Deliciously historic ancient Roman sausage recipe

A journey through ancient Rome is a tale of epicurean delights. From street food to humble taverns to extravagant banquets, Roman cuisine was eclectic and diverse, just like the Roman Empire. To tap into this rich culinary tradition, we present to you an Ancient Roman Sausage recipe that has stood the test of time.

Apicius’ De Coquinaria is our window into the ancient Roman kitchen, and its pages reveal a variety of dishes that reflect the cross-cultural influences that shaped Rome’s recipe book. One such dish is Lucanian Sausages, also known as Lucanica Sausage. These sausages were part of the daily diet of ancient Romans and enjoyed popularity even beyond their borders.

Our recipe comprises a blend of ground pork and beef mixed with spices like black pepper, cumin, savory, and oregano. The addition of anchovy paste, fish sauce, and pine nuts adds depth to the flavor profile in line with the Roman’s love for strong seasoning. The recipe yields six Ancient Roman Sausages that can be served with a side of cabbage or as an appetizer at your next party.

Time-travel with us to discover the scrumptious flavors that graced Roman tables over two millennia ago with this Ancient Roman Sausage recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Ancient Roman Sausage
Ancient Roman Sausage

If you’re looking for a way to try something new and unique, then the ancient Roman sausage recipe is a must-try. The dish is an iconic part of Roman cuisine and has been enjoyed for centuries, making it a staple street food of ancient Rome. So, what makes this ancient Roman sausage recipe so special? Here are some reasons that will convince you to give it a try.

Firstly, the recipe combines traditional Italian sausage with a blend of herbs and spices used in ancient Rome. The combination of flavors results in a juicy, flavorful sausage packed with rich and pungent aromas. The mixture contains ingredients such as oregano, dried savory, black pepper, ground cumin, and black peppercorns that go well together to create a perfect balance of subtle flavors and spices.

Secondly, unlike many other modern-day sausages, this recipe uses pork belly instead of regular ground pork or beef. This gives the sausage its signature juicy and tender texture that sets it apart from the rest. Besides, using high-quality pork belly also adds a subtle sweetness to the dish that elevates the overall flavor profile.

Thirdly, this ancient Roman sausage recipe is versatile and can be served as part of any meal at any time of day. Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast option or something to spice up your dinner spread or just preparing the ultimate snack platter, this sausage is incredibly simple to make and can be served in various ways.

Lastly, this dish brings history and culture to your plate. By cooking this ancient Roman’s favorite street food at home, you get to experience firsthand the flavors of one of the most iconic dishes of ancient Rome. It’s not only about preparing delicious food but also learning about its origins and connecting with our ancestors past.

All in all, the ancient Roman sausage recipe is an amazing dish rich in flavor and history that you should definitely give a try; Plus it makes an ideal dish for adventurous eaters who are always willing to try something new.

Ingredient List

 Ancient Rome's favorite sausage recipe is finally here!
Ancient Rome’s favorite sausage recipe is finally here!

Here are the ingredients for making this ancient Roman sausage recipe that will transport you to the streets of ancient Rome:

Meat Mixture:

  • 1 lb (about 450 g) pork sausage, casing removed
  • ⅔ lb (about 300 g) pork belly, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried savory
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Flavourings and Binders:

  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup (about 35 g) pine nuts, toasted and finely ground

Whole Spices:

  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns

Optional Ingredient for Variation:

  • Cabbage leaves (for serving)

Gather these ingredients and get ready to create ancient Roman flavors with this delicious sausage recipe.

The Recipe How-To

Now that we have gathered all the ingredients, it’s time to get started on making our Ancient Roman Sausage! This recipe originated from ancient Rome and has been passed down for centuries. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create this delicious meal:

Preparing the Meat Mixture
Step 1: Grind the meat

First, take 1 lb of pork sausage and cut it into small pieces. It is best to use a meat grinder with a medium-size grinding plate, which results in pieces measuring about 3-8mm.

Step 2: Preparing the pork belly

Take 1/4 lb of pork belly and cut it into small cubes. Set it aside for later.

Step 3: Combine the ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the ground pork sausage and pork belly cubes. Add 1 tablespoon of oregano, 1 tablespoon of dried savory, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of pine nuts. Mix well until everything is evenly distributed.

Stuffing the Sausages
Step 4: Soak sausage casing

Soak your sausage casings in warm water for about an hour before use.

Step 5: Prepare your work area

Attach one end of the casing to a long funnel or piping bag; both should be clean and sanitized.

Step 6: Begin Stuffing the Casings with Meat Mixture

With one hand, hold onto the casing/funnel/piping bag while gently scooping meat mixture with another hand into funnel/piping bag using spoon. Move hand over funnel/piping bag to create packed sausage links.

Step 7: Twist the Sausages into Links

After each link is completed, twist them in opposite directions until they form two separate links.

Final step: Cook Your Roman Sausages!

Cook your sausages using your preferred cooking method until browned on the outside and cooked through on the inside. Serve hot along with any garnishes you desire.

Enjoy your homemade Ancient Roman Sausage with friends and family while sharing stories about ancient Rome!

Substitutions and Variations

 This sausage recipe goes all the way back to Ancient Rome!
This sausage recipe goes all the way back to Ancient Rome!

When it comes to substitutions and variations, this Ancient Roman Sausage Recipe is quite versatile. If you prefer a milder taste, you can replace the ground black pepper with white pepper. Similarly, if you are not a fan of fish sauce or anchovy paste, you can leave out these ingredients entirely. However, they do add a distinctive flavor to the sausage that was common in ancient Roman cuisine.

For those who cannot find dried savory, you can use thyme instead. The two herbs are very similar in taste and texture. Additionally, some recipes call for the addition of pine nuts, which were widely used in ancient Rome. You can either toast them for a few minutes over medium heat or leave them raw for an extra crunch.

If pork is not your preferred meat choice, you can substitute with beef or lamb for an equally tasty sausage. However, if you’re looking for something similar to Lucanian sausages, you must stick with ground pork and pork belly. If beef is used instead of pork belly, the consistency will be too dry.

Variation-wise, you can make different types of sausage by varying the flavorings and seasonings. For example, adding smoked paprika is a great way to give a smoky taste to the sausage. You can also create spicy sausages by adding chili flakes or cayenne pepper.

If you want to try something different with this recipe, try stuffing the sausage into vegetables like cabbage leaves or turning it into meatballs to pair with your favorite sauce.

Overall, this ancient Roman sausage recipe offers plenty of room for experimentation and personalization while still honoring the traditional flavors of ancient Roman cuisine.

Serving and Pairing

 Impress your dinner guests with this authentic Ancient Roman sausage!
Impress your dinner guests with this authentic Ancient Roman sausage!

Once the ancient Roman sausage recipe is cooked, it’s time to think about how to best serve and pair it. This sausage can be paired with various types of side dishes, from bold and hearty to light and refreshing. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

– Cabbage recipe: Lucanian sausages, similar to the ones used in this recipe, were often made with pig’s liver and served with cabbage in ancient Rome. Consider pairing your sausage with a cabbage recipe for an authentic Roman taste.

– Italian sausage: If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, try pairing your Roman sausage with Italian sausage. The two types of sausage complement each other beautifully, creating a flavorful medley that will make your taste buds sing.

– Grilled vegetables: A colorful array of grilled vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers or tomatoes will add a refreshing and healthy dimension to this meaty dish.

– Pasta: The ancient Romans loved their pasta almost as much as we do today! Serve your Roman sausage on a bed of spaghetti or linguine for a hearty and satisfying main course.

– Wine pairing: To drink like an ancient Roman, consider pairing your meal with red wine such as Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc or Shiraz. For a refreshing alternative opt for Sparkling water or a light beer.

When hosting a dinner party, consider serving the Roman sausage family-style on a large platter surrounded by the complementary side dishes. This way everyone can create their own flavor combinations and have fun experimenting with different flavor combinations. Enjoy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This sausage is the perfect way to travel back in time to Ancient Rome!
This sausage is the perfect way to travel back in time to Ancient Rome!

This ancient Roman sausage recipe is a great dish to make ahead of time. It can be stored in the fridge for up to five days, making it an ideal meal prep option. When reheating, place the sausages in a pan with a small amount of water and heat over medium-low heat until warmed through.

If you are looking for a longer-term storage option, these sausages freeze well for up to three months. Simply pack them in an airtight container or freezer bag and store in the freezer until ready to use.

When you are ready to serve the sausages, there are a few different ways you can do so. They make the perfect addition to your morning breakfast plate or as a protein-packed snack on their own. You can even slice them up and add them to soups or stews for an extra burst of flavor.

Overall, this ancient Roman sausage recipe is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in many different ways. With its ability to be made ahead and stored for later use, it is also an excellent option for busy weeks when meal prep is key.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The flavors of Ancient Rome are alive in this sausage recipe!
The flavors of Ancient Rome are alive in this sausage recipe!

To ensure your Ancient Roman Sausages come out perfectly every time, follow these tips:

First, don’t be afraid to experiment with different ratios of beef and pork. The original recipe calls for equal amounts of both meats, but adjusting the ratio to your preference can lead to a more personalized flavor profile.

Next, make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Use your hands to blend them well and ensure that the spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat mixture.

When forming the sausages, be gentle but firm. Don’t overwork the meat or pack it too tightly, as this can cause the sausages to burst while cooking. On the other hand, leaving them too loose can cause them to fall apart during cooking.

It’s crucial to prick holes in the sausages before cooking. This step helps release any trapped air inside and prevents the casings from bursting during cooking.

When it’s time to cook the sausages, you have a few options. They can be grilled, pan-fried or baked. Regardless of your cooking method of choice, cook them on medium heat and turn them frequently for even browning on all sides.

Finally, let the sausages rest before serving. This step allows the juices to redistribute inside, leading to a moister finished product.

By following these tips, you’ll have a delicious taste of ancient Roman cuisine in no time!


As with any complex recipe, you may have questions or concerns. Never fear! Here are the most frequently asked questions concerning the ancient Roman sausage recipe, and my expert answers to them.

Did ancient Romans have sausage?

During the ancient Roman period, sausages and meatballs were frequently consumed and served in various ways, such as being paired with a groat-like cereal or legume porridge or as an ingredient in more elaborate dishes.

What is Roman sausage?

To prepare the ancient Roman Lucanian sausage, start by grinding the meat and other ingredients together until they are fine. Next, add some garum, peppercorns, lots of fat, and some pine nuts to the mixture. Then, stuff the resulting mixture into a thin casing and hang it in smoke until thoroughly cooked.

Who introduced sausage making in Rome?

According to historians, the origin of sausages can be dated back to the reign of the infamous Roman Emperor Nero. It is believed that his chef, Gaius, might have created the first sausages. In the olden times of Rome, it was a traditional practice to keep pigs hungry for a week prior to slaughtering them. This practice contributes to the sausage-making process.

What was the first sausage made of?

In the past, sausages were made using only pork. However, as time went on, other types of meats also became popular and now sausages come in various meat varieties.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Ancient Roman Sausage Recipe is not only a delicious and unique dish, but also a living testament to the rich and diverse culinary history of ancient Rome. The combination of traditional ingredients such as oregano, dried savory and pine nuts with staples like pork and beef produce a delectable sausage that can easily become a staple on any table.

Beyond the culinary experience, making this recipe connects us to the past in a visceral way, giving us insights into the diets, taste preferences and even social structures of ancient Rome. So why not expand your culinary horizons and explore this fascinating chapter of the world’s cuisine?

Whether you are an avid foodie or simply looking for something new to cook for dinner tonight, give this ancient Roman sausage recipe a try. Your taste buds (and possibly your dinner guests) will thank you!

Ancient Roman Sausage

Ancient Roman Sausage Recipe

This recipe is the modern version of the Lucanian Sausage Recipe. The real recipe: From Apicius in a Taste of Ancient Rome Lucanian sausages... "Pepper is ground with cumin, savory, rue, parsley, condiments, bay berries, and garum. Finely ground meat is mixed in, then ground again together with the other ground ingredients. Mix with garum, peppercorns, and plenty of fat, and pine nuts; fill a casing stretched extremely thin, and thus it is hung in smoke."
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Roman
Keyword: < 4 Hours, European, Meat, Pork
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Calories: 536.9kcal


  • 1 lb pork belly, minced
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rue, see note
  • 2 teaspoons dried savory
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 6 (12 inch) sausage casings

Modern Garum Fish Sauce

  • 1 quart grape juice
  • 2 tablespoons anchovy paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano


  • Notes: MISSING INGREDIENT 30 bayberries. The zaar computer won't take it.
  • The original recipe read 1 tsp fresh or dried rue. The ratio of herbs is 1:3 [dried:fresh] You may also try 3 tsp of rue to 1 tsp of dried. Add to suit. ALSO NOTE: The fish sauce used is Roman Fish sauce NOT Oriental.
  • Next you need sausage skins or casings. Your butcher can supply you with these.
  • Process all the ingredients except the skins or casings. A food processor works.
  • If you are using fresh skins, wash them and preserve in salt. Again your butcher can explain what you need to do. Ask them.
  • Tie a knot in the end of each one.
  • Put a 1/2 inch plain tube in a piping bag and 1/2 fill with the mixture; do not put too much in at one time or it will be difficult to squeeze. Take the open end of the skin, pull it over the tube and push down repeatedly until the majority of the skin sits like a collar half way down the tube. Grip this with your finger and thumb and slowly release the skin as you squeeze the bag. Stop squeezing well before the skin runs out, leaving 2-3 inches of skin to allow for shrinkage.
  • When finished twist each sausage into 4 lengths or your preferred segments.
  • Optional but authentic:
  • Smoke the sausages. If you do not have a smoker:
  • This can be a fireplace recipe. Simply hand them above the mantle for several hours while burning wood. Use a BBQ also. Use wood chips and suspend 12 inches above the fire for at least an hour.
  • To make cut up and grill over medium heat.
  • When done the sausage should no longer be pink inside. Times may vary. Check a sausage to make sure.
  • Modern Garum Fish Sauce Recipe:
  • Reduce the Grape Juice to 1/10 of original volume.
  • Add 2 tbsp anchovy paste and oregano.
  • Use as directed.
  • Ancient Garum or Fish sauce Recipe.
  • Use fatty fish [i.e. sardines] and a well-sealed (pitched) container with a 26-35 quart capacity.
  • Add dried, aromatic herbs possessing a strong flavor, such as dill, coriander, fennel, celery, mint, oregano, and others, making a layer on the bottom of the container.
  • Put down a layer of fish (if small, leave them whole, if large, use pieces) and over this, add a layer of salt two fingers high. Repeat these layers until the container is filled.
  • Let it rest for seven days in the sun. Then mix the sauce daily for 20 days. After that, it becomes a liquid From: Gargilius Martialis, De medicina et de virtute herbarum.

Your own notes


Serving: 266g | Calories: 536.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 26.7g | Protein: 11.3g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 61.2mg | Sodium: 1017.2mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 25.5g

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