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.
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I know meat substitutes can be scary, and I’ll admit, I used to hate them. 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.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find most of the ingredients for these vegan lentil-pecan sausage patties at your grocery store. If you want to use curbside pick-up or home delivery, check out Instacart to shop online from your favorite local grocery store.
- Pantry: Green lentils, Pecans, Olive oil, Maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce (vegan), Turbinado sugar
- Spice Cabinet: Sage, Salt, Black pepper, Crushed red pepper flakes, Nutmeg, Cloves
- Equipment: Sheet pan, Parchment paper, Saucepan, Food processor, Silicone spatula
How to Make Vegan Breakfast Sausage
Get started by prepping a sheet pan and preheating the oven. Then begin cooking the lentils. This can take a little bit of time that’s not active, so while you’re waiting gather the rest of your ingredients, and be sure your food processor is ready to go.
Once tender, drain the lentils and add them to the food processor. At this point, you can add in the pecans for texture and even more protein. Pulse on high until the nuts are chopped, but not fully pureed. You want some texture here.
Now add in the liquids: olive oil to help bind everything together, and a dash of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce to add some umami “meaty” flavor, and plae syrup for that signature breakfast sweetness. Mix on low until combined.
Then it’s all about the depth of flavor. Breakfast sausage is filled with delicious spices, and there’s reason the vegan version can’t be as well. Add in turbinado sugar for more sweetness.
Then, season with sage, black pepper, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Last, a kick of red pepper adds that familiar bite. You can pulse the food processor a couple times, or if you’re worried about over-mixing, fold in with a spatula.
Once everything is combined, shape these into half-inch thick discs, about 1.5-2 inches across. This recipe makes about 8 patties of that size. Place them on the prepared pan and sprinkle with a little extra red pepper and sugar.
When you’re cooking these, the oven step is important, even if you’ll be eating or serving them right away. This helps to dry out the patties, which helps hold them together.
Bake for a total of 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. When flipping them, be cautious. These are more fragile than their meat counterparts, and can easily fall apart. Then pan fry them in a drizzle of olive oil until browned on both sides.
How to Serve 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 homemade buttermilk pancakes, 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!
These make an excellent side dish for all kinds of sweet brunch dishes. Try pairing them with English-style scones with strawberry cream or bananas foster stuffed French toast. For a cocktail, accentuate the heat with a sweet and spicy paloma.
Use Up Extra Ingredients
- Use maple syrup to sweeten rocky road black bean brownies, or to dip sweet corn fritters.
- Fry up the extra pecans to make the filling for praline-stuffed challah, or make a chocolate turtle martini.
- Nutmeg and cloves are perfect to add festive flavors to apple butter brioche cinnamon rolls.
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.