This Vegan Breakfast Sausage recipe is inspired by Field Roast breakfast sausages and includes maple syrup, sage, thyme, and spices. With a lightly smoky and sweet maple flavor they're fantastic with tofu scramble, biscuits, and pancakes! Seitan breakfast sausages are great for meal prep, freezer-friendly, and easily made oil-free or nut-free!
REVIEW: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "Honest to Heaven, this is the only homemade vegan sausage recipe I've tried that I actually like! These are GOOD!" - Mike
Why You'll LOVE Homemade Vegan Breakfast Sausage
Have you ever tried Field Roast's apple maple breakfast sausage? Holy moly, those little links are delicious!
The problem is, they're expensive and pretty high in fat. So for quite a while I've wanted to create a Field Roast copycat recipe. And though I didn't exactly try to replicate the apple flavor in their product, I went all in with the maple vibes. And really, maple is the primary flavor in their breakfast sausages anyway.
Another change I made was to reduce the fat content. In fact, these can even be made without oil, if you'd like!
In my earliest test batches I tried adding fresh apple and applesauce to the seitan, but the flavor didn't really come through. Realizing it would take something more concentrated, like freeze-dried apples, I decided to scrap the apple idea.
I always try 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 vegan breakfast sausage it is!
Bonus: We tested three different cooking methods and included all of the details in the recipe below. So choose whichever one works best for you - oven, Instant Pot, or steamer.
The ingredient list looks long, but it's mostly herbs and spices. Also, all of the ingredients should be easy to find at the grocery store with ONE exception, maple sugar.
Maple sugar isn't required for the recipe, but it does add amazing flavor.
I recently purchased this Nova maple sugar and all I can say is wow! If you're a fan of maple syrup and haven't yet tried maple sugar, 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.
Here's what you'll need to make these vegan sausages:
- vital wheat gluten - Currently I'm using this one by Anthony's. Since this is a seitan sausage recipe, there is no substitute for wheat gluten.
- cooked chickpeas - Rinsed and drained very well; feel free to use a similar bean, if needed.
- soy sauce - Or substitute tamari or shoyu.
- maple syrup - Lends a lightly sweet and irresistible flavor that complements the smoky and salty breakfast sausage vibes.
- apple cider vinegar - Adds a touch of acidity and helps disguise the natural taste of vital wheat gluten.
- vegetable broth - Any good quality veggie broth you like is fine.
- nutritional yeast, optional (see subs below). I love this non-fortified nutritional yeast by Sari Foods.
- walnuts or neutral oil - We really love the rich flavor and texture walnuts add to seitan. For nut-free, use a cooking oil such as grapeseed, avocado, or olive oil.
- liquid smoke - Colgin brand liquid smoke is easy to find in most grocery stores, or you can order online.
- ground sage, thyme, ginger, onion, garlic, and cayenne
- fine sea salt
- black pepper
- and the aforementioned optional maple sugar
See recipe card below for amounts and full recipe.
How to Make Vegan Breakfast Sausage
A food processor makes things easy, but you can also prepare the recipe without one. To do it, you'll simply mash the chickpeas with a fork, add the seasonings and vital wheat gluten, and knead the dough by hand for a few minutes.
To make seitan sausages with a food processor:
- First, process everything except the broth, chickpeas, and vital wheat gluten.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cut enough pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil for the number of sausages you're making. Then cut smaller pieces of parchment paper (refer to photo above). 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.
- To cook the sausages, you can pressure cook, bake, or steam.
Choose one of these 3 cooking methods:
Instant Pot (preferred method)
Add 1 cup of water to the insert of a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot. Place the wrapped sausages on the 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 seitan sausage is 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 very firm.
If the middle feels significantly softer/squishier than the ends of the sausages, they're probably not done. Carefully unwrap the foil to take a closer look, and slice into one of the sausages if needed.
Compare the middle with the ends, and it will be easy to tell whether the sausages need more cook time.
Tip! No matter which cooking method you use, 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, set to sealing, and cook at high pressure for another 1 to 3 minutes. Since the contents are already hot, the Instant Pot will come to pressure much more quickly this time.
Variation: Vegan Sausage Patties
We like the vegan breakfast sausage best as individual links. However, if you really don't have the patience to wrap 8 large sausages, you can divide the seitan dough into four equal pieces, and 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 served 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, the 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.
I adapted this recipe directly from my Vegan Andouille Sausage recipe, and both make a large amount. You'll get 8 entree-size sausages or 16 medium-size links.
The large batch size is great if you have more than a few people in your household or if you enjoy meal prepping.
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 prepare a half batch.
How to Store
Vegan breakfast sausages will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
Seitan sausage is best reheated by lightly steaming or briefly in the microwave.
Don't be surprised if you find yourself enjoying these flavorful sausages outside of breakfast time. Snacks, lunch, dinner. There's no wrong answer!
Slice the links and add them to a beautiful vegan cheese snack board.
More Seitan Recipes
- Vegan Seitan Ribs
- The Best Vegan Buffalo Wings
- Seitan Nuggets
- Andouille Seitan Sausage
- Vegan Pepperoni (Instant Pot option)
- Easy Seasoned Seitan
- Seitan Roast (Instant Pot option)
- Vegan Turkey (Instant Pot option)
- Teriyaki Seitan Jerky
I hope you love the sweet and smoky maple flavor of this vegan breakfast sausage as much as we do. If you try the recipe, be sure to comment below and let us know!
The Best Vegan Breakfast Sausage
- ½ cup raw walnut halves - or 3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
- ¼ cup pure 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 like 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 about 1 minute or until the dough feels firm.
- Shape the dough into a square, then cut it into 4 equal-size pieces. To create 16 small/medium-size links, cut each piece 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.
- 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 securely wrap around each link, with enough excess on the ends to tightly twist closed (like a candy wrapper). I also like to add a layer of parchment paper between the foil and sausage to prevent sticking and reinforce the strength of the foil. Tightly wrap each sausage link.
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.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.