out the all butter puff pastry for regular (which just so happens to be vegan) and instead of finishing your ‘sausage’ rolls with an egg wash, brush them with a little nut milk instead.

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Mushroom & Pearl Barley ‘Sausage’ Rolls (Vegan Option)

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes (plus chilling time)
  • Yield: Makes 4
  • Category: Lunch
  • Cuisine: British
  • Diet: Vegetarian


A delicious, veggie alternative to a classic sausage roll packed with mixed mushrooms, caramalised onions and toothsome pearl barley. Easily made vegan by subbing in nut milk for the egg wash and by using vegan puff pastry.


  • 25g (1 oz) pearl barley
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • large glug light oil
  • 150g (5 oz) mixed mushrooms 
  • freshly ground sea salt & black pepper
  • 34 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 x 320g (11 oz) roll puff pastry (make sure this is vegan if this matters to you!)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten (or a nut milk of your choice) 


  1. Cook the barley in a pan of boiling water set over a high heat for 35 minutes. Drain under cool running water and set aside to drain.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and slice the onion into very thin half moons. Heat a generous glug of oil in a large frying pan set over a medium to low heat and cook the onions for 25 minutes or so until caramalised.
  3. Chop the mushrooms into roughly 1/2 cm pieces. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside before adding the mushrooms, a generous amount of salt and pepper and the leaves from the thyme sprigs. Turn the heat up to high and cook for 5-6 minutes until the mushrooms are soft, have given off all their water, and are starting to caramalise.
  4. Stir the coked barley and the onions back into the mushroom mixture and season to taste. Allow the mixture to cool completely – you really ought to do this in the fridge – the hotter the mixture, the harder the pastry will be to handle when you’re assembling your rolls! Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (390 fahrenheit).  
  5. Divide the pastry into four by placing the pastry so its widest point is landscape, and by dividing it right down the middle in both the landscape and portrait direction. Spoon ‘sausages’ of the filling down the lower half of each piece. You’ll get less waste if you work right up to the left and right hand edges, but you’ll get a neater finish if you leave a bit of overhang to be sliced off with a very sharp knife at each end once you’ve assembled the rolls – its up to you!
  6. Brush the exposed pastry with egg wash or nut milk and fold the larger edge of pastry over to encase the filling, gently rolling the rolls over so the seam is at the bottom. Transfer the rolls to a baking parchment lined baking tray and brush with the remaining egg wash or a little more nut milk.
  7. Bake the ‘sausage’ rolls for 25 minutes until the pastry has turned crisp and golden. Leave to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before serving warm. 


Feel free to use just chestnut mushrooms for this dish, but you’ll get a better depth of flavour by using a mixture!