Packing major flavor and protein, these Vegan Breakfast Sausages include maple syrup, sage, thyme, and spices. Pair with tofu scramble, biscuits, or pancakes for a hearty vegan breakfast. Bonus! They're freezer-friendly, great for meal prep, and easily made oil-free or nut-free!
Anyone else huge fans of Field Roast's apple maple breakfast sausage? Holy moly, those little links are delicious!
I've wanted to create a homemade version for the longest time. And while I didn't exactly try to replicate the apple component, I went all in with the maple vibes. Really that's the primary flavor in Field Roast's sausages.
Another change I made was to reduce the fat content. In fact, these can even be oil-free!
In my earliest test batches I tried adding fresh apple and applesauce to the seitan, but the flavor just wasn't coming through. Realizing it would take something more concentrated, like freeze-dried apples, I decided to scrap the apple idea.
I like to keep my recipes as easy as possible for you, and tracking down freeze-dried apples or adding more steps to this recipe to cook down apples just wasn't going to happen. So maple breakfast sausage it is!
Ingredients in Vegan Breakfast Sausage
The ingredient list looks long but it's mostly because of the herbs and spices. And everything should be easy to find with one exception: maple sugar. The maple sugar isn't required for this recipe, but it does add extra maple OOMPH.
I recently purchased this Nova maple sugar and all I can say is.... wow. If you're a fan of maple syrup but haven't tried maple sugar yet, you need this stuff in your life! The aroma alone is mind-blowing, and I can't wait to try it in a dessert recipe.
Okay, enough with the maple love. Here's what you'll need to make these vegan sausages (scroll down for complete instructions):
- vital wheat gluten
- cooked chickpeas
- soy sauce or tamari
- maple syrup
- apple cider vinegar
- vegetable broth
- nutritional yeast, optional (see subs below)
- walnuts or neutral oil of choice
- liquid smoke
- smoked paprika
- rubbed sage
- dried thyme
- ground ginger
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- and the aforementioned optional maple sugar
Step By Step Process
A food processor makes sausage prep easy, but you can also make this recipe without one. To do that you'll simply mash the chickpeas with a fork, add the seasonings and vital wheat gluten, and knead the dough by hand for about 5 minutes.
To make the sausages using a food processor:
1. First, process everything except the broth, chickpeas, and vital wheat gluten.
2. Add the broth and chickpeas, and pulse several times to break down the beans. Add the vital wheat gluten, and process for about 30 seconds.
3. Transfer the dough to a flat work surface, and knead by hand for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the dough feels somewhat firm. Shape the dough into a square, and cut into four equal-size pieces.
4. To create small/medium sausage links, cut each of those four pieces in four again. Or if you'd rather not have to shape and wrap 16 sausages (I admit, it's a bit tedious), cut each quarter just once to create eight large sausages.
5. It's up to you whether to use foil to wrap the vegan breakfast sausages, or also include a piece of parchment paper. Cut enough pieces for the number of sausages you're making. The foil sheets don't need to be huge; just make sure they're large enough to securely contain the sausage, with enough excess on the ends to twist closed like a candy wrapper.
6. To cook the sausages, you can pressure cook, bake, or steam.
Instant Pot (preferred method):
Add 1 cup water to the insert of a 6 Quart or larger Instant Pot. Place wrapped sausages on trivet. Cook at high pressure for 16 to 18 minutes, depending on size. Carefully quick release the pressure.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place wrapped sausages on a baking sheet, and bake for about 40 minutes (or 55 to 60 minutes for large-size sausages), flipping the sausages at the half way point.
Add a few inches of water to a large pot and set up a steamer basket. Make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the basket. Bring the water to a simmer. Add sausages to the steamer, and cook for 45 to 55 minutes, depending on size.
How do I know when they're done?
To test for doneness, use tongs or another utensil to press the center of one or two of the sausages. The center should feel firm. If it feels significantly softer/squishier than the ends of the sausage, they're probably not done. Carefully unwrap the foil to take a closer look, and slice into one sausage if needed.
Compare the middle with the ends, and it will be easy to tell whether the sausages need more cook time.
No matter which cooking method you're using, it's very easy to cook the sausages longer if you discover they're not yet firm in the center.
Even with the Instant Pot you can add a few more minutes of cook time. Simply re-secure the lid, and cook at high pressure for another 1 to 3 minutes. Because the contents are already hot, the Instant Pot will come to pressure much more quickly this time.
Use your best judgment here, depending on how done the centers of the sausages seem.
Option for Patties Instead of Links
This vegan breakfast sausage is best when wrapped as individual links. However, if you just really don't have the patience for all that wrapping, you can divide the seitan dough into four equal pieces, then shape those pieces into large logs. See photo above.
The size of that larger piece is similar to store-bought packages of sausage. Have you ever seen this Gimme Lean Sausage from Lightlife? It's like that!
If you go the route of four larger packages of sausage, obviously cook time will be increased. But then you can slice the logs into sausage patties.
The patties can be eaten as is, or briefly pan-seared. Just make sure not to cook them too long in the pan, or they'll lose moisture and become tough.
To avoid confusion, this option for patties is not included in the recipe below. There are already options for small or large sausages plus 3 different cooking methods, and I don't want to overwhelm you with too much information in the recipe.
Batch Size, Storing, and Freezing
I adapted this recipe directly from my Vegan Andouille Sausage recipe, and both make a large amount, 8 entree-size sausages or 16 medium-size links. This is great if you have more than a few people in your household or if you enjoy having leftovers on hand.
But if you're cooking for just yourself or maybe you'd like to test a small batch first to see whether you like the flavor and texture of these sausages, it's very easy to make a half batch.
Vegan breakfast sausages will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen for 1 to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Re-heat the sausages in the microwave or steam them in a covered sauté pan.
You'll love the sweet and smoky maple flavor of this vegan breakfast sausage so much you just might find yourself eating them all day long. That's what I do! Snacks, breakfast, dinner. There is no wrong answer here.
You might also like:
Smoky Maple Vegan Breakfast Sausage
- ½ cup raw walnut halves or 3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast Can omit if necessary and sub 3 tablespoons all-purpose or tapioca flour.
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper Add more if you want a kick.
- 1 ½ teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1 to 2 tablespoons dried maple sugar, optional but recommended For enhanced maple flavor.
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 2 ½ cups vital wheat gluten Kitchen scale recommended (click "Metric" above for weight). Otherwise, whisk the flour to fluff it up, then lightly scoop with measuring cup and level off the top.
- Decide whether you'll be cooking the sausages in the Instant Pot, oven, or steamer. The Instant Pot is my preferred method for simplicity, shorter cook time, and ideal texture of the sausages.NOTE: a food processor is a quick way to make the seitan dough, but you can also prepare this recipe without one. See Notes for instructions.
- In the bowl of a large food processor, combine the first 15 ingredients and the maple sugar, if using (this is everything except the broth, chickpeas, and gluten). Process into a slurry.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the broth and chickpeas, and pulse 5 to 7 times to break up the beans. Add the vital wheat gluten, and process for 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to a flat work surface, and knead by hand for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the dough feels firm.
- Shape the dough into a square, and cut it into 4 equal-size pieces. To create 16 small/medium-size links, cut each of those pieces into 4. Or for 8 large, entree-size sausages, only cut each piece of dough in half.
- One at a time, shape each piece into a log. This doesn't need to be perfect as the sausages will snap into shape inside the foil packages.
- Cut enough pieces of aluminum foil (preferably heavy duty foil) for the number of sausages you're making. The foil should be large enough to completely wrap around each link, with enough excess on the ends to tightly twist closed (like a candy wrapper). See process photos in post above for reference. Feel free to add a layer of parchment paper between the foil and sausage, though this isn't necessary.
Instant Pot method:
- In a 6 quart or larger Instant Pot, add 1 cup water to the insert. Place the trivet inside, and stack the wrapped sausages on top of the trivet.
- Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and set to sealing. For the smaller sausages, cook at high pressure for 16 minutes. For large sausages, cook at high pressure for 18 minutes. Carefully quick release the pressure, and use tongs to transfer 1 or 2 sausages to a plate or cutting board. Check for doneness as described below.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place wrapped sausages on a baking sheet, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes (or 55 to 60 minutes for large sausages), flipping the sausages at the half way point. Check for doneness as described below, returning them to the oven for a few more minutes if needed.
- Add a few inches of water to a large pot and set up a steamer basket. Make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the basket. Bring the water to a simmer. Add sausages to the basket, and steam for 45 to 55 minutes, depending on size. Check for doneness as described below.
Check for doneness:
- Use tongs or another utensil to press the center of one or two of the sausages. The center should feel firm. If it feels significantly softer/squishier than the ends of the sausage, carefully unwrap the foil to take a closer look.No matter which cooking method you're using, it's very easy to cook the sausages longer if you discover they're underdone. Even with the Instant Pot you can add a few more minutes of cook time. Simply re-secure the lid, and cook at high pressure for another 1 to 3 minutes. Use your best judgment here, depending on how done the center of the sausages seem. Because the contents are already hot, the Instant Pot will come to pressure much more quickly this time.
- Once done, allow sausages to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the foil. Serve immediately, or allow to cool completely before transferring to a storage container.