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I’ve been trying to eat less meat, which includes being full vegetarian five days a week on average. But back when I was more of a meat eater, breakfast sandwiches were my jam. That sausage, egg, and cheese – you know what I’m talking about – so good! The secret to making that veg? Lentils. That’s it. So I decided to try it out to upgrade my sandwiches and came up with this vegan lentil-pecan breakfast sausage.
I used to hate meat substitutes, but using lentils has changed my view on that matter. The texture is so good for ground meat replacements – thinks tacos, veggie burgers, and these sausage patties. I added in some pecans here for even more protein, olive oil to help bind everything together, and a dash of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce to add some umami “meaty” flavor.
With texture covered, it’s just a matter of getting it to taste like breakfast sausage. I added in maple syrup and brown sugar for that distinct sweetness. Then, I seasoned with sage, black pepper, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Last, a kick of red pepper adds that signature bite.
When you’re cooking these, the oven step is important, even if you’ll be eating or serving them right away. If you want to pan-fry them to brown them up, do it after baking. When flipping or reheating, be cautious. These are more fragile than their meat counterparts, and can easily fall apart.
The Best Uses for Lentil-Pecan Breakfast Sausage
My favorite way to serve these is as part of a breakfast sandwich. My standard is not vegan, since it includes egg and cheese, but you could make a version that is. Substitute tofu scramble and a vegan cheese substitute. I ate mine on my homemade sourdough bread, which I buttered and toasted. Again, to make it vegan, use a plant-based butter alternative.
Other ideas include crumbling up the sausage and using them in a scramble, omelet, or frittata. You could serve them as a side with pancakes or waffles, smothered in maple syrup, or even mix some into the batter! Around the holidays, use this to replace to sausage in your cornbread stuffing. Or use these to make a sausage gravy and serve over warm homemade biscuits!
Vegan Lentil Pecan Breakfast Sausage
- 1/2 cup Green Lentils uncooked
- 1/2 cup Pecans
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
- 1 dash Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tbsp Turbinado Sugar plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tsp Sage
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 pinch Nutmeg
- 1 pinch Cloves
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium saucepan, mix the lentils and a pinch of salt into 1.5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Drain and then add the lentils to the food processor.
- Add the pecans to the food processor, and pulse on high until the nuts are chopped. This should still have some texture, so don't fully puree. Slowly add the olive oil, maple syrup, and worcestershire while mixing on slow until incorporated.
- Add the turbinado sugar and spices, and pulse on low a couple more times to incorporate. If you are worried about over-processing, you can mix the spices in with a rubber spatula instead.
- Shape about 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture into half inch thick discs (about 1.5-2 inches across) and place on the parchment. You should get about 8 patties from this recipe.
- Sprinkle the tops of the patties with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch of turbinado sugar. Then bake for 15 minutes. Carefully flip each patty and bake for an additional fifteen minutes.
- If saving for later, place the baked patties in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat for 30 seconds in the microwave, and then follow the pan-frying step below.
- If serving immediately, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook 3-4 minutes until browned. Carefully flip and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.
- I only tried these with green lentils and pecans, but I bet they'd be delicious with red lentils or walnuts instead.
- These do not have the exact same texture as meat sausage, and they are much more fragile. If they fall apart a little, they are still tasty, but be careful when handling and flipping.